Never underestimate the Clarence 100 – that’s the slogan of the 100km paddle race from Copmanhurst to Yamba starting on Friday.
The Clarence 100 (C100) is a three day race down the Clarence River.
Each morning competitors paddle a section of the river, then have the afternoons off to rest and enjoy the local hospitality provided by hotels and eateries along the river.
Event organiser, Ben Sullivan, said the event attracted a mix of competitive elite paddlers as well as social paddlers.
“It’s such a great experience for everyone,” Mr Sullivan said.
“It’s a diverse landscape from Copmanhurst to Yamba, and such a large river, plus we have a pub at every stop. People say it’s the best event they’ve been to.”
Mr Sullivan, originally from Grafton, said the C100 started as a social paddle for a few locals in 2015.
Now in its fourth year, it has grown into a sanctioned race that attracts paddlers from Queensland and NSW.
“This year half of the paddlers are new faces and half have done it before, so not only are people coming back but we’re getting new people,” Mr Sullivan said.
The Clarence 100 is supported by the Sports Tourism Partner Program, a joint funding initiative with Clarence Valley Council and local businesses.
The program supports sports events that bring tourists to the region and promote nature-based travel experiences, such as the C100.
Because of recent rains, Mr Sullivan said the river flow would be fast, so they were expecting a new course record.
Paddlers to watch include Olympic canoeist, Denise Cooper, who will be looking for her third straight title this year, and course record holder and winner of the C100 in 2016, Gavin Cook.
“They’re both really fit and ready to go,” Mr Sullivan said.
For information or to register for the race visit www.clarence100.com.au