Ben Allen wins ICF East Coast Champs (Aus)
Monday, 19 December 2011
In the International Canoe Federation World Ocean East Coast Championships, Kurrawa SLSC lifesaver Ben Allen took the honours from Northcliffe Ironman Cory Hill with another Sunshine Coaster Paul Green taking third.
Allen, sixth in the world class field behind Tim Jacobs in Hong Kong two weeks ago, scored a well-deserved victory, breaking away from Hill with four kilometres to go.
For Allen it was a case of paddling into unchartered waters, in more ways than one.
Allen admitted he was "paddling blind" for most of the way with visibility almost down to zero with the rainy, silky conditions causing havoc for most paddlers.
"There were times when you struggled to distinguish between the water the horizon and the headlands," said Allen, a 35-year paddling plumber.
"I had never paddled on this course before so it was really difficult to get your bearings.
"Between the visibility, hardly any assistance and trying shake Cory (Hill) off, made it a very tough paddle indeed.
"I just kept going and managed to drop Cory with around four kilometres to go and I was pleased to see the opening into the harbour.
"But it was great to see so many good paddlers make the trip to Coffs Harbour for what is becoming a very popular sport."
The paddlers make their way out through the shore break in misty overcast conditions