We catch up with Pete Camilleri, organiser of the Inaugural LJ Hooker Forster Island Paddle Festival to find out more about this exciting event and learn a few tips about Paddleboarding for women along the way.
Tell us about the Inaugural LJ Hooker Forster Island Paddle Festival and your involvement as the organiser?
For such a small town Forster Tuncurry has plenty to offer surrounded by it's pristine waterways and spectacular view of our iconic bridge hovering over the beautiful Wallis Lake which provides an amazing backdrop like no other. The LJ Hooker Forster Island Paddle Festival event is the first of its kind to be staged in the area on the Mid North Coast of NSW. The incredible growth of Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), the popularity of ski paddling, combined with the pre existing Berg Building Island Challenge event, sets the scene for an awesome weekend of water sports. The fantastic support received from corporate and local sponsors, along with the enthusiastic drive from my team of event organisers has brought us to this point of excitement and anticipation for the inaugural event. Even at this early stage competitors are already securing their entry with registrations coming in from all over NSW and as far as Queensland.
What and Who can we expect at the event?
The LJ Hooker Forster Island Paddle Festival will boast a family friendly atmosphere for everyone to experience and enjoy. Live music, a grand expo and kids activities will provide plenty of entertainment off the water, whilst on the water the event will showcase epic battles from the best of the best at the front of the pack, and no doubt a few spills from the back of the pack!
Whilst we all know the treat that lies ahead for competitors as they make their way around the majestic multi lapped course, the spectators will experience front row seats viewing the event from the pontoon jetty on the picturesque shores of the Wallis Lake and Main Beach area.
Tell us a little about the women involved in the event ?
We are very pleased to see plenty of interest and entries from women currently competing on the world circuit at the pinnacle of the sport. They are extremely focused women that train very hard who are dominating their local races from all SUP clubs in Sydney, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia,
The female competitors are setting their sights on the Forster event to match their fitness and skill levels with the best in the business! Angela Jackson and Karla Gilbert are true competitors and take their racing very serious. Angie has come from a professional Kiteboarding career and Karla from a very successful Iron Women career so they both take competition very seriously.
Can anyone enter or do you need to be an experienced paddleboarder?
The event format allows the opportunity for everyone to be involved. A variety of distances ensure a tough enough challenge for the pro's and seasoned athletes, whilst shorter distance events are on offer to cater for people who are new to the sport, youngsters, or people who just want to have a whole lot of fun and don't mind getting wet. The core of our competitors will come to Forster to "participate" more so than compete. For the average participant it's all about a weekend away with family and friends which happens to be one of the most popular destinations in all of NSW.
Paddleboarding for women, what are the benefits and highlights for a gal?
- We are fortunate to be living in a beautiful location like Forster, but for any woman, paddlboarding gives women an opportunity to participate in a water sport traditionally enjoyed by the boys. It can be very social or a chance to enjoy solitude & relaxation in a beautiful environment.
- The workout is an overall workout encompassing the core, chest, back, postural chain and legs. It is low impact & achievable for all fitness levels. Best of all it is fun!
- There are numerous variations being added to the training available including fitness, yoga, Pilates and strength classes with SUP fit classes.
- Women are also making their mark in the racing environment. With the surge in interest in running race style competitions this is offering another opportunity for women to showcase their talent & enjoyment for this emerging sport!
Buying you first SUP, what do I need to know?
The most important aspect about a board purchase is talking with a retailer that can show and demonstrate a range of different boards.
Knowing the type of paddling you wish to do; social flat water, ocean or even race paddling, is one of the key discussions you should have so you settle on the appropriate board most suited for your ability and style. Saying that, boards that are 10’0” to 11’0” in length and 30” or more wide are still the most popular all-round size board for the general ladies market.
How can people get involved in this great event?
The event will be held on the 14th & 15th of February 2015 in Forster Tuncurry on the Mid North Coast of NSW. Check out more details HERE
Want MORE SUP adventures?
Read our Interviews with Angela Jackson and Karla Gilbert
Check out this Technique Video from Gold Coast SUP
Dream a little with our very own TPL SUP Gallery HERE