Andrew McAleena trains for the national outrigger titles.
Andrew McAleena trains for the national outrigger titles. John Mccutcheon

Hundreds turn up for nationals

UP TO 700 competitors have converged on the Sunshine Coast for the national outrigger sprint titles being held at Lake Kawana over the next three days.

Spokesman Mark Forbes said it was the first time the national titles had been held on the Coast.

"Everything is looking good. The lake's fine and we've got some beach area back after last week's rain which is important," he said.

"We'll also be using some of the facilities at the Sunshine Coast Stadium, like the toilets and showers ... that's a big help."

Today's action will start at 7am with heats and finals of V1 (one-person rudderless canoes) and V6 events over 500m for age divisions from 16-and-under through to 70+ for both men and women.

The events will also serve as qualifiers for this year's world titles in Calgary in August.

Also scheduled on a massive day of racing today are heats and finals of the national V1, OC1 and OC2 categories over 500m in a range of age groups.

Tomorrow will feature heats and finals of national titles for the OC1 and OC6 competitors over 500m, but with a twist - the course will be reduced to 250m and competitors will have to turn at the end and finish back at the start line.

Forbes said races would be "won and lost at the turns".

The program will wrap up on Sunday with more national title heats and finals of OC1 and OC6 events over 1000m and 1500m.

Crews from four Coast clubs - Mooloolaba, Noosa, Caloundra and Panamuna - are expected to win their fair share of medals.

Mooloolaba 18-year-old Mitch Olds is keen to defend his V1 open title from last year, and wants to make up for missing out in the U19 category where he lost to clubmate Nick Wendt.

"Training has been a bit hard with the weather, but I'm keen to qualify for the world titles and hopefully I can win both the open and under-19 races this year," Olds said.

"We train together but there's always a good rivalry once we get to the start line."

Racing will start at 7am each day.

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