Metro Caloundra and the Vikings made a winning combination in the Navy George Bass Memorial race.
Metro Caloundra and the Vikings made a winning combination in the Navy George Bass Memorial race. Contributed

Dedicated training pays off

The surf boat rower or “boatie” was part of the team that took out six of the seven open women’s races in the 190kmh Navy George Bass Memorial from Bateman’s Bay to Eden in New South Wales.

Paula and four Metropolitan Caloundra team members joined with Canberra Vikings to complete the seven-day open sea race from January 3 to 9.

The longest leg was 36 kilometres from Bermagui to Tathra on day five and the shortest was 19 kilometres on day two from Moruya to Tuross.

“Each day was a race in itself,” Ryan said.

And the girls broke the record on the 36-kilometre leg by 15 minutes.

Ryan grew up in Gympie and after graduating from James Nash High she went on to study at university in Toowoomba, before moving to Caloundra where she has lived ever since.

She said it was the first time she had lived near the sea and joined the surf life saving club straight away. “We (three friends and I) just watched them (boaties) train and said ‘I reckon we could do that’,” Ryan said.

So she bugged the surf boat captain to have a go, and did alright.

“IT turned out with a bit of coaching we did alright,” she said.

The girls flew out at 8.30am on New Year’s Day to Bateman’s Bay.

“It was a good incentive to not get trashed.”

Training before the race consisted of six months work in the gym on rowing machines, doing 20 kilometres at a time and rowing into the wind from Mooloolaba to Caloundra.

“We trained a bit too much, but it set us up to do well.”

She thanked her coach for the hard training program.

“It was an awesome feeling when we won. We’ve all got a gold medal to add to the collection and $6000 between us.”

Ryan said forming a composite team with the Vikings was easy as they had also trained hard and were easy to get along with.

“I don’t know that they trained quite as full on as us but we all got along fantastically well,” she said.

“Together we pulled it off.”

Ms Ryan loves everything about surf boat rowing: the hard work, the way you never know what the ocean is going to throw at you, and the trust in team mates.

“Seeing all our hard work and training in action…all the blood sweat and tears and to stand on the podium at the end shouting ‘We did it’, was the best feeling in the world.”

Over the last few years the Metropolitan Caloundra team has won state medals and competed in national competitions.

It was an awesome feeling when we won. We’ve all got a gold medal to add to the collection.

Gympie Times


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