Glory awaits paddlers at Four Mile Beach after gruelling Ocean Challenge



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Four Mile Beach in Port Douglas is the finish line for this Saturday's Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge. Image: Justyna Polanska
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On Saturday more than 200 contestants and 50 water craft from across the country will compete in the Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge (GBROC) 2021.

Paddlers will be hoping for some wind and swell assistance as they complete a gruelling, 45km downwind run from Yorkeys Knob Beach to Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas.

Depending on craft and conditions, it should take competitors between three and four hours to complete the race.

Despite the uncertainty of COVID-19 travel restrictions, GBROC 2021 has once again attracted Australia’s top outrigger canoe paddlers to test themselves in one of the longest ocean races on the paddle sport calendar.

At 45kms, it remains Australia’s longest and toughest iron races along the stunning coastline between Yorkeys Knob and Port Douglas.

The adage: ‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going’ is apparent after 2020, a year in which nobody has been able to travel or compete.

Arguably more than ever, paddlers are up for the challenge and organisers are aiming to make GBROC 2021 a memorable experience.

When Ironman came to Cairns in 2009, Hekili Outrigger Canoe Club saw an opportunity to be a part of a bigger vision and so, the Great Barrier Reef Ocean Challenge (GBROC) was born.

A decade later, it’s still going strong and has attracted thousands of paddlers, and their families and supporters, to the region and established Cairns as a prime, adventure tourism destination.

SATURDAY 8AM-8.30AM: Blessing of the Fleet & Race Start.
Location: Yorkeys Knob beach, Sims Esplanade, northern end.

SATURDAY 11AM-1PM: Crews and individual craft crossing finish line and coming to shore.
Location: Four Mile Beach, in front of Port Douglas Surf Club, Mowbray Street.

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