We caught up with Magnetic Island Outrigger Canoe Club president Jacqui Doyle about this water-based sport that fantastic for meeting new mates and working your core.
“I think everyone who starts out wants to use their arms, then goes to wash their hair the next day and can’t quite get there!”
How did you get into outrigging? About four years ago I saw it on The Strand and was keen to give it a go. Then I heard on the radio that Maggie Island [Outriggers] was having a Come & Try Day, so I came down and had a go and loved it.
What did you enjoy about outrigging in particular? I love being out on the water… you can forget about everything. When you step into the canoe on the water you can leave everything behind and concentrate on what you’re doing.
You compete in comps: What’s been the stand out one for you? Last year I got the opportunity to go to Hawaii and do the Molokai Crossing from the Island of Molokai to Oahu. That was a North Queensland team made up of paddlers from Townsville and Cairns, so that was pretty awesome. But the most fun you have are the local regattas. We get to go to Airlie Beach, Port Douglas and all sorts of places. It’s definitely a social sport.
“When you’re in the canoe doing a 15km race you really need a lot of trust in the people around you, so it really does come down to being a team sport”
What part of your body does outrigging work? Particularly your core… I think everyone who starts out wants to use their arms, then goes to wash their hair the next day and can’t quite get there! As you do it more-and-more you realise you’re actually using your core more than anything else. But it’s really an overall body workout as you do use your legs and your back and a whole lot of big muscle groups.
Are there any misconceptions about outrigging? I guess everyone gets a bit confused about outrigging, dragon boating, rowing and kayaking; but outrigging is a great team sport. A lot of people don’t realise that; they think netball, football etc; but when you’re in the canoe doing a 15km race you really need a lot of trust in the people around you, so it really does come down to being a team sport.
Check out this video to see the correct paddle technique:
How to get involved in outrigging
There are three clubs – Magnetic Island Outrigger Canoe Club, Townsville Outrigger Canoe Club and Coral Sea Outrigger Canoe Club. Each club offers beginner sessions on The Strand every Sunday at 8am. You can go six times for free before you need to sign-up. More info about each club in our Where to Go Guide.