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Over the past 7 years, GippSport has been heavily involved in supporting a number of people with a disability to participate in the Sale to Sea Disability Kayak Challenge. Sale to Sea Inc. is a Not for Profit Charity that assists others to reach their potential.
The Challenge comprises kayaking from the Port of Sale to the sea at Lakes Entrance, covering a distance of 120km. The new One Day Challenge has been introduced in the alternate year, and covers a distance of approximately 30km from Bairnsdale to Metung.
GippSport has partnered closely with volunteers from the Sale to Sea Committee, who have shown excellent commitment to ensure everybody has the chance to achieve their own personal goals and participate to the best of their ability.
The Challenge has recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary, and in that time co-founders, along with a dedicated committee, have endeavored to provide every option possible for community members to become engaged.
This has included up-skilling knowledge and qualifications of volunteer members with one volunteer completing their flat-water guide course, with another 4 volunteers currently undertaking the course. This has also allowed an improved experience for participant paddlers as course attendees are being taught proper paddling techniques and, most importantly, a number of water safety components.
Each year, in partnership with Wellington Shire Council and GippSport, the Sale to Sea Committee has facilitated a number of training sessions for participants in the lead up to each Challenge. Over the years, this has included sessions within a pool setting with qualified instructors so that participants can learn water safety and water familiarization. From there, participants have advanced to river and lake settings so that paddlers know what to expect in open waters.
Along with every training session, and the Challenge being fully supported by qualified and experienced volunteers, modifications have been trialed to kayaks and equipment to engage others in participation. An example of this has included pontoons being added to a single kayak for greater stability. This has allowed paddlers who are generally supported in double kayaks to have a go on their own, and experience kayaking in a way they never thought possible. Again, this is thanks to the hard work of the volunteer committee who enhance the experience of kayaking for everyone involved.