Mad Paddling from Hobart, Australia

This excerpt is from Sports the Olympics Forgot

Hobart on the island of Tasmania is home to the greatest paddling sports event in the world. Kayakers, canoeists, and rowers from all over the world descend on Hobart in the last week of January to celebrate the sea and all those who seek to skim across its surface as quickly as possible.

This is no ordinary regatta though as the contestants are not allowed to use oars or paddles. Instead they can use only those implements found in other sports such as table tennis bats, pelota baskets, cricket bats, or wicket-keeping gloves. Competitors propel their canoes, kayaks, and boards across various stretches of open water using these implements and nothing else.

The event started when a cricket team set off on a paddling holiday in the Whit Sunday islands and brought along their cricket bats for a few games of beach cricket. When it came to starting a fire an argument started about the best kindling wood to use and the paddles of the canoes were found to be better than cricket bats for starting a good fire. After a week the team only had cricket bats left and had to paddle back home using these and the wicketkeeper’s gloves. This proved to be difficult and yet fun, so the team challenged other cricket teams, firstly in Queensland and then in the whole of Australia, to beat them in a race using cricket bats.

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