Introducing the Ultramarathon Series

The inaugural Paddle NSW Ultramarathon Series offers you the unique challenge of five ultras around the state. From 30kms to as far as you can go in 24 hours, the series gradually increases in distance from the Wyong Ultra in September to the Burley Griffin 24 Hour Challenge in early December. Compete in a minimum of two events and paddle more than 200kms to be recognised as a NSW Ultramarathon paddler and be eligible for fastest paddler trophies in a range of classes. See rules below for more information.

Above: A prime spot for spectating the Wyong River’s upper reaches. Photo: Central Coast Paddlers.

Wyong Ultra
Date: Sunday September 7th
Distance: 30kms in two long loops (17kms & 13kms)
Entries via Webscorer
In a nutshell: Warm your way into the Ultra series winding along the Wyong
If you’ve always been a bit too nervous to tackle the Ultra races, the Wyong Ultra is a fabulous way to test the proverbial water. 30kms is only a bit longer than the regular marathon series distance, and this course invites you to explore the twists and turns of the Wyong River. Staggered starts will give you plenty of action, with the challenge of catching the paddlers in front or keeping ahead of those behind. But in the end, after two or three hours on the water, it’s your outright time that counts.

Myall Classic
Date: Saturday September 21st
Distance: 47kms over an out-and-back course
Race website:
In a nutshell: Hidden gem of a waterway, and a race as high or low-octane as you like
Time to up the pace and the distance, and the Myall Classic is just the race for it. The long course of 47kms takes paddlers from Tea Gardens up the winding Myall River for a full 23kms through the Great Lakes Marine Park, with very few signs of civilisation along the way. With well over 100 boats in recent years, there is fierce competition for perpetual trophies and class records. Two long-course starts at 8am and 9am cater to paddlers of all abilities, giving you either extra time to enjoy the views or a challenge to stay with the race pack.

Above: A pack of paddlers headed upstream at the 2018 Myall Classic. Photo: Ian Wrenford, LCRK.

Clarence 100
Date: Friday October 18th – Sunday 20th
Distance: 100kms in three stages (40kms, 40kms, 30kms)
Race website:
In a nutshell: Conquer the ‘Mighty Clarence’ and enjoy three days of racing
Thinking about stepping things up a bit further? Then this is the race for you, inviting paddlers to tackle a 100km race over three days. Starting at Copmanhurst north of Coffs Harbour, this race takes you down the Clarence River passing through local townships and some pretty gorgeous scenery. Each day on the water is done around lunchtime, giving plenty of time to check out the local gastronomical options and rest up of the next leg. Only running since 2015, this race is a great way to get a bit further afield, check out a lovely stretch of river and convince yourself that 100kms really isn’t THAT far. You might even find your competition can’t hack it by day three!

Above: Smiling students take on the challenge of the 2018 Hawkesbury Canoe Classic. Photo: Ian Wrenford, LCRK.

Hawkesbury Canoe Classic & Wiseman’s Dash
Date: Saturday October 26th (to Sunday 27th)
Distance: 111kms for the Classic, 65kms for the Dash
Race website:
In a nutshell: Are you tough enough? Paddle through the night for a great cause
Running since 1977, the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic has become one of the premiere ultramarathon paddling events on the Australian calendar, and it’s easy to see why. From Windsor to Mooney Mooney, the Hawkesbury twists and turns through scenery both picturesque and dramatic, inviting paddlers to take in the epic river in one long push. The race raises money for the Arrow Bone Marrow Transplant Foundation, with paddlers of all abilities ranging from those with an eye on a record to those who want to see Brooklyn Bridge no matter what time of the morning it is when they get there! Starts are in the late afternoon, challenging paddlers to race through the night and offering a truly unique experience of the mighty river. Whether you want to break a 20-year-old record or sit and contemplate stars at 3am, this is a must for the racing calendar. And if you think that 111 is just a few kms too far, why not sign up for the Wiseman’s Dash? It’s also recognised as part of the 2019 Ultramarathon series.

Above: A quick break at Wiseman’s Ferry, 63kms into the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic. Photo: LCRK.

Burley Griffin 24 Hour Challenge
Date: Saturday December 7th to Sunday December 8th
Distance: As far as you can paddle in 24 hours, either solo or as part of a relay team
Entries: Stay tuned!
In a nutshell: The ultimate time-based challenge, with a midnight bonfire for good measure
Ever wanted to know just how far you’re capable of paddling in 24 hours? The finale of the 2019 Ultramarathon Series gives you the chance to answer that very question, pitting paddlers against the clock in a bid to see who can check off the most laps of the Molongolo River. Sign up as an individual paddler or a team and cast your bets as to how many times you can pass through the start/finish line. From 9am on the Saturday, the challenge keeps going through the Canberra night with a bonfire and some of the most stoic race volunteers you’re likely to meet. While it might seem like a daunting undertaking, the camaraderie on the water at 2am is exactly what the ultramarathon paddling community is all about.


Paddlers can enter as many events as they wish, to achieve the following objectives:
Level 1 Ultra Marathon Paddler – 200km completed
Level 2 Ultra Marathon Paddler – 250km completed
Level 3 Ultra Marathon Paddler – 300km completed
Level 4 Ultra Marathon Paddler – 400km completed
Level 5 Ultra Marathon Paddler of the Year (furthest distance completed) – Trophy & Perpetual Trophy

ALL paddlers who achieve Levels 1-4 will be awarded a PaddleNSW Shirt with the Level ‘x’ Ultra Marathon Paddler wording or artwork on the back or sleeve.

The winners of Level 5 in each class will receive a Shirt and Trophy. Paddlers CAN change boat classes through events and still accumulate kilometres for a Level award (eg paddle a K1 in Race 1 and a ski in the other events). The Level 5 awards (minimum of two events must be completed) will be:
Female Single / Male Single
Female Double / Male Double / Mixed Double
U18 Female / U18 Male

We will also award the following Prizes:
Fastest Female Single / Fastest Male Single
Fastest Female Double / Fastest Male Double / Fastest Mixed Double
Fastest U18 Male / Fastest U18 Female

The ‘Fastest Paddler’ prizes will be determined on the following basis:
1. Paddlers must use the same boat class for all eligible events (eg K1, Long Rec, Ocean Ski)
2. Paddlers eligible for consideration are those who have completed the greatest number of events (minimum of two) in their demographic group – (eg if 4 Female Singles complete three events and 2 paddlers complete four events…the prize will be determined between the 2 who completed FOUR events).
3. The calculation will be: Total Distance/Total Time. Highest average speed wins. Distances and times will be based on the official results.

Above: Sunrise over Molongolo Reach, Canberra, in the final hours of the BGCC 24hr race. Photo: Naomi Johnson, LCRK.

Leave a Comment