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Paddler Stories

John Harmer

I have paddled the Hawkesbury Classic 38 times and I am not yet over it. In those 38 years I have seen almost every weather condition available, wind, rain, fog, thunderstorms etc. Who can forget the 1978 total lunar eclipse combined with thick fog. I could not see the boat I was sitting in. Contrast that with the brilliant full moon light where you can see for miles. One year the moonlight was so bright with a few scattered showers we had a midnight rainbow. Every Hawkesbury is an adventure but the highlight of each and every one is rounding the last bend and the finish coming into sight.

I am particularly pleased that I have paddled the last 27 Hawkesbury’s with my son Steve.

Kent Heazlett

The Classic is most definitely a combination of a physical challenge and a mental challenge. The camaraderie of your fellow paddlers and the knowledge that all those volunteers are giving up their weekend and staying up all Saturday night just to allow us to paddle 111km in the dark !!


Sean Smith (aka The Fat Paddler)

After my first Classic back in 2009 I decided I wanted to change my experience of the race. I wanted to put the fun back in, make it more about charity and less about pace, and worked out a plan to paddle a slow plastic canoe down the Hawkesbury River. I needed a co-paddler, and with less than 5 weeks before race-day, I talked a guy from work into doing the race with me. Gelo, who was to become an integral part of Team Fat Paddler, took up the paddle for the first time and together we prepared for 111km of night-time paddling......

Darren Williams

I competed in the 2008 Hawkesbury Canoe Classic 111km overnight race/paddle down the Hawkesbury River. Using some of the 15 minutes of fame that Andy Warhol has promised us all, the organisers allowed my family and me to draw the raffle, one part of the event’s fundraising. I was given this honour because six years ago I underwent a bone marrow transplant at St. Vincent’s Public Hospital for leukaemia and now enjoy each day of good health given to me by the medical team and those who help fund them......


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