Strait into cancer fundraiser

Peter Corbishley and Marcel Mangelsdorf will paddle across Bass Strait to raise money for cancer research.
Peter Corbishley and Marcel Mangelsdorf will paddle across Bass Strait to raise money for cancer research. Tweed Daily News

FOR most people, Easter is a time for putting your feet up or relaxing over the break.

For Tweed Heads' Peter Corbishley and his team of outrigger canoe paddlers, their break will be spent paddling across Bass Strait to help raise money for the Australian Cancer Research Foundation.

Yesterday Corbishley and Tweed Outrigger Club president Mangelsdorf were busy packing the two OC 6 outrigger canoes onto their trailer and loading the vehicle up with equipment prior to driving down to Melbourne tomorrow.

Joining them for the road trip and paddle will be fellow Tweed Outrigger Club member Gert Christiansen, and together with members from various outrigger clubs around Australia and the Melbourne Outrigger Club, they will leave mainland Australia early Saturday morning for the historic crossing.

Corbishley built the two 13-metre canoes at his West tweed factory. Each will have a crew of six paddlers rotating in and out of the boat, with four additional paddlers following in the support vessel.

One of the canoes is going to the Melbourne Outrigger Club while the other will be “delivered” to a club in Tasmania.

Their sales have helped bolsters the coffers of the fundraiser, and on Thursday night a charity dinner to mark the big occasion will be held at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, with Corbishley one of the guests of honour.

“We've been busy getting the canoes signwritten and organising gear to take down, and now it's all arrived,” Corbishley said.

“Apparently the weather down there has been 'perfect'; I just hope it stays that way.”

The journey is expected to take around 14 days, with about nine of those involving paddling.

The journey will be broken up into stages, with the crews island-hopping along the 350km route.

The longest stretch of open ocean is 65km.

For Corbishley and his colleagues, their months of training on the Tweed will soon to be put to the test.

“I think I'm as ready as I will ever be,” Corbishley laughed.

“We have had some fantastic support from everyone, from the Whitsundays, the Tweed and Gold Coast and in Melbourne as well. We just hope we can raise a large amount of money for cancer research.”

Corbishley was diagnosed with terminal Non Hodgkinson's T-Cell Lymphoma last year.

The progress of the padders as they make the crossing can to be followed live on their web site