Marcel Manglesdorf, Blair Wright and Peter Corbishley. Peter will attempt to canoe across Bass Strait to raise money for cancer research.
Marcel Manglesdorf, Blair Wright and Peter Corbishley. Peter will attempt to canoe across Bass Strait to raise money for cancer research. Tweed Daily News

Strait to the point

TWEED outrigger canoe manufacturer Peter Corbishley is a man on two missions.

His first is to raise as much money as he can for Australian Cancer Research Foundation and the second is to deliver one of his six-person outrigger canoes to the Cradle Coast Outrigger Club in Tasmania.

Fortunately for Corbishley, he has come up with a novel way of combining the two, paddling across Bass Strait in April.

The project has attracted plenty of interest and support from both within Australia and overseas and it's already raised more than $12,000 - even before any of the paddlers get wet.

Yesterday, Corbishley was presented with enough fibreglass material to build two six-person outriggers and both boats have already been pre-sold.

“Thanks to Fibre Glass International, they have donated the materials need to build the two boats and we have sold both - one to the Tasmanian outrigger club and one to the Melbourne Outrigger Club,” Corbishley said.

“The Melbourne club is so interested in the project that they have come on board and will be paddling their boat alongside of us.

“The Tasmanian club is excited, because apart from them getting a new boat which will be “test driven” before they get it, they are saving up to $3000 in transport cost getting it down there.

“To have the support of companies like Fibre Glass International and their donation, it has really given us a big boost in our fundraising.”

Corbishley, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkinsons T-Cell Lymphoma, a rare and terminal form of skin cancer, last year, is looking forward to the challenge of being the first crew to attempt the paddle across what is one of the most treacherous stretches of water in the world.

Together with Marcel Mangelsdorf, the president of the Tweed Outrigger Club and fellow Tweed club member, Gert Christiansen, the trio have been putting in at least 15km per day in training.

“The plan is to leave from Wilson's Promontory on Easter Saturday and paddle about 65km to Hogan's Island on the first day,” Corbishley said.

“Each outrigger will have a crew of 10 with six in the boat at any one stage and four paddlers rotating in and out along the way.

“We intend to average about 40-50km per day and we will have a 65-foot support boat following us.

“The crews will be coming from around Australia to take part and we have allocated ourselves about two weeks to complete the crossing.

“At that time of the year, we understand that Bass Strait isn't too rough - hopefully.”

The Australian Outrigger Canoe Racing Association has pitched in $2000 towards the fundraiser and Corbishley has also received a $US2000 donation from his Hawaiian counterparts.

“The support coming in a fantastic, from clubs and companies, now all we have to do is make it across,” Corbishley said.

FGI regional sales manager Blair Wright said this was the second major ocean crossing the company had been involved in after supporting the Australian kayakers, James Castrission and Justin Jones, in their 62 day crossing of the Tasman to New Zealand this year.

“For such a worthy cause like this, we are happy to be involved,” Wright said.

“I'll just leave the paddling side of things to these blokes.”

For more information on the Bass Straight adventure, visit www.crossingforcancer.org.



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