RUOK crew in for seven days all at sea
A HARDY band of Noosa Heads SLSC boaties are hitching up their budgie-smugglers to tackle "the longest, toughest surf boat race in the world".
Now in its 42nd year, the George Bass Surf Boat Marathon over 188km of rugged coastline is so extreme, it is only held every second year.
Noosa will be taking eight masters rowers, a sweep and support crew to go the distance from Bateman's Bay in New South Wales to Eden over seven back-breaking days starting December 31.
Crewie Gerard Broersen said the club had assembled an experienced and campaign-hardened team including a few who had conquered the event before.
Gerard said to date there were more than 30 surf clubs lining up for the ultimate bragging rights.
He said his club was partnering with the RUOK charity to help raise awareness about checking on mental health and spreading the message for general well-being.
"Friends, family and community can make a massive difference in the lives of people suffering from mental health issues," Gerard said.
"We believe this is a great match as surfboat rowing and surf lifesaving participation give plenty of opportunities to give and gain support when times are tough for people - whether that be physical or mental. And we all have tough times at some time.
"We expect to go through a few tough times during the marathon, but know we will carry each other through these times, complete this marathon and do Noosa and ourselves proud in the process."
His crewmates include John Jenkins, Chris Beaufort, Mick Curwen, Steve Hatton, Steve Porter, Warren Whitten, Steve Matters with sweep Shane Radovich.
Shane is an ex-Noosa boatie who is flying across from New Zealand for their shot at glory.
The support crew are Steve Frecklington and Joel Tweedy.
Gerard said the Noosa Surf Club was providing vehicle support and entry assistance, while Shadforths Civil Construction and Ricon had come on board as major sponsors.
The crew has also been running raffles and sausage sizzles as well as making significant personal input.