Lake Macquarie


Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise

Paddlefest 2019

3rd March 2019

another initiative of the ROTARY CLUB of TORONTO SUNRISE

2019 is our 13th Paddlefest!

Each year, Paddlefest has involved around 500 people, in kayaks, stand up paddle boards, dragon boats and outriggers. We welcome teams of friends and business teams. More recently, Paddlefest has included Cub Scouts from the Hunter and Coastal Region, building and paddling amazing craft. Over $165,000 has been raised for our local community. Registering for any Kayak or SUP event includes registration for the Outriggers and Dragon boats have a go at other types of paddling. In 2019, we are keen to introduce new participants to the fun of Paddlefest. 

There will be a family event as well as a visit from two historic St Ayles Skiffs – a locally built vessel and another from Victoria. A race between these skiffs will be a highlight.

Food, drinks and a coffee vendor will be available

The St Ayles rowing skiff is 6.7m in length, double ended and is built using clinker timber construction with 4 rowers and a coxswain for steering.  In Scotland coastal mining communities historically would jointly construct similar vessels and compete with other mining communities.  To reintroduce this activity the Scottish Museum commissioned renowned Australian wooden boat designer Ian Oughtred to produce a simple standard design for a skiff that was stable and seaworthy, as part of what was called the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project.  The aim was to re-connect coastal communities with the sea by encouraging the communities themselves to build their own rowing boats, which would then be rowed socially and in competition.  This community movement has grown rapidly since, expanding to England, Ireland, USA, Australia and New Zealand.  This St Ayles skiff was constructed at Rathmines by the Lake Macquarie Classic Boat Association is the first in NSW.

NOTE: SUP & KAYAK registrations are at 7am – and the JOINT EVENT STARTS at 8am

  • Cancellation & Weather: If there is a decision to cancel the event based on extreme weather conditions an EVENT CANCELLED notice will be displayed at the TOP of this home page and SMSs will be sent to key organisers between 6 and 7am on the day.
Stand Up Paddler




Dragon Boat




Primary  beneficiary  :

Toronto Samaritans – Seeking to provide unconditional support to local people in their needs and to promote social and economic policies.

Secondary beneficiaries: Hunter Melanoma Foundation and the Cancer Council

About Paddlefest

Another initiative of the ROTARY CLUB of TORONTO SUNRISE

The focus of Rotary is friendship, fun and community service. In 2006 we recognised that there were many community needs in our local west Lake Macquarie area which were related to health and well being. We decided to raise funds and invest our time in an event that would:

• Bring people together to have fun
• Use the beautiful natural environment that we all enjoy in Lake Macquarie – and be water based
• Encourage people to try something new
• Help promote our local area by attracting paddlers from further afield
• Encourage people to be involved in physical activity – good for physical and mental well being
• Include activities for diverse ages and abilities
• Raise substantial funds that could be invested in projects to help those in need.
• Our first Paddlefest was held on Fennell Bay at Blackalls Park, but we soon realised that lots of people were keen to participate and we would need more space – so Paddlefest moved to its current home at Speers Point Park.

Each year, Paddlefest has involved around 500 people – in kayaks, dragon boats, outriggers (both for teams of friends and business teams) and Stand up Paddle Boards. Together we have raised around $165,000 for our local community – paddling in sunshine, wind and rain.