Marathon paddle a mark of solidarity

Lifeguard Chanan Clark, the organiser behind the marathon paddle to Bondi. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Lifeguard Chanan Clark, the organiser behind the marathon paddle to Bondi. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Winter mornings are cause for dread. Chilly floorboards, dark skies, car engines that won't start - it is hard enough to get out of a warm bed on a regular morning, let alone when you have a task ahead of you like Chanan Clark's.

The Stanwell Park lifeguard woke this morning preparing to lead a group of hardy paddlers on a marathon two-day ocean journey from Thirroul to Bondi.

"We're leaving at first light from the surf club," he said ahead of the trek.

"As soon as the sun pops up over the horizon and it's safe light, we're off."

Mr Clark and up to 20 others are testing body and mind in solidarity with a fellow paddler, Andy Owen, who will make their way from Bondi to the Sunshine Coast to raise money for a friend diagnosed with leukaemia. The local contingent aim to arrive at Bondi before Mr Owen sets off, to wish him luck.

"My idea for the paddle was to be a reflection of what Andy is doing, and what his friend is going through," Mr Clark said.

"When we're hurting on the paddle, we'll reflect on the fact there's a guy suffering from leukaemia, and he can't back out when times are tough."

They will paddle to Cronulla on Friday, and arrive at Bondi on Saturday. With up to eight hours paddling a day, Mr Clark knows his team is in for a challenge.

"I think everyone will really enjoy it, but the last few hours I am predicting spirits to be dropping," he said.

"I'll have to do the Braveheart thing and spark up the troops," Mr Clark said with a laugh.

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