About the Paddle
The Mullum2Bruns Paddle is an annual event held on the Brunswick River, starting at Heritage Park, Mullumbimby and ending at the Terrace Park in Brunswick Heads, a distance of around 10km. There is something for everyone:
- Challenges - competitive events, drawing top athletes from all over Australia, with valuable prizes to be won
- Fun Paddle - bring along any non-motorised craft that floats and have some fun with family and friends
- Dragon boat flotilla - quite a spectacle. not something you see every day!
- Duck race - for those who can't take to the water there is an alternative - buy a number for a rubber duck which will race 300 other rubber duck and hopefully win you a prize.
- To provide significant fundraising for the three stakeholder groups
- To raise the profile of each of the three organisations and their important contribution to the community
- To conduct a family friendly fun community event in line with the town's vision
- To provide a supported opportunity for locals and visitors to make the 10km journey by non-motorised craft whether for fun or the challenge
- To promote our beautiful river for appreciation of the natural ecosystems and eco-friendly water activities
- To showcase Brunswick Heads and its simple pleasures, and Heritage Park in Mullumbimby
- To deliver benefits to the sponsors and showcase all sponsors as promised
- To boost the local economies through the "multiplier effect"
- To strengthen relationships between the organisations and build social capacity.
History of Mullum2Bruns Paddle
Older residents of the area tell us that a variation of the Paddle was originally held in the early 1980s, as a means of fundraising for the local Mullum community. These faded Polaroid photographs show Grub, Moffo and Nige competing in their home-made craft. (Thanks to Les and Mary Donnelly for the information and photos.)
The Mullum2Bruns Paddle event was proposed by the Brunswick Heads Visitor Centre in 2009, and the concept discussed between a small group, but it was not until the following year in 2010 that the inaugural event was birthed.
The three founding organisations* were:
- Brunswick Heads Visitor Centre
- Brunswick Surf Lifesaving Club
- Brunswick Marine Rescue
*All are non-profit organisations, run by volunteers, which rely on fundraising for their survival.
The Mullum2Bruns Paddle Organising Committee was formed, with representatives from each of these organisations meeting regularly to create the eco-friendly family fun event.
The First Paddle - 2010
The first event was held on a perfect sunny day, Sunday May 30, 2010. The one day event is held on the 4th Sunday in May, unless the tide or weather is completely unsuitable, from 7.30am to approximately 3pm. We had no way of knowing how many paddlers would enter that first event, nor how many would stay on for the post-paddle festivities. However, the 2010 event was an outstanding success, with about 400 entries in the fun paddle and paddle challenge sections of the 10km course down the river. The paddling events commence in Mullumbimby (at Heritage Park) and conclude in Brunswick Heads, with festival-like activities in Terrace Park. Kurt Tutt, from Go Sea Kayaks won the Open Challenge in 45 minutes. Dale Chapman won the men;s Stand Up Paddle Challenge and Simone Horsefield the female Stand Up Paddle Challenge.
In the second year, 2011, there were 667 paddlers and the male and female sections in the Paddle Challenge were contested, with Kurt Tutt retaining his title and Lynwen Birch taking out the women's race. Simone retained her women's SUP title and Jake Jensen the men's SUP Challenge.
2012 saw the introduction of an Extreme Paddle Challenge, with very fit paddlers racing from Brunswick to Mullum and back – approximately 20 km. Peta Wait and Tim Stellake won the Paddle Challenge while Karla Gilbert and Troy Pease took out the SUP Challenge.
2013 saw a record number of 812 paddlers in all divisions in perfect sunshine. Nathan Baggely won the male Open Paddle Challenge and Belinda O'Sullivan the women's section. Troy Pease successfully defended his SUP title and Lynwen Birch won the women's SUP prize.
We broke our own record in 2014, with 1201 paddlers on the river. This is believed to be an Australian record for this type of event. Tamiel Benjamin and Andrew James won their Paddle Challenges while Karla Gilbert and Trevor Tunnington took out the SUP events.
The weather was threatening before the day but it turned out to be perfect weather for paddling. A bit over 1000 paddlers took to the water. Tim Stenlake (51:02) won the male Open Paddle Challenge and Denise Cooper (1:03:11) the women's section. Jake Jensen (1:09:47) successfully defended his SUP title and Carla Gilbert (1:13:48) won the women's SUP prize.
Another lovely day for a Paddle. 1065 entrant took to the water, including seven dragon boats, all decorated and dressed up for the event. Once again Tim Stenlake won the male Open Paddle Challenge (49:02) and Louise Smith and Teresa Oatley-Haley the women's event (1:06:02)
The Mullum2Bruns Paddle could not happen without the dedication of the volunteers who make up the three beneficiary organisations. The months of planning, the days of setting up prior to Paddle day and the sheer hard work on the day mean that these funds are well and truly earned. We sincerely thank the volunteers for making all this possible.
The Mullum2Bruns would not work at all without the hard work of so many volunteers. It is not possible to name them all but special thanks must go to the organising committee:
- Craig Reid - 2017 co-coordinator
- Denise Curran
- Roger Curran
- Kevin Fitzgerald
- Penny Fuller
- Jo-Ann Spiteri
- Warwick Stephen
- Kim Rosen
Sincere thanks to the community groups who assisted:
- The Brunswick Mullumbimby Lions Club
- The Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce
- 1st Brunswick Heads Scout Group
- The Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club & Billinudgel Pub for providing the buses for the shuttle service
- The fabulous musicians
- All the volunteers who helped out before and on the day.