Norfolk Ocean Challenge – Unique and Exciting!
January’s recovery from Christmas and New Year has been totally transformed on Norfolk Island with the advent of the Norfolk Ocean Challenge – known as NOC the rock. With a week of outrigger canoe races that bring competing crews from around Australia and New Zealand, this is a week of high energy, great socialising and incredible sights for spectators!
After the inaugural January 2015 event, AOCRA President Mark Forbes listed 17 reasons why “Norfolk Island has been an unprecedented success”. Included in the list were “the race courses are unique and exciting” and “every club that entered has vowed to bring back at least one extra team”. The third week in January 2016 is shaping up to be a week to definitely be ‘on-island’ for.
You don’t really need to know much about outrigging to be a spectator during this event. As Norfolk locals realised in 2015, the excitement is there to be breathed in as you are close enough to literally hear and see the crews battling it out on the water. One of the special features of holding an outrigger event on Norfolk Island is that we are small. Being just 8kms x 5kms and almost entirely surrounded by cliffs, NOC is one of the most unique spectator events of any South Pacific outrigger competition. Each race can be viewed from the shore and a great comradery amongst the spectators builds as they travel around the island following race progress. Plus, you won’t have to get up too early to get a good vantage point – there are no crowds, no traffic and we have plenty of cliff tops to choose from! The views will literally take your breath away.
Of course the celebrating, commiserating and socialising after each race is open to all. In the warmth of balmy Norfolk summer evenings, the open air beach-side bar near Lone Pine becomes a popular spot for locals as well as paddlers, their families and friends.
On the water, the “unique and exciting” features Mark Forbes referred to include some days canoes being lowered by crane into the water at Cascade Pier and paddling through The Arch, a 8m wide naturally formed basalt rock arch. The three main events for 2016 are: V6 Mokutu Sprints, V6 Pacific Direct Line 12km Iron and V6 26km Norfolk Island Travel Centre Round the Rock Iron marathon.
At the end of the event this year, every paddler said they would be back for 2016! With every club also vowing to bring back an extra team, our best tip is to book early.
We are all enthusiastically preparing for NOC the Rock 2016 and look forward to welcoming paddlers, family & friends – plus those visiting spectators – looking for a reason to holiday and enjoy a week of fun, socialising and watching some action packed canoe racing!
View videos from the 2015 event plus find event information, holiday package prices & inclusions on our event page