New venue a huge success
A HANDMADE cedar-strip Canadian expedition canoe drew plenty of admirers at Ballina Boat and Leisure Show over the weekend.
Ballina High woodwork teacher Geoff Horsley started making the hardwood vessels eight years ago and never quite stopped.
Each vessel takes 400 hours of work, or six months of hobby time.
"For me it's therapy after the day job," Mr Horsley chuckled.
"I take them into school to inspire the kids. It helps them see what's possible."
"They're much lighter and every bit as strong as a plastic or fibreglass canoe. They feel great out on the open water; they just glide."
Around 5000 people came to the event over the weekend to see everything from fishing rods, stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) sea kayaks and motor-boats.
Event organiser Peter McMahon said the new venue at Fawcett Park was a huge success, with exhibitors already queuing up to come back next year.
The local naval cadet organisation also received plenty of interest from potential volunteers.
"It's a great setting; this is where we want to stay," Mr McMahon said.
"It's closer to the CBD, the river's on your doorstep and the site's closer together."
The event was hopeful of raising $15,000, which will help fund Ballina Marine Rescue's new tower.
The main raffle prize was a 3.8m tinny with 9.9 horsepower motor and boat trailer was won by a lucky Ballina local.
A substantial anonymous donation plus donated auction items such as a $5400 holiday from G2Y houseboat hire also helped the cause.