by Jacob Wilson
OUTRIGGER: Cyclone Debbie caused extensive damage to the Outrigger Whitsunday club this year, but that didn't stop them from leapfrogging every other club in North Queensland.
Outrigger Whitsunday president Nick Bellinger said the club took out the top spot across the region, stretching from Gladstone to Thursday Island, after coming in third in 2016.
"We had a lot of involvement from our head coach and a lot of work of a competitive nature,” he said,
"We have got a really good culture and a good, fun, competitive club with a diverse range of members so we plan to continue with that momentum and increase our growth.”
This came as the premier Outrigger Whitsunday Club held its annual awards night on Sunday.
Juniors Khye England and Kate Blain took out the most improved junior male and female paddlers of the year while Roy Blain won the title as junior paddler of the year.
Jodie Russell and Shaun Mulvena were the most improved senior male and female paddlers while Ashleigh Suchanek, Henri Mauri and Blair Mitchell won the female and male senior paddlers of the year.
The Club Person of the Year award went to Blair Mitchell and Gina Bellinger.
Awards were presented by Luke McCaul (representing gold sponsor Abell Point Marina) and Justin Andrews (representing silver sponsor Reefcool Air-Conditioning).
The next outrigger season will kick off on January 13 with a sign on day for anyone interested in joining.
There will be an opportunity to register for beginner programs in early 2018.
This year has seen a 25 per cent boost to Whitsunday outrigger membership.