Bridge to Beach fundraiser for Fragile X raised $29,000!

February 19th, 2024

It was an adrenaline-fuelled spectacle on Sydney Harbour on Sunday 18th February as close to 400 paddlers took on the 23rd annual Manly Wharf Bridge to Beach challenge. This iconic 11km race, one of the biggest on Australia’s paddling calendar, delivers thrills and spills while supporting Fragile X Association of Australia  in raising much-needed funds.

This year an incredible $29,000 was raised for the Fragile X Family Support role!   Dean Gardiner from race organiser Oceanpaddler presented the BIG cheque to our Family Support Counsellor, Liz Jewell, who was surprised and delighted with the outcome.

Now in its 23rd year, race organiser Dean Gardiner, had predicted that things would be fast and furious with close to 400  paddlers set to take part.

“Paddlers start right underneath the majestic Sydney Harbour Bridge, taking in the splendour of a Syndey sunrise before paddling past some of this city’s most iconic landmarks like the Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo, Bradley’s Head, Clifton Gardens, North Harbour Reserve, and both South and North Head before finishing at Manly Wharf. There is no more beautiful waterway in the world to race on,” Dean said.

“There’s a big paddling community in Sydney, and this 11km course on the relatively flat-water of the harbour makes the ideal first round hit-out for our fields which range from our elite level competitors who will make it from Bridge to Beach in about 40 minutes, through to our beginners who will be digging deep to finish.

“Importantly, this event is dedicated to raising funds for Fragile X Association of Australia. Fragile X syndrome is the leading cause of inherited intellectual disability, and the charity provides information, support, education and advocacy to individuals and families impacted by Fragile X,” Dean said.

Executive Director of Fragile X Association of Australia, Wendy Bruce, said the charity partnership with the Bridge to Beach was a significant fundraiser and the warm support of the paddling community makes this a special event each year.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the ongoing support from this event. Each year the money raised makes a significant difference to our ability to fund a specialist family counselling support service for people who are affected by Fragile X syndrome. Of special note is the dollar matching from Shaw and Partners who have this year very generously matched $ for $, the first $10,500 raised,” Wendy said.  “The generosity of the paddlers every year is sincerely appreciated”.

Paddling single and double skis, SUPS, paddleboards and canoes, the lead competitors in the 11km race as expected crossed the finish line at Manly Wharf in around 40 minutes hitting the sand at Manly Cove at approximately 8.350am.

The Hon Zali Steggall OAM, Federal Independent Member for Warringah,  opened the race presentation ceremony, welcoming everyone to Manly and thanking the paddlers, race organiser and sponsors for their support in raising funds and increasing awareness of Fragile X syndrome.

Many thanks to the paddlers, the Councils which support the event with access to Blues Point Reserve and Manly Cove, race presenter Manly Wharf and sponsors led by Shaw and Partners Financial Services.

Here’s a look at all the action on the day!

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We're fundraising for our Family Support service!

The spectacular Bridge to Beach paddle race raises funds to help us support, connect and advocate for families around Australia! You can make a difference for the Fragile X community by making a donation to our Bridge to Beach campaign today! Donations of $2.00 and over are tax deductible.

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