In 1989, Michael’s Dad, Peter Corbishley acquired Whitsunday Fibreglass and Marine in Airlie Beach, along with his Mum, Norma. Michael joined the business not long after that and they manufactured the first 6 man outrigger canoes in Australia called the Classic as well as building other boats and providing repairs and refurbishments to a variety of fibreglass products in the local area.
As the Outrigger Paddling sport evolved and grew, new designs became available entering the Force 5 onto the market followed by the popular and ever reliable Mirage, which is still in production today, by Michael and I, under the business name of ‘Outrigger Connection Australia’. Michael left the business and the area in 1999 and Peter moved the business in early to mid 2000’s to the Gold Coast to meet the demands of the growing paddling sport in South East Queensland also making the products more accessible Australia wide and internationally.
Peter rebranded the business to T.O.M. short for ‘The Outrigger Man’ focusing the business on buildingoutrigger canoes. Peter sold T.O.M. to Brad in 2013 when the business then shifted to the Sunshine Coast. Michael was employed by Brad in late 2015 to refurbish canoes for the World Sprints in 2016 where he ended up assisting his father and Brad to build Mirage and Kamanu OC6. Unfortunately, Peter had a motorbike accident, sending him back to NZ with a badly broken leg and Michael to stay and build or refurbish canoes working for Brad.
Michael and I purchased ‘Outrigger Connection Australia’ incorporating the Mirage OC6 from Colin and Julie in 2016. We have since relocated the Mirage OC6 in October 2017 to our hometown in Sapphire, Central Queensland where we are continuing to support the paddling community in Australia and Worldwide and hope to do so for a very long time.
The “Quick Rig” Mirage. The latest 130kg Mirages now come with a “Quick Rig” option, aluminium iakos with screw in fittings into both the ama and the hull.
And how’s this for versatile, you can still rig these Mirages with your traditional timber iakos and amas! Now you can turn up to races with your Mirage, slip on your 1 piece spray cover in 2 minutes, slot in your iakos and ama and be on the water in under 5 minutes!
Here is a little self indulgent video project I just finished, it’s made up of a collection of video clips I collected over summer paddling on my favourite bit of ocean and put to the music of my one of my favourite Aussie bands the Hoodoo Gurus.
On the weekend myself and paddlers of the Mandurah Outrigger Canoe Club had a fantastic adventure. “Kona” the 1st Hawaiian Sailing Canoe to sail in the Indian Ocean took flight on the ocean off Mandurah in Western Australia in a perfect 20 knots of Freo Doctor wind. We’d towed the canoe down the inside of the estuary from Mandurah, then put the rig up and sailed it out through The Cut and into the ocean then pointed it north and hung on!
White water was flying everywhere as we were dropping down the front of swells and burying the canoe before leaping out and taking off again. After a while we started to take a bit of water so started bailing, whoops first bailer gets dropped, okay we’re fine and keep going. Okay need to have a bail again taking on more water, start bailing with the call “don’t drop this bailer or we’re stuffed”, yep second bailer goes swimming! We had a small electric bilge pump but it wasn’t coping. It was then just a matter of time before we were swamped!
Always good having a support boat when learning how to play with these babies. Lessons for next time, better fitting covers, venturi in the hull and more wind please!!!!
So here is a quick video shot of our adventure from the support boat.
Eight years ago, Outrigger Connection in Hawaii constructed eight concept Mirages of composite hybrid constuction that weighed in at a record breaking 90kg! (200lbs!) That was eight years ago…
…fast forward to present. 2010, Outrigger Connection is now introducing “VOSA.” An “M2 Mirage.” Extremely hybrid layup of natural composite tech weighing in at 72kg!!! (160lb!!!) shattering their previous record! On 9/16/2010 VOSA was tested in Kailua, Hawaii , Verdict was: all smiles, effortless wave catching, and unmatched acceleration!
In 2001 the Mantra continues to be successful with another record breaking win of the Molokai Solo (Junior’s third in a row) and a second place finish in the Molokai Relay Karel Junior with Nate Hendrix lose by only a 3 inch margin.
Maui Kjeldsen on the Stingray
Work on the new radical hull shape had started. The three chine, V shaped hull becomes a reality on our new OC1 STINGRAY. A new, retractable leash and a new seat are designed for the STINGRAY.
This is a funny story written by a ski paddling mate of mine that I join for downwind paddles. Three of us set off for our first winter downwind run that didn’t quite go to plan.
It also highlights some good safety tips and how good those inflatable PFDs are. Adam and Mark were on skis and I was on my Zephyr OC1. I’ll let Mark take it from here.
Saturday 5:40pm – Adam sends a text suggesting a downwind tomorrow: 25kn SSW in 3m+ swell. Instant reply from Colin but he has to be finished by 10.30 so he can get to Perth for a christening. He is so excited, he gets straight on Facebook saying he is so excited he wont be able to sleep! I also responds positively after realising I will still have time to get to the St Kilda game in Subiaco afterwards.
Adam’s organic alarm clock (Sarina) does not go off and decides to sleep in.
Colin’s organic alarm clocks (Jess and Giaan) do not go off either.
I can not believe I am getting out of bed before 7am on a Sunday when it isn’t a race day. Rush rush rush … wait!
Load the boats from Doddis and come back home to pick up Helen (in her pyjamas and slippers coffee in hand) to do the shuttle run to The Cut.
Windsurfers, kite surfers, dolpins everywhere at the Cut.
Wind howling, seas choppy and yucky (I am thinking to myself, is the bed still warm?). We go anyway! Strap in and head out realising that I don’t have my PFD. Adam says, “don’t worry, you have a big green one” being the plastic Finn. I foolishly head out anyway.
Finally make it out to the groyne, turn and head for home. Within the first km, we are dodging kite surfers and lose sight of Adam in front. 3km in, Adam comes back to join us, are we really that slow that he has come back to check on us? He starts muttering something about his rudder not working and heads for shore.
I struggle my way north, even having trouble keeping up with an outrigger, so it is not a good day so far.
I finally spot the white caps breaking over the reef at Doddis, so go wide and heads toward the marker. A king wave comes out of nowhere, and I am all of a sudden falling forward over the front of the ski. Leg rope lets go way too easily. I come to the surface and hear the screams of laughter from the direction of the Dome (cafe on the point). Along with cries of “Did you see that idiot?” I flounder around for a while losing my favourite hat (that I wear because it doesn’t come off) and my favourite left shoe and also realise that my ski is out of reach. Getting to the point where I am going to have to let go of my favourite paddle and swim in.
Enter the hero !! All of a sudden Colin appears over the crest of a wave on his OC1. I think, ‘but that can’t be right, he has come from in front of me!’. As he paddles closer, I hope Colin can not see my tears of shame. Colin unstraps his self-inflating PFD and throws it to me. I put it on and pull the cord and up it goes. These things work!! Then my hero waves goodbye and disappears off to get my ski.
I am laying in the water, thinking to myself “There is no way Colin is going to be able to pull this off in these conditions”, “Where is Adam?” (We later find out that Adam is sipping cappucinos in a beach front property in Falcon. Probably with his shirt off.)
My hero returns with my ski in tow, attached to his leg rope. I am thinking, what is he going to do for me next? Do I let him tow me in, or should I at least make an effort and paddle? I go with the latter, and paddle.
Scramble on to shore, fall on to the beach and search desperately for the deflate button on the PFD. Boy these things are tight !!!
We set about the task of finding Adam. We think he is around Falcon somewhere. I find his keys, open the door and set off the car alarm, drowning out the gospel choir practising in the hall at Doddis. They look over to see me with my wetsuit pants half way down my butt crack and a bright yellow loosely inflated PFD hanging off my neck. My hero is calmly putting his canoe away and avoiding the man with the green ski at all costs thinking his job is done. Don’t know what he is worried about, he has a good 7 minutes before Julie starts screaming at him “You’re late !!!”.
I finally find the button to turn the alarm off, and re-arrange myself and head home. I dump the ski off, scream for dry clothes, grab my phone and head south to try and find Adam. Adam phones me from his beach front property and tells me he is in Spinaway Parade, Falcon. I find that this road is in two separated sections. I finally find him, he puts his ski on the roof, his shirt back on, wipes the cappucino foam off his lips and waves goodbye to his hosts on the hill. He gives me that “what took you so long” look.
I get home and defrost ready for part two of my day.
2.40 to 5pm: St Kilda restart their season by belting West Coast with their number one and two (Sarah) fans smiling, dressed head to toe in St Kilda gear in the stands surrounded by Eagles supporters.
Not such a bad day afterall.
My Lessons learned
– Keep an eye out for the guy behind.
– Don’t ever set out without your PFD.
– Don’t trust only a leg rope.
– Not everyone who takes their shirt off gets a cappucino.
The closing date for the next round of grand applications for the Gambling Community Benefit Fund (GCBF) is fast approaching. You need to have your application in by the 31st May to be eligible for the full $30,000 available to each club.
I can have a formal quote for a new Lightweight Mirage supplied to you within a couple of hours. Just drop me a line and let me know what you want in the quote and I’ll get it put together for you to submit with your application.
So if your club has been thinking about upgrading to one of the new lightweight Mirages here is your chance, for $30,000 you’ll have enough to get a Mirage with all the fruit and still have enough left over for a couple of OC1’s!
A great part of the GCGF is if your eligible application is not successful in this round it is automatically considered in the next round. You’ve got to be in it to win it!
For more information about the GCGF just visit their website.
If you have any questions or need any help with the application just send me an email. I’ve helped a few clubs over the years with these.