The Hamilton Island Cup is the richest outrigger canoe race in the world with around $100000 in prize money. It is a race that is held annually around the last week in June of each year. The first race was held in 1984 and it has been held annually ever since. Clubs wishing to compete must nominate and pay an entry fee. This race is conducted under AOCRA rules. There are a number of divisions that cater for competitors from different age groups. The masters division caters for those over 35 years of age for women and 40 years of age for men. Senior masters and golden masters cater for those men older than 45 years and 55 years of age. In the general groupings the open men's and women's events are open to any competitor over the age of 20. Juniors divisions cater for those over 14 years of age and possessing parental permission to compete.
The event is carried out in line with regulations laid down by the Queensland water police to ensure the safety of the paddlers. Each canoe must have built in buoyancy fore and aft and carry a tow rope of 25 meters of 12mm silver rope. All canoes will be inspected by the race committee prior to racing to ensure that all procedures are complied with. Each canoe must also be equipped with a proper life jacket for each paddler. Each canoe must also comply with AOCRA specifications.
The event will be conducted in heats and the course will be marked out in lanes with lane 1 always being closest to the beach. Turns are to be made counter clockwise. Last year a total of 50 national and international clubs registered for the event and they come from a number of Australian and international destinations. The racing itself ranges from short sprints right through to a 42 km marathon. If you need some Hamilton island accommodation while competing or simply being a spectator the Reef View Hotel is ideal for couples and the Whitsunday Holiday apartments will suit families and groups.