Cronulla Sutherland Kayak Club Incorporated, (founded in 1965 as Lilli Pilli Kayak Club), is one of the oldest and most successful kayak clubs in the Southern Hemisphere. The club has built up a tradition for participation in the true spirit of canoeing over many years.
From the outset the Club embarked on a range of activities including flat water slaloms, regattas, touring and racing and water safety training. In 1967 club members first tackled white water events and in subsequent years gained placings in the State and Australian Championships. On flat water the Lilli Pilli to Audley race, first paddled in 1966, was adopted in 1967 as the Club’s annual race.
In the 1967/1968 season the club affiliated with the NSW Canoe Association and was instrumental in having Touring Class kayak races at the State Sprint Championships, leading to club members gaining many places at the 1970 State Championships. In fact, 1970 was a significant year for the club as, apart from the State Sprint Championships, club members travelled to Perth for the Australian Whitewater Championships. But locally the highlight was the staging with the assistance of the club of a race from Audley to Gunnamatta Bay as part of the Bi-Centenary Celebrations.
The 1970’s was a period of growth in both membership and activities for the club. From a membership of 35 paddlers in 1967 the club had advanced to 115 active members by 1971. The emphasis on touring class kayaks gradually gave way to K1’s, leading to a very high standard of racing and the development of a number of Lilli Pilli paddlers, including one of those original Junior Scouts, into Australian representatives at the Olympics and World Championships. And for all the “ordinary” members of the club it provided a great social and sporting outlet.