GREAT OPPORTUNITY: Rockhampton outrigger Kathy Barsby is gearing up to represent Australia for a second time, next week competing at the IVF World Distance Championships at Mooloolaba.
GREAT OPPORTUNITY: Rockhampton outrigger Kathy Barsby is gearing up to represent Australia for a second time, next week competing at the IVF World Distance Championships at Mooloolaba. Allan Reinikka ROK030819abarsby1

Rocky mum to represent Australia at 47

OUTRIGGING: Kathy Barsby is both excited and nervous about donning the green and gold for the second time in her sporting career.

The Rockhampton outrigger first represented Australia at the world sprint championships in New Zealand in 2006.

Next week, she will be part of the Australian Masters women's team that will compete in the IVF World Distance Championships at Mooloolaba.

She is the second Barsby to contest this event. Her daughter Melinda won bronze in the J19 women's 27km event at the inaugural world distance championships two years ago.

Barsby is one of five north Queenslanders in the Masters team and she believes that familiarity will be key to their quest for success.

The 47-year-old had been paddling at events in North Queensland for a number of years but decided in November last year that she wanted to have another tilt at higher honours.

"It came time where I really wanted to get back on the water at a competitive level and it's been great to do that,” she said.

"Sometimes when an opportunity comes along you've just got to take it.

Rockhampton outrigger Kathy Barsby in action.
Rockhampton outrigger Kathy Barsby in action. MGL

"This is really important to me. I have daughters and I want to show them that no matter how old you are you can still have dreams and goals and if you want them enough you can achieve them.”

But Barsby said realising the dream has not come without effort.

"This is a whole different level of training and commitment and you have to make sacrifices,” she said.

"One of the biggest ones is time away from your family, especially when you're working and training.

"There are times when I get home from training just in time to give my kids a kiss goodnight before they go to bed.”

Barsby is quietly confident the sacrifices made will reap rewards at Mooloolaba.

She and her Aussie teammates will hit the water in the 25km event on Tuesday.

Kathy Barsby (right) and crew members Lian Schmidt, Kylee De Rooy, Tania Moohin, Christine Den Elzen and Felecia White carve through the water at the national titles.
Kathy Barsby (right) and crew members Lian Schmidt, Kylee De Rooy, Tania Moohin, Christine Den Elzen and Felecia White carve through the water at the national titles. MGL

They are expecting their toughest competition to come from New Zealand, Tahiti and Hawaii.

"I'm really excited but I'm also very nervous at the same time because there's a lot riding on it,” Barsby said.

"The Masters women's team got a silver medal so we're hoping we can go one better.

"We've certainly been putting in the training for it.

"There's a lot of experience in those crews and they're going to want the win as much as we do so it's just going to be who the better team is on the day.

"We certainly won't be holding anything back, we'll be doing everything we can to get that gold medal.”

A month on from the Worlds and Barsby will join a 10-member crew to take on Molokai's Hoe, a 62km outrigger canoe race between the islands of Molokai and Oahu, Hawaii.

Barsby did the same race 20 years ago, when Melinda was just one year old.

She said the race presented different challenges, and was very dependent on the conditions.

"I prefer endurance to sprint events. I know I'm better suited to them.

"I'm like a diesel engine - it takes me a little while to warm up but then I just keep going.”