OUTRIGGER canoes will flood Newcastle Harbour this Saturday as Novocastrians are treated first-hand to the action of a national regatta.
In its third year, the Pasha Dasha Grand Prix will put the city to the test as a deserving spot for a permanent fixture on the sports calendar - and a potential host for a state title competition.
With up to 400 competitors and 70 teams participating on the day, some of the country's top racers will head to Newcastle to fight for the top spot.
The Pasha Dasha carnival includes OC6 Sprints (four and eight-kilometre races) followed by a 34-kilometre race.
Newcastle will be represented by seven teams, about 36 members, who will be paddling on the day as well as volunteers who will ensure the day is a smooth success.
The Newcastle club's senior womens crew is expected to be a particular highlight following the team's strong effort at the recent regatta in the Cook Islands.
Newcastle Outrigger Canoe Club coach and race director Stephen Dawes said the sport was becoming more popular in the Hunter region, especially for families and mature-aged adults.
The club had grown from zero to 60 members in the past three years.
"This event is very important because it will kick off our racing reason and we want to see state and national results," Mr Dawes said.
"However, it is just a bit of fun for families at the end of the day."
Mr Dawes said the best vantage positions for spectators to see the action was from the breakwall and Nobbys and Horseshoe beaches.
■ The Pasha Dasha Grand Prix kicks off this Saturday, January 19 from 8am. The changes race will start about 11.30am and go for 3½ hours.