Athlete/Sponsor Profile – Michael Pannach
When you think of Lawyers, you don’t typically think of fun and adventurous (or maybe that’s just me), so we were pleasantly surprised when the Connolly Suthers team joined Adventurethon as a Sponsor. To say they have embraced the adventurous would be an understatement. Here is a dedicated team of people who have thrown themselves into the fun that is Adventurethon, filling so many spots with teams in the Connolly Suthers Taste of Adventurethon that we know you will see them everywhere you turn on the course.
Getting to know some of the crew there is pretty cool. So we just wanted to share a little about a few of them.
What do you do for fun or relaxation?
Freedive and spearfish! I spend vast amounts of my time in and on the water. Whether I’m freediving, spearfishing, swimming laps or paddling my surf ski, I’m never far from the water. I have a huge amount of respect and appreciation for the ocean and I have dived in many beautiful locations around Australian and overseas in places such as Tonga, Fiji and the Red Sea.
I was introduced to competitive spearfishing by local legend (and fellow Adventurethoner) Dr Adam Smith. Adam has won numerous state and national championships in Spearfishing. I have competed in two recent international spearfishing competitions alongside Adam (Tahiti 2014 & New Caledonia 2015). I also just returned last week from a competition in New Zealand. Competitive spearfishing is as much about strength and endurance as it is skill. Spearfishing competitions are usually held across 1-3 days, where divers must swim for up to 6 hours per day covering 6-10km swimming and diving continually, often as many as 100 breath-hold dives from 1 to 30 metres in depth searching for fish. The aim is to catch a range of different species (one of each type). My goal is to dive the world spearfishing titles next year.
But it’s not just about catching fish, we will sometimes spend a weekend freediving in Lake Eacham (Tablelands) or freediving on the reefs or wrecks recreationally to film or take photographs. My fondest memories are of some wonderful encounters with whale sharks, humpback whales, dolphins, turtles, dugongs and some very big (and mostly) peaceful sharks.
Introducing my two young boys to the ocean is also something that I now really enjoy.
I train most days and usually 10-15 hours per week. When training for an event I will do breath-hold sessions 3 times per week (either in a gym or pool), 2 swimming sessions as well as some cross-training on a bicycle or surf-ski twice weekly.
What was the last book you read without skipping through anything?
I recently read a book that I have wanted to read for many years, an old classic from the 1930’s ‘how to win friends and influence people’. Don’t mind the naff title, it’s more a book about human decency and respect. It was a quick and enjoyable read. It’s probably outdated, certainly daggy, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
If you could trade lives with one person for an entire day who would it be and why?
Mick De Rooy. A fellow Adventurethoner and champion paddler. I would love to know what drives that guy; he is by far the most driven individual that I have ever met. Although I suspect the experience would be equal parts enlightening and terrifying (if you’ve ever met him you’ll know what I mean).
If you could only take 3 things to a deserted island what would they be and why?
Well that’s just too easy for somebody like me. My speargun, fins and a mask. That actually sounds fantastic. How do I get there?
What is it that you enjoy/value/appreciate about being a lawyer?
I have worked at Connolly Suthers now for nearly 15 years, one of the oldest and most respected law firms in Townsville. We have such a wonderful bunch of motivated and athletic people working here. Several of us have participated in the North Queensland Ocean Paddle series and Adventurethons over the past few years and so last year it felt logical for us to step up and sponsor these events. Joel and his team have done a fantastic job in creating these events, they just get bigger and better each year. These events are fantastic for the local economy, community spirit and offer a great excuse for an after-party.
You’ve participated in Adventurethon before – what is your favourite part and why?
It’s amazing how popular the Adventurethon series has become. It’s the result of a motivated team of people, world class courses and scenic locations. 5 years ago I purchased a mountain bike and competed in the Maggy Enduro as part of a team. I had a horrible race but I was absolutely hooked. I purchased a surf-ski soon after and I have not missed either of the local races since.
What makes these events so enjoyable is the atmosphere and strong connection to family fun and healthy living. I hope to see my young boys have a go at the taste of adventure race next year.
The Adventurethon started out as cross-training for me and it is now something that I thoroughly enjoy (nearly) as much as diving. I struggle to devote the time that it deserves, although I enjoy it immensely. In future I hope to travel to the Adventurethon races in NSW and WA and to New Zealand for the Speights Coast to Coast.
I am really looking forward to the Magnetic Island race once again. If you enjoy the company of great people, food and music I strongly encourage you to come over and join the Connolly Suthers crew on the Island for the day!