I’ve had this idea in the back of my mind since the event was announced earlier this year. I toyed with going. Not really sure if I was going to get in over my head with the conditions. But it didn’t take much of a nudge to put me over the edge and sign up just before the registration deadline for the first ever Canadian Surfski Championships.
I’ve raced the course on an outrigger a few times so I was familiar with the cold water and the potential wave size, I figured that I’ve learned a lot about wave riding since the last time I did the course 4 years ago. I had the chance to play in some big waves here on Lake Okanagan and was comfortable. So …. Why Not?!
And what a blast! Lining up with the biggest names in the surfski world! Wow!
I had no expectations for my performance. I just wanted to go out there, have fun and see what I could do in my first real surfski race. It didn’t take long for the competitive juices to kick in. I played it safe off the start but then I started to pick targets to catch and pass one by one. There was a little bit of wave play but nothing that was fast enough to ride for any length of time. I was moving faster than the waves
I felt good crossing the line, I had about 250ml of my Vitargo left in my hydration pack and hadn’t touched any of my gels. 20.5km in 1:46 crossing as the fifth female but first Canadian Woman. It was a big surprise for me at the awards ceremony to find out that there was money awarded for the Top Canadian Woman. Even bigger surprise was the giant novelty cheque!
And this year was about redemption at this race. I didn’t fare so well last year, I swam a lot so I’m proud to say that not only did I stay dry this time but I also felt a lot better during my races than I have in recent memory. I started a new supplement after last weekend’s Outrigger Nationals called Vitargo and with the guidance of Dr. Susan and team we are going to see what happens to my training, my performance and especially with my Type 1 Diabetes by increasing my carbohydrate intake. I love Science!
Anyways, after roadtripping to Van in a van with Gypsy and Matt, I got to catch up with amazing people that I met at this race last year and also met some new folk that I’m super stoked will be in Vernon in a couple weeks.
Racing wise, I was 2nd all round. In the 5km 14′ race. In the 3km (which thanks to the superbuoy was actually 3.6km) 12’6′ race. In the sprint race. And 2nd in the relay race as well with my wicked team of Peter and David. I played it safe with my buoy turns this weekend since they burned me here last year and it paid off. I was able to set up wide and cut inside on the end of turns and stay away from a lot of the carnage that was going on.
This past weekend was the Howe Sound Iron Outrigger Race which served as the Canadian Outrigger National Championships in beautiful Gibsons, BC.
Saturday was the OC6 (6 person outrigger canoe) race. It was listed as a 26km course but thanks to my team’s amazing steersperson, Christine, our route was only 23km. It was an exciting race right from the start! There was an island about 250m from the start that all teams had to turn around before starting their journey up the shoreline. With 14 boats on the line, we knew things would be tight coming into that turn but we were not expecting to be cut off by an experienced crew beside us as they were pinched as well. Our Kelowna boat stopped in order to prevent the boat that cut us off from going into the rocks and also running into two other boats. This meant that we had to restart after the team ahead got straightened out and out of our way. From here we had to play catch up. We knew that we had a lot of distance ahead and stuck to what we’re good at … making every stroke count.
First we passed my former club from Toronto, Wai Nui before making our way past the Comox women. That left three boats ahead of us. Following the buoy turn at the 6km mark we managed to pull in the False Creek women and make the pass. We spent the rest of the race chasing down Gorge from Victoria (team that we had to stop for). Words can’t even express how proud I am of my Kelowna teammates for digging deep and coming within 5 seconds in a 2 hour 10 minute race. We were 32 seconds behind the first place crew for a third place finish.
Sunday’s small boat race was exciting on so many levels. My good friend Ron let me use his Ehukai which is the same boat that I’ll be getting next month. Lolo Wiki (Crazy Fast) did not disappoint! Though she did throw me into the ocean twice during the race, I still managed to reel in a lot of paddlers to the point where there was only one other OC1 ahead of me. I almost had him before the second swim but alas, I was the top woman.
I attended this race last year and had an absolute blast! I met so many amazing people, got to sleep in a park on the waterfront and then race with many of the best paddlers in the Pacific Northwest. Scott and Kim totally outdid themselves this year with a bigger and better event for the 3rd Annual Semihamoo SUP Classic.
I picked up a new race fin for my board on Saturday afternoon before making my way down to the waterfront to check out the festival. There were vendors, live music and lots of yummy looking food. I had time to kill before dinner at Uli’s and ended up having a nap on a park bench in the shade only to wake up to the train blowing its horn right in time for dinner
The 10km race was up first on Saturday. I raced my 14′ THINK XoR with my Quickblade Magic. After getting caught in the start line chaos last year, I decided to start wide. I had clear water for a lot of the race which made reeling in the guys ahead a little less exhausting. The course had three arms, one of which took us out around a marker that indicates the 49th parallel. In the final couple hundred meters was a zigzag that we had to go around before heading into the finish. After the last buoy I managed to pass one last racer in front of me. I finished as the second woman.
Afterwards I was debating about doing the 5km race. After having a recovery drink and feeling a little less beat up I figured “Why Not!” Any day on the water is a good day, so why waste the beautiful day. The 5km course was designed to be “spectator friendly” and to have “a lot of carnage”. In other words, there were a lot of buoy turns very close together. I’m proud to say that I managed to stay on my board for the whole race, avoiding most of the drama at the turns worked in my favour as I managed to pass a few boys in this race too and finished as the first woman.
People are starting to post up their pictures so keep checking Facebook for pics.
Oh, and to top it all off, aside from the sweet tiki mug and hand carved paddles, I got to come home with an amazing door prize ….