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.