Kalamalka Classic – You gotta paddle here!

If you have never experienced the Kal Classic SUP Festival then you need to put it on your calendars right now for next Labour Day weekend. Kevin, Mel, Allan and the rest of the crew at Kalavida Surf Shop put on one heck of an event. There’s something for everyone from your World Champion (like Lina Augaitis), to your weekend warrior, to your 4 year old child and everyone in between. It was great to catch up with paddlers that I’ve met over the past two seasons and hang out.
This year did not disappoint with mother nature even coming to the party on Saturday with a mess of wind for the Wiki Holo Finals! But she failed to give us that kind of wind for the 16km down Kal Lake on Sunday.

I finished third over the weekend behind World Champ Lina Augaitis and amazing paddler Shannon Bell (who also has had great showing at the 2013 ISA Worlds). It’s a privilege to be able to line up with these two along with the other fantastic women that were there this weekend.
I had a rough start to the Wiki Holo technical course heat. Thank goodness it was two laps! I was 6th off the start and managed to make it up to fourth by the end of the first lap and third by the second buoy of the second lap and held on. I was stoked with my pivot turns!

Photo by: Mark Klein
Photo by: Mark Klein

The finals was just one lap but worth double the points! The competitive women got to watch the rec classes and competitive men battle the waves on the course before we got our turn. Instead of pivot turns that went beautifully in my heat, I tried to play it safe with cross bows. Well, after 3 or 4 swims I was thankful that I’m strong in a headwind as that’s where i was able to make up a lot of ground to battle for third again.

Making the pass!
Making the pass!
It was so close we didn't know who was 3rd or 4th
It was so close we didn’t know who was 3rd or 4th

The relay races to end the day lead to a Naish One Inflatable SUP being awarded. Absolute blast with my team!

4 people + 1 board
4 people + 1 board

Sunday morning saw 100+ paddlers going down the length of Kal Lake. With a little headwind and Debbie on my tail for the first half, I knew I had to stay strong. I never looked back to see when I dropped Debbie off my wash but I knew I couldn’t hear her anymore. I also knew that if I let up that she would be working her way right back up there! Thank goodness for my hydration pack filled with Vitargo. I wasn’t thirsty per se but I knew I needed the fuel to keep going that hard. It did not disappoint, I didn’t cramp, I didn’t bonk, I was able to keep pulling even after I could feel the blisters on my fingers break open. My official time was 2:02:01 on my 12’6 Bark Competitor. Not to shabby considering last year I was 1:57:18 on my 14′ Think XoR with no headwind.

Fantastically fast women!
Fantastically fast women!

One more race and then my season is complete. What a year it’s been for my “year off, just paddling for fun and not training.”

Thanks to Mark Klein, Neil Gibson and Dorine Berube for taking such great photos!

“Why Not?!” once again leads me into the Unknown

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!

The biggest names in the surfski world were here ... talk about star struck!
The biggest names in the surfski world were here … talk about star struck!

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 :(

about 1.5km from the finish up river
about 1.5km from the finish up river

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!

Totally caught off guard that there was a prize for Top Canadian Woman!
Totally caught off guard that there was a prize for Top Canadian Woman!

Vancouver SUP Challenge

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.

Another super fun day on the water! Thanks to Lech Dolecki for the amazing photos of the event that are posted here.

Last year we were third, this year second ... next year we win!
Last year we were third, this year second … next year we win!

Canadian National Outrigger Champion

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.

This is what 5 seconds looks like
This is what 5 seconds looks like
Receiving our awards for 3rd at Nationals
Receiving our awards for 3rd at Nationals

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.

Winning the Pulling Water Smallboat Challenge, aka Nationals!
Winning the Pulling Water Smallboat Challenge, aka Nationals!
She was crazy fast on this day
She was crazy fast on this day

 

 

Fantastic Weekend in White Rock

Man can Sundog Surf Shop put on an event!

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.

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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 ….

Playing with my new toy
Playing with my new toy