Saturday, July 15th saw 115 racers in total descend on Porteau Cove for the 4th Annual Canadian Surfski Championships – and WHAT a day for it!! The day before had been good, with winds 10-15 knots and the paddlers who went out came back grinning. On Race Day, the wind was blowing almost as soon as registration opened at 9am, so we knew we were going to be in for fast conditions.
In the race crowd were legends of the surfski world – Oscar Chalupsky, Greg Barton, Sean Rice, Hank McGregor, Dawid Mocke, Teneale Hatton, Rachel Clarke, Jasper Mocke, Ken Rice, Mackenzie Hynard, Lee Furby and Ian Black, along with a very strong Canadian and local showing; from Vancouver – Wes Hammer and Shane Martin, from Kelowna Paddle Club – Greg Redman and Tamlyn Bohm, from Quebec Guillaume Morin and Stephane Fournier, and from Bellingham – Team Scoggins and Swetish; and SO MANY MORE! It was great to have so many countries represented too – Canada, US, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the People’s Republic of Quebec, and Hong Kong. ALL the big surfski brands were represented too – Think, Epic, Nelo, Fenn, Stellar and Huki.
The safety meeting and roll call went smoothly and quickly, so Race Directors Bob and Ian made the call to race a little bit early to take advantage of the wind. All the racers and safety boats took to the water, and by the time Bob called his 5 minute warning, the front racers were pushing the line so we sent them out flying. Sadly, Hank McGregor decided not to race at the last minute due to sickness which was disappointing to everyone – best wishes Hank hope you’re feeling better!
The 1km sprint race to the Think Kayaks Hot Spot was frantic as always – first past the buoy and winning the $750 each were Sean Rice and Teneale Hatton…no real surprise there as they have both won it for the past three years in a row! Ken Rice was just a few inches behind Sean, with Jasper Mocke, Austin Kieffer and Dawid Mocke a couple of boat lengths behind them and the rest of the 110 racers following behind them.
As the lead boat we mainly followed the front of the race pack, and it was absolutely fascinating to watch the race action unfold. The top 5 changed within the pack so many times it was hard to keep track, and with the race field spread out across Howe Sound sometimes you couldn’t tell who was leading! Sean and Ken Rice were 1 and 2 throughout, and they had the most fantastic exchange throughout the whole race – with Ken leading and pulling away, then Sean coming back. It wasn’t until the final 500 metres down the Mamquam Channel to the finish line that Sean had the win for sure as Ken just couldn’t sprint past him. Congrats to Sean for his third ever Canadian Champs win and in the fastest time too – 1 hour 14 minutes 20 seconds which is 7 minutes faster than the previous fastest time which was previously in the first year.
For the women, Teneale Hatton was convincing from the start and duly took the win and 17th place overall, but there was huge pressure from Rachel Clarke who was chasing her down the whole way. Congrats to Teneale for her third win in a row in 1 hour 25 minutes and 17 seconds which was a whole 5 minutes faster than last year.
The race for third place for the men was really exciting to watch unfold, and the race for 6th too! For third, the giants of Austin Kieffer, Jasper Mocke and Dawid Mocke changed so many times it was hard to keep track. Finally coming into the channel the sprint was taken by Jasper, with Austin just seconds behind him in a strong sprint. Dawid came in a couple minutes behind them, all of them looking suitably exhausted by the exchange! For 6th, Mackenzie Hynard and Oscar Chalupsky and Ian Black fought it out with the place going to Macca, just missing out on a podium spot this year.
Fastest Canadians were Greg Redman and Tamlyn Bohm for the second year in a row, with Tamlyn retaining her title for the third year running. Wes Hammer and Leanne Stanley were chasing them down respectively, with the Canadian women’s podium a 1, 2, 3 for the Kelowna Paddle Club with 23 year old Sally Wallick taking third place. Wes Hammer and Shane Martin were 2nd and 3rd on the Canadian Men’s podium.
It really is fantastic to see so many people come out to race with us – we LOVE this event and love having so many people come to see this beautiful part of the world. We did manage to livestream the race on Facebook which you can watch by clicking here. Photos are on Facebook which you can see by clicking here, and the official race video can be seen here. Results below, and on our website here.