As it was the start of our 20th Race Season last night, we thought we’d start off a series of blog posts focussing on some racers’ first races. This first one will give anyone who’s never raced before an idea of what it is like to take part, and then going forwards we’ll talk to racers in more interview style!
So – what is the very first thing I need to do once I’ve decided I want to take part in a race?
That depends if you have your own board or boat! If you don’t have your own then you can rent from us, and you can either rent a kayak, a surfski or a paddleboard, or if you’ve got a partner then you can rent a double kayak. We provide all your equipment so you just need to bring yourself on the night. Call us to reserve your boat or board anytime in the week preceding the race.
If you have your own board or boat, you just need to decide to come, then we’ll tell you below when to show up!
Okay it’s my first race night, what do I need to know?
Registration opens at 6, with the race starting at 7. Most racers will be getting on the water for 6.30-6.40 for a quick warm up beforehand, so just make sure you leave plenty of time so that you’re ready for the klaxon at 7pm.
Parking in Deep Cove can be challenging, although you can drop your board or boat off first before finding a spot.
How much does it cost?
Each race costs $5, which you pay when you register in person, after 6pm. Your name also gets entered for draw prizes at the end of each race AND for the year end race party so make sure you put your name in the box.
If you’re planning on doing a lot of races you can get a pass for $85 which means you can skip the sign in process each week by calling in – saving not only $$ but also valuable time standing in line!
How do I know where to go?
There is a BIG map hanging up which will show you the race route for the night, and Karly (who starts the race) will also go over the route on the start line. There are usually three choices of route – the long course (6-10km), the short course (4-6km) or the recreational course (2-4km).
If you’re not sure, go for the shorter route as you have to be back able to complete the route within an hour.
Are there any rules?
Very few! You MUST have a pfd on no matter what you’re paddling, and a leash if you are on a stand up paddleboard otherwise you will be disqualified. SAFETY FIRST PEOPLE!
Other than that, follow the race route, and make sure you don’t cut any corners or go under any docks.
What does the start of the race look like?
The surfskis and OCs (outrigger canoes) in the long course usually start first, so they get in line with the front of the government dock and await Karly’s signal. She will call everyone to order, go over the race course, and then say ‘surfskis/stand ups/kayaks etc, your race starts within 5 seconds’ and the klaxon goes!
The first hundred metres are an all out sprint, so if you’re nervous, take it slow and hang back to let the waves subside slightly as the faster racers go all out.
The number of waves of start will depend on the course, so listen to Karly or ask someone near you.
What does the end of the race look like??
You need to head back to the Government Dock that you started from, but you finish on the other side, so the dock is on your left. As you pass the end of the dock where Karly will be standing shout out your race number so she can record your time. If you don’t shout your number out she may not be able to see your number and your time won’t be recorded – think of all that wasted effort – so make sure you do.
And then what happens?
The race should last max 1 hour for the last people to come in. If you rented, you can leave your boat or board on the beach.
Most people will shower or change out of wet/cold/sweaty things, and put their boats or boards on their cars if they brought their own.
Once everyone is ready, it is time for notices and PRIZES from our sponsors. Most people stay for the prizes as there are some kick ass sponsors! Usually Mike, our operations manager, gives notices and draws the names for prizes. The names are then kept for the year end party in September where you can win GRAND PRIZES so make sure you join us for that on the last race night of the year!
After prizes, a bunch of people head to the Raven Pub on Deep Cove Road where we get beer and burger specials, and watch the video shot of the race that night. It’s a great way to come down after the race, and reward yourself with a delicious meal and a drink.
If you have any questions at all about race night, or want to take part next week, you can call us at 604.929.2268 ext 1. See you on the water!!