In the run up to the Canadian Surfski Champs (CSC) this year, the race directors and I had been SO excited to see the registrations just go up and up from last year’s numbers to a total of 124 by race day! We were particularly excited at the increase in local registrations – it’s SO great to see the sport growing in our local area!
The weather forecast was also on everyone’s minds as race day grew closer. It varied between thunder and lightning, rain, wind, and sun. So, there would be something for everyone! Typically, the day before the race we were stood at the O’Siem Pavilion in sunny hot weather as Bob’s Vaavud wind meter showed gusts of up to 30 knots.
Race day itself dawned dull and errr, cloudy. But as racers started registering, flags started flapping as the wind began to pick up and everyone looked a bit more positive. The final count was 108 racers that headed to the start line, or 107 until Robert Lang and his slightly forgotten boat arrived.
To take advantage of the earlier than expected winds, the start was brought forward, and racers headed out of Porteau Cove towards the Think Kayaks Hot Spot at full whack. Jasper Mocke took an early lead, but Sean Rice REALLY wanted that Hot Spot and powered past him to take it. Teneale Hatton followed shortly behind him to take it for the women for the second year in a row.
After the Hot Spot the field REALLY spread out this year, with paddlers taking different lines all over the place. Wes Hammer and Greg Barton favoured an easterly line staying closer to the shore and heading straight for Watts Point. Mackenzie Hynard and Daniel Sanchez Viloria on the other hand went as far as they could for the western shore and took a wide line into the point hoping to catch some wind.
For a lot of the first portion of the race it was hard to tell who was leading because they were so spread out. Sean dropped off the lead somewhere around Britannia Beach, and for a while it could have been any one of Jasper Mocke, Dawid Mocke or Kenny Rice who was in front. The race for the win was to be a battle of the brothers for sure.
Soon though it was the older Mocke brother who took command of proceedings, and, in his words he “got into a groove and felt very comfortable.” Well, it showed. Once he pulled ahead he just kept going, checking behind him every now and then, but he was in control.
The battle for second place really got interesting just after Watts Point. Kenny Rice had been in second behind Dawid for a while, but Jasper Mocke didn’t want to see his brother get that far ahead, so soon after they passed the point, Jasper put on a spurt of energy and pulled away from Kenny.
The gap was too far to bridge though, and older brother Dawid had a tremendous lead from Jasper going into the Mamquam Channel. Dawid looked relaxed and relieved as he crossed the finish line, giving the crowd a wave and a thumbs up to us on the boat. Jasper was next, then Kenny, then Sean. So it was Mocke, Mocke, Rice, Rice – sounds like a chant.
Teneale Hatton took the women’s title for the second year running, and beat her last year’s time by a whopping six minutes. Second place was Rachel Clarke, also visiting from New Zealand and came in three minutes behind Teneale. Third was a local! Tamlyn Bohm from the Kelowna Paddle Centre also beat her time from last year by an even more whopping 12 minutes. Fantastic to see!
Not only did Greg Redman, also of the Kelowna Paddle Centre, come in 12th place, he was also fastest Canadian male AND first place in his category of Master Male. That will be a source of pride for his kids who insisted on telling me how OLD their dad was!
Other battles taking place of note – Carter Johnson and Florian Teaurai battled it out right to the line, exchanging massive high fives afterwards. Steve and Sharon Scoggins came in first double, the Bellingham couple ringing all the bells at this race.
Kent Jenkinson was the youngest male taking part, he came in 44th at a great time of 1:38:26, and the youngest female (not even 19 yet), Nazuk Thakkar came in at just over 2 hours. Both internationals and ones to watch in the next few years for sure.
There were too many amazing paddlers out there to mention, many of whom we got to talk to afterwards and share tales of battles fought and won, and moments to remember out on the water. It is always so rewarding to see racers smiling after a race, that’s all that we want as the organising team.
Thank you to EVERYONE who made this year’s race possible: the sponsors, the volunteers, the timers, the photographers, the safety boat drivers and of course the racers and their families. They say it takes a village to raise a child, well, it must take a town to raise a race because that’s how much we feel the support of the community. What a fantastic day – see you next year.