The Tuesday Night Race before the Canadian Surfski Champs has become a ‘must-do’ for the racers that are in town ahead of the Champs on Saturday, and it showed last night with a record 110 racers out! Tim Dwyer who is in town from Rhode Island said that he missed it last year and planned his trip this year just so he could make it to our race. AWESOME.
It was SO amazing to see so many people on the start line, including the pros but also all the locals and visiting paddlers too. There were contingents from South Africa, New Zealand, USA, and Vancouver Island, as well as our regular racers. The ‘Joes’ lined up first in all sit down craft- surfskis, single kayaks, OC1s, double kayaks and a canoe and all headed off in a huge melee after the horn. Taking the left side line where I was meant you could see all the craziness but were out of it to have a clear line of sight to the 5 knot can and didn’t have to negotiate as many sailboats.
The stand up paddleboarders went next, and then after a two minute head start, the ‘Pros’ took off and by the time I came around Grey Rocks, the first island on the course, they had all passed me.
And that’s where the carnage started.
First off a sizable tour boat decided to slow down RIGHT in our race route, meaning that the passengers all got a great view of the front racers, but sort of messing things up for them as racers had to decide whether to try to paddle in front of it and risk being mowed down, or going behind it and having to double back to the route. Luckily they moved off fairly quickly so only the first racers were affected.
Then the turning point of the Hamber Island Light Post caused a lot of consternation…the race route led around the lightpost and back through the line of racers, and with such a small obstacle to turn around, there was a lot of, in the words of Nick Cryder ‘gapping, stopping and t-boning’. Everyone was very respectful though, and good natured banter abounded. It just made for better stories and laughs in the pub afterwards.
The race win went to Ken Rice, followed by Jasper Mocke, Sean Rice and Dawid Mocke. The two sets of brothers were top four last year so at least they kept up that tradition. It really is special to see the masters of the sport up close – you realise how dedicated you have to have been for so many years to get to that level. And then you see Sally Wallick who at 23 finsihed just behind local hero Wes Hammer. WOW. That girl is going places fast. There really were too many people to mention last night, so check out the results below to see where you came.
For the SUPs it was awesome to see Peter Allen, Jason Bennett and Carmen Merkel back and racing after triumphing at the Yukon River Quest – congrats you guys! Mike Darbyshire was a convincing victor for the SUPs…don’t worry Jason you’ll be back on form again soon 😉
It was also great to see some first timers last night, including two 8 year old DART members, and some women who came over to try a race from the Women on Water paddle too. Hope you guys had fun, and congrats on your first race!
There’s a whole load of events going on this week for the Canadian Surfski Champs – check out the schedule here, and then race day is on Saturday so come along to spectate if you can, click here for details. It’s going to be a good one!!