Four races down in 2019 and the TNR powers-that-be having found their grove. This TNR was another doozy as heavyweight paddlers from all over descended on the cove including one SUP’er looking to slay a SUP giant. Heading into the first criterium race of the year there was lots of anticipation as your first buoy turn could decide your fate for the remainder of the competition. 87 racers made their way to Deep Cove on Tuesday night as the attendance continues to soar this season keep up the good work everyone! The turnout was a global affair as South African native, Rob Hansen, who resides on Vancouver Island made his way to the mainland. Once regulars of TNR both Gareth Jones and Wes Hammer also checked in making this TNR a heavyweight bought.
The 1 km course took us out to the Beachview area, making for some prime racing conditions. With your choice of doing between 1-3 laps, the start can be described as a drag race, if they did mass starts in drag racing… As the air horn sounds paddles start whipping through the air, and the once calm waters of the Beachview area suddenly turn into a churning mess of wash and Bob Putnam yelling “get out of my way Seth.”
As is tradition the Surfskis start first. Right out of the gates Wes Hammer and Gareth Jones set the pace and put the pedal to the metal. As the pack was reaching the first turn, it was anyone’s race. Rounding turn one there was a lot of bumping and jostling and exchanging of pleasantries. Leaving some racers in such tight quarters, they were unable to paddle. Gareth was one of the lucky few who managed to escape the madness and went on to secure a 1st place finish with a dominating performance. TNR newcomer Connor Curson and the one and only Wes Hammer rounded our 2nd and 3rd in the Surfski class. It was a close race as the top 6 racers all finished within 10 seconds of one another.
In the 14’ SUPs class it was business as usual as everyone’s been raring at a chance to be the first to dethrone Mike Darbyshire this season. The front pack was neck and neck until the last buoy turn, and that was when the real race began for these SUPers. It was the PNW wonderboy, or should I say, MAN, Norm Hann who managed to edge Mike out at the end finishing just a few tenths of a second before the Darbinator. Adam G had his best finishes to date claiming 3rd, and both Shannon Bell and Shauna Magowan continue to climb the leaderboard with impressive finishes week after week.
In the 12’6 SUP class, Cynthia Wonham was the only racer in her class to do the full three laps or 6 km. Should out to Cynthia! It was good to see Aidan Hay out there tonight as this young man is showing some serious potential in the SUP division.
Just a reminder that the Board The Fjord is happening on May 11th and registration is open. This is our first big Paddling Race of the Season, and it’s just over two weeks away. There are two more TNRs between then and now so it’s not too late to sharpen those racing skills before the big day. Also to note Mike Darbyshire and co will be polishing boats and board before next weeks TNR to raise money for new jerseys for the DART team. – Cam