Molokai---Now We Know

McGregor, Rice, Mocke, Robinson, Hall.

Hank McGregor---Is still hungry and will kick your arse!

Cory Hill---If anyone had any doubts---you'd have to be living under a rock not to see that he is here and clear the top paddler out there today. In spite of a soul-crushing finale at China Wall, this guy is showing that his recent spate of wins have not been a fluke.  Scary fast!

Sean Rice---At the top always.  Still looking for the "W" at the channel. It's gonna happen. I'd bet on it.  

Joey Hall---Keep an eye out for him.  He just put a shot across the bow.  Looks like the real deal.

Elizabeth Pluimers---Also a name to remember.

Clint Robinson and Jasper Mocke---No question. In the mix as predicted.

China Wall---As if blindly paddling 32 miles across the Pacific on tippy torpedoes isn't enough, this race needs another antagonist. How about a boat crushing reef and clapotis inducing washing machine?  There ya go!

South Africa---Domination! Like the imperial empire except these Storm Troopers can actually hit targets. 

Oscar Chalupsky---Looked smooth out there, but not the coming out party he had hoped for. He's not done yet.  

Streaming Coverage---Not so much.  If you want to know who is where and what's happening, your best bet is to have a lot of friends in social media (read Facebook) and keep your fingers crossed for an update here and there. Check with Maraamu---they got it right.  

Mark Perrow---Photo Beata Cseke / Borys Markin

You didn't win-but in a way you did award.  After destroying his ski on "the Reef", Mark Perrow declared "game on" and spent a good bit of time swimming against the current after his damaged boat, only to remount the sinking craft and spend an hour paddling the last three km.

Hank McGregor WINS Molokai 2016

The 2016 edition of the Molokai surfski race is now in the books. Conditions today did not favor the racers with high temperatures and little help from the wind and waves. 

Hank McGregor pulled off another victory at Molokai, finishing ahead of Sean Rice in second, Jasper Mocke in third, Clint Robinson in fourth and Joey Hall in fifth.

The race was led by Cory Hill, with Hank McGregor following and Sean Rice coming in from a northerly approach. In a heartbreaking turn of events, with Hill leading into China Wall, he ground into a reef, driving his rudder into the ski, effectively taking him out of contention.

Herman Chalupsky finished tenth with Greg Barton in at  a respectable 18th.   Oscar Chalupsky finished 26th, also apparently running into troubles at China Wall.

Men's results are:

1) Hank McGregor
2) Sean Rice
3) Jasper Mocke
4) Clint Robinson
5) Joey Hall

The first place female: Liz Pluimers.

Full details to follow.

Booth making waves in the SUP World

Top surfski paddler Michael Booth took the win at the Lost Mills race in Germany this weekend edging out teammate Connor Baxter.  Perennially at the front of international surfski races, Booth has been showing excellent form recently in the ultra-competitive world of stand up paddling.

Competing as part of Team Starboard, he has notched big wins recently at The Australian Nationals, 12 Towers and the Noosa Festival.

Booth, who has previously juggled both disciplines at a high level, seems to be making a strong push as of late in the SUP world, making a name for himself in the process. 

Featured Race ---Paddle Bender

The Paddle Bender race at Dreher State Park outside of Columbia, South Carolina, is set to take place next weekend.  It is the second event in the Southeast Paddle Sport Series and always provides a great opportunity for the best paddlers in the southeast to converge for a throwdown.

 

Race director John Wellens has historically provided a great event that is well attended.  The Paddle Bender is one of those races that draws a diverse crowd of participants ranging from elite skis to plastic sea kayaks and SUPs and always has a great vibe.

 

There will be a 4 mile and 8 mile option and as always food and schwag will be on-hand.


So come out and support the race and the SEP series.  Proceeds from the race will go to the support of the Carolina Wildlife Center.

Good Cause

Good Cause

Southeast Paddle Sport Series:   http://www.sepseries.org/

Paddle Bender:  http://www.paddlebender.org/

Canoe Culture --- with Molokai History

Great story from Midweek including some history of the Molokai. 

By:  Ron Mizutani

Source:  http://www.midweek.com/kanaka-ikaika-canoe-jim-john-foti/

 

GROWING UP IN LANIKAI, THE OCEAN WAS JOHN AND JIM FOTI’S PLAYGROUND — AND IT STLLL IS

Frank, John, Jim and Kathy Foti grew up with saltwater running through their veins, or at least it seemed that way.

The Foti children were raised just a stone’s throw away from Lanikai Beach, where paddling and surfing were part of everyday life. As far as they knew, the ocean was their playground and surfboards, paddles and canoes were their toys.

“You go down the beach and there’s Lanikai Canoe Club,” says Jim. “My brother John used to say, ‘Didn’t everybody grow up with a canoe club across the street from their home?'”

Dr. Philip Foti and wife Mollie introduced paddling to their children early in life. Philip even built a three-man plywood canoe for the family to enjoy. Who knew it would be a training vessel that would forever change Jim and John’s lives?

“I don’t even remember it, but I guess we all learned to steer in it,” laughs Jim. “Then, in 1975, we got our yellow four-man canoe. It was the best toy the family ever had!”

The sport was ingrained in the Foti children, especially young John and Jim. It didn’t take long for the world to learn the brothers had God-given talent.

“I was John’s wingman!” says Jim with great pride. “He was so good at what he did, and that’s why I enjoyed success, too. It wasn’t a choice. Yet, it wasn’t forced on us. We learned early that, ‘Hey, we’re pretty good at this!'”

John, Joey and Jim Foti paddle b the Mokes

Kanaka Ikaika is born

At about the same time, another paddler from Windward Oahu was busy being a pioneer. Dr. Dale Adams wanted to prove that a solo paddler could cross the treacherous and unpredictable Kaiwi Channel. In 1976, history was made when Adams completed the first known crossing from Molokai to Oahu in a kayak in just under eight hours.

“I was credited with winning the first race, but I was the only one in it so it wasn’t a race,” laughs Adams. “It wasn’t a race until the next year when we had three of us in it!”

The following year, Dean Hayward and Jorgen Hansen joined Adams on Molokai.

“When we appeared on Molokai with the first kayaks, people didn’t know what they were,” says Adams. “Nobody thought we could do it. It aroused suspicions that we were crazy and there was a lot of doubt, to say the least, that we could cross the channel.”

The trio took off near Ilio Point and raced across Kaiwi Channel, finishing at the bridge at Hawaii Kai. Hayward finished first, followed by Hansen and then Adams.

Thus, Kanaka Ikaika Racing Association (KIRA) officially was born.

In 1978, in the second annual Kanaka Ikaika Molokai to Oahu race, Kailua’s Kalai Handley finished first in a time of 5 hours and 35 minutes.

A year later, the event saw a huge increase in participation with 20 paddlers, including three one-man canoes (OC-1) paddled by Tommy Holmes, Dale Hope and Paul Gay.

Adams visualized great things for a racing series and came to the beach with what some considered out-of the-canoe ideas.

Hanalei 1995 — fastest mile split 6:41 — (from left) Bobby Nottage, Mike Pedersen, Bo Eastabrooks, Jim Foti, Rich Lambert and John Foti PHOTOS COURTESY FOTI FAMILY

“I wanted to model it after the Tour de France, and we would have a colored jersey for the winner leading the series, but people didn’t buy into that,” says the now-73-year-old Adams. “What we did agree on was making it a worldwide event. I envisioned it being successful. I would not have started if I didn’t have high hopes.”

High hopes, high goals, high success

OC-1s were taking the Pacific Ocean by storm. It seemed like every day someone was trading in a kayak for an OC-1. Jim remembers seeing one at the 1989 State Canoe Racing Championships that left a lasting impression.

“Walter Guild (Outrigger Canoe Club) came out with his first one-man,” he recalls. “The Horizon was about 26 feet long, straight and narrow. He’d been to Tahiti and had scoped out what was going on down there, and he busted it out at states. I said, ‘Oh, my god, this is the coolest thing since like sliced cheese!’ I had to get one!”

In 1992, Jim and John Foti joined the party — and the sport would never be the same.

“My brother and I bought a one-man with my mom,” recalls Jim. “It was $1,600 and we split it. I remember the first race was the Kalakaua Regatta. I pulled up at the starting line and looked around. I did that race and I won! I said, ‘Wow, really?'”

Jim would win the next race as well. Then he and his brother teamed to win the Kaiwi Relay.

“After that we said, ‘OK, we’re players in this,'” he says.

Jim Foti at the 1982 Kailua regatta boys 16. He won first place

The Foti brothers dominated the local circuit, winning race after race after race. In 1993, there were about a dozen OC-1 races, and every week it seemed like a Foti was at the top of the leaderboard.

Karel Tresnak, a former Olympic whitewater canoe-ist from Czechoslovakia, who was coaching the men of Lanikai Canoe Club at the time, recognized the opportunity to raise his club to another level and jumped into the OC-1 building game in the mid-’90s.

“Karel thought it was a great training tool, and he was right, and that turned our program around,” says Jim. “We (Lanikai Canoe Club) went from barely winning to winning the Senior Men races at regattas and then the Molokai Hoe in 1995.”

It was the start of a historical winning streak of Senior Men victories that would span decades. Lanikai’s Molokai Hoe victory in ’95 was the first of five titles for the club, with Jim sitting in the steering seat in all five. He quickly had become the elite of the elite, amassing more victories in Hawaii than any other steersman in the history of the sport.

Double-edged sword

But with success came high expectations. While the victories were sweet, they came at a cost.

“The introduction of the OC-1s meant year-round paddling,” says Jim. “It was great for the club’s success, but it was also a double-edged sword. Once we got serious, we had to paddle year-round to stay at a high level. Next thing you know, you’re not surfing and you’re not playing soccer anymore. But there were no regrets. None!”

Dr. Philip and Mollie Foti with Kathy, John, Jim and Frank in earlier days at home in Lanikai

Jim not only was successful as a competitor on the Kanaka Ikaika circuit, he also was a sponsor.

“In the mid-’90s I got involved on the sponsor side while importing Hinano beer,” he says. “I saw it as a vessel to help promote what I was doing, and that would help me later understanding what a sponsor wants and needs.”

By the end of the ’90s, OC-1s eclipsed surf skis, and Lanikai Canoe Club was on top of the paddling world.

“Worldwide surf skis were still a bigger sport, but here in Hawaii, OC-1s took off,” says Jim. “They were closer to old Hawaiian canoes and also easier to start up on.”

But despite the OC-1’s growing popularity, KIRA race numbers were dropping. At one point, the organization was hanging on by a thread. From a 14-race series it had dwindled to only two events. The void opened holes in the schedule and other organizations sprung up to put on races. KIRA also had given away the crown jewel, the Molokai-to-Oahu solo race.

“It hit the skids for a few years; some would call it growing pains,” says Adams. “It was evolving as it should, that’s just the way things work, but it wasn’t evolving in the right way.”

Taking the steering blade and paddling forward

In 2010, Jim and wife Joey came back to the organization to lend a hand. They helped create new racecourses and started serving tasty lunches at post-race events.

They wanted to make a difference and they’d get that chance three years later, when they were offered the opportunity to steer the organization into the future.

“Everything goes in cycles, it ebbs and flows,” says Jim. “There’s not a lot of financial benefit for anybody running these things. You do it for the paddlers, and we wanted to give back to a sport that has given our family so much. Kanaka Ikaika was kind of waning there for a period, and a lot of races were abandoned.”

Jim wanted to change that and focused on increasing sponsor support for KIRA, with a goal of offering more quality events. They started the restructuring by converting the organization to a 501(c) (3) so it could accept tax-deductible donations, grants and sponsorships.

They also brought back the Molokai-to-Oahu solo race.

“Molokai is on everyone’s bucket list — it’s the jewel of all races and it’s so prestigious,” says Jim. “It’s still important. Our first goal was to right the ship and bring in more support. We knew we couldn’t do it without sponsors.”

The owner of Scott Hawaii was the first to respond.

“They didn’t hesitate,” recalls Jim. “They jumped right in and said, ‘How can we help the sport and help you guys?'”

They also rebranded KIRA’s logo and opened up races to other paddling disciplines.

“How can you deny the popularity of stand-up paddling (SUP) and lay-down paddleboarding?” he says. “We really encouraged it, which brought in another big sponsor, Maui Jim!”

The moves resulted in more races and an increase in exposure and credibility in the water sports community. Kanaka Ikaika now offers prize money, and, for the first time ever, television coverage.

“Since Jim and his wife have taken it over, they’ve been putting on a great show,” says Adams.

“Joey is my rock and there’s no way I can do all this alone,” says Jim. “I’m out there on the surface talking to sponsors and doing interviews, but it takes a team and a solid one at the top. She’s at the top.”

Jim says his wife also has brought refreshing ideas to the table, as well, creating a special event for women only.

“Na Wahine Ikaika had 130 women lining up at the starting line last year,” says Jim. “When the women looked to the right, left and behind them, they saw only women. It was a huge success and it’s only going to get bigger and better.

“She’s the wind beneath my wings!”

Celebrating 40 years that started with a dream

On May 29, Kanaka Ikaika will celebrate 40 years since Adams’ first kayak crossing from Molokai to Oahu. Maui Jim Molokai Challenge has increased the OC-1 purse to make the 2016 prize money equal to the surf skis’ — $2,000 for first place in both surf ski solo and OC-1 solo across the line.

Ocean Paddler TV will provide race coverage. Jim encourages everyone to follow it on Facebook at Ocean-PaddlerTV, on Vimeo.com or through OC-16 at oc16.tv.

“Dr. Adams wanted to conquer the channel alone and went out there with a dream and made it happen,” he says. “What he did and all those behind him who kept it together through thick and thin, ups and downs, and today it’s still a gem! The process has been a real challenge, but we are looking toward the future and are here to take the torch for the next generation of paddlers. We believe we have set KIRA on a course that will keep it vital for years to come!”

It helps when one of the world’s greatest steersmen of all time is charting the course. The story keeps growing.

For more information on the organization, visit kanakaikaika.com.

PHOTOS BY BODIE COLLINS

 

Molokai---Who Ya Got?

Current list of registered racers:

http://www.kanakaikaika.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Register-list-2016-May22.pdf

Wind outlook:

http://www.swellinfo.com/surf-forecast/sandy-beach-oahu-hawaii

https://www.windyty.com/21.285/-157.674?21.285,-158.251,9

Three days out and the wind looks to be generally unfavorable.  Unless the god of the wind, changes his mind, racers will have their work cut out for them this Sunday.

 

Bearing this in mind, here are our picks for the top five:

 

1. Sean Rice

2. Cory Hill

3. Jasper Mocke

4. Hank McGregor

5. Clint Robinson

 

Here's why:

 

32 miles out in the open ocean is not your average trip down the creek.  At these distances, an entirely new dynamic is at work. This is a war of attrition. It’s all about how much tenacity you can withdraw while in the pain cave.  Ultra-marathon distances require something special from competitors. You don’t show up for just another day in the office for this caliber of a gruel-fest. The bigger guys are going to suffer more. Ever see a big Kenyan win the New York marathon? Not likely.  Even the generally bigger ski paddlers often arrive at Molokai trimmed down for battle.

 

The top five picks are mostly interchangeable. All are dangerous, proven winners. Ultimately, it comes down to who wants it the most---and that’s where it get’s interesting.

 

Sean Rice: In spite of being one of the most successful racers over the past few years, a win in the big show has so far eluded Rice---and he knows it.  He’s hungry for it and has been eyeballing it like a border collie looks at a tennis ball.  Sean is a big guy, but his weight is down and the svelte version will be a handful in this war of attrition.  In spite of his travelling, he has been vigilant about getting on the water for his sessions. Make no mistake, Rice is all-in for this one.

 

Cory Hill:  Hill has been on fire.  He knows how to win at Molokai as well after breaking into a very select winner’s circle last year.  If he shows up at the start, you can believe he’ll be on the podium if not the top step.  Whatever his magical formula to win has been, he has clearly found something that works.  An adage I’ve found to be true is that once you experience a win, you develop a taste for it, and anything less is first loser.  Hill has a taste for it and will be hard to beat come race day.

 

Jasper Mocke: Having a breakout of his own a few years back, Mocke has been putting in high volume sessions in preparation for 2016.  These types of sessions often leave a competitor in one of two states: honed and ready to go or depleted and overtrained.  My guess is that an experienced paddler such as Mocke, knows his body well enough to not show up in the latter condition. A win in Molokai has also so far remained absent for Jasper as well, he’ll be ready to leave it all out there in the middle of the Pacific to get past the others.    

 

Cory Hill, Clint Robinson, Hank Mcgregor, Michael Booth and Sean Rice

Hank McGregor:  One of the most decorated and well established surfski racers ever!  What more can you say? He’s won it all at one time or another.  He never shows up come race day without being the top pick for the win. No exception here. However, is he as hungry on this day as the others?  Hard to say.  If he is, then he’s in for the top spot.  If not, he’s still good for a top five or even a top three.  Too much talent and hard work over the years not to be a threat overall.

 

Clint Robinson:  Similar to McGregor, always in for the top spot.  Has won it all. Extraordinarily strong paddler. You don’t beat a Greg Barton in his prime without being a powerhouse. Don’t let his age fool you.  He’s still the Man. Also similar to Mcgregor, if he’s hungry for it, he’s in for the top spot.



 

Others to Watch:

 

Oscar Chalupsky:  The man can read the water like nobody’s business. He knows how to win and stay in the mix. Yeah, he’s in his 50’s now, which I personally think has him more motivated.  Dangerous, especially if the wind is favorable.

 

Carter Johnson:  One of America’s best and has good experience in the rough.

 

Tom Schilperoort:  Strong Paddler with a good deal of experience and high finishes among top paddlers.

 

Herman Chalupsky: Former winner can mix it up with the best if them.   

 

Greg Barton: He's Greg Barton...

 

So, who ya got?

 

 

Rachel Clarke---Chasing Molokai

2014 Molokai winner Rachel Clarke has set her sights on winning in Hawaii this year and perhaps the next several.  She has set a personal goal to have the most wins of any female in the grueling channel crossing.

If her early season form is any indication, she may be off to a good start towards her goal. She has already taken a World Series win at the Aukland King of the Harbour against the formidable Teneale Hatton and has been putting in the work alongside coach and partner Sam Mayhew in the buildup.  

Rachel and Sam Mayhew

When looking at a list of her palmares, it's hard to doubt that she won't make good on her goal. Rachel has shown a determination throughout her competitive life as well as a wealth of natural physical ability---giving her a one up on her competition and making it clear that when she sets a goal, she is to be taken seriously.

Surf Lifesaving

SN: How did you get your start paddling and more specifically,the surf ski?

RC: I started Surf Life Saving from the age of 5 and really loved being in the water. I also did flatwater sprint kayaking & marathon paddling. I reached represented NZ in Surf Lifesaving at the World Champs and also Kayaking in the Youth Olympics & World Marathon Champs. About 6 years ago I started doing a local weekly race (about 7kms) and absolutely loved it! From then on I began racing in more of the distance ocean paddling races and haven't looked back!

SN: Boat/Paddle/degree offset?

RC:  I paddle the Epic V10L and also have been paddling the V14 a bit lately as well! I paddle with the Bennett, Braca XI, XS min with a 40% pink carbon shaft with a 65 degree offset.

SN:  Surf Lifesaving Club?

RC:  I belong to Mairangi Bay SLSC which is situated on Auckland's North Shore.
I have been in the NZ Police Force for 5 1/2 years! it’s a great career and you can count on every day being different!

SN:  You seem to have taken a special interest in Molokai, and have stated your intention of garnering the most wins of any female (currently standing at 5 by Kelly Fey). What about this race motivates you to take on such an endeavor?

RC:  Yeah I guess in 2014 when I finished Molokai I thought I'd never race it again haha. But had a good think about it and it would be an awesome goal to be the female with the most Molokai wins! What motivates me about Molokai is it’s probably the most prestige surf sky races of all time, it’s not an easy race and it takes guts, determination, and belief to be about to race it. It’s the greatest feeling crossing that finish line and I don’t think any race can beat it.

SN:  How would you describe your first experience at the Molokai crossing?

RC:  My first Molokai crossing I had no idea what I was in for. I had heard a lot about the race and the different conditions it could be. I went into it with no expectations but I'm the type of person who goes out to win not to come 2nd. 2014 was a great crossing, not much wind or swell and very hot!

SN:  Is winning in Hawaii your primary competitive goal for the year or part of a bigger picture?

RC:  This year I would really like to push myself to the limits and see what I can achieve working towards the 2017 World Champs in Hong Kong but to win Molokai is definitely one of goals this year.

SN:  What has your weekly training looked like in preparation?

RC:  My weekly training is a bit all over the show due to full-time shift work. I sit down with my Partner/ Coach Sam Mayhew each week and plan out each day.

SN:  Do you have difficulty finding time to productively train at an elite level and manage a full-time job?

RC:  It’s definitely tough fitting it all in but the bonus with shift work is you can train in the day before a shift and vice versa. If you really want to make it work you will find the time!

SN:  How do you see the current state of women’s surfski racing in international events?  What about in comparison to Molokai?   

RC:  I think there are more and more females getting into the international racing scene and it’s so great to see. it would be so great to see more females at Molokai so we can give the men a run for their money!

SN: Good luck and best wishes down the road!

RC: Thank you!

Excerpt from Rachel's Blog

Maui Jim Molokai World Champs

The Molokai World Champs is a 52km paddle from the island of Molokai across the ‘Channel of Bones’ to the land of Oahu. This channel is known to be one of the World’s most dangerous channels due to its large swells, winds, currents and no land for miles! In 2014 I went into Molokai with no real expectations of how I would perform, it was by far the longest race I would have done and I really had no idea or what to expect. Don’t get me wrong I wanted to win, it’s in my nature and I don’t accept anything less from myself. 2014 Molokai took me 4hrs and 33minutes and I came home with the win (11 minutes ahead of the next female). After the race I thought to myself no way am I ever doing that again… I had blisters on my hands I couldn’t count for and was in a world of pain.

2 years later and I’m back…. about a year ago I thought to myself I want to be the female with the most Molokai win’s… I want to break the Molokai female race record!

Over the past 6 months training has been pretty intense.. Luckly my awesome Partner & Coach Sam Mayhew and I had sat down every week and planned the sessions to work in with my shift work. Long paddles up to 4 1/2 hours, 5KM Time Trials, and intense threshold sessions were among them as well as recovery sessions. After King of The Harbour I knew I was in the right place, I was fit, healthy and just needed to maintain this and increase the distance paddles. Unfortunately a week ago I was hit with some sort of virus/cold.. This is not the optimum preparation I would have wanted but it may not be the worst thing for me having a long taper!

With Molokai approaching fast and race date in just over a week the nerves are starting to kick in! I am not one to really show my nerves and let other people know how nervous I get I just seem to keep it to myself! Nerves are different and handled differently by everyone.. I’ve always been one to get pretty nervous event to the point of when I was younger I used to be sick before racing. Thankfully I’ve learned to control it! I believe some nerves are a good thing.. if you don’t have any then your not in the right frame of mind..

On Tuesday morning Sam and I fly out to Hawaii where we will have a couple of training runs before the race on Sunday just to make sure the ski is set up correctly and to get used to the wind & swells. As well as a couple of recovery days and some light paced sight seeing!

Be sure to check out my Facebook page for updates in Hawaii!

I would like to say a huge thank you to all my sponsors, family & friends for all that you do for me and helping me get here! Epic Kayaks, Vaikobi, Pita pit NZ, Balance Sports Nutrition SOS Rehydrate, AUT Millennium, Orewa Massage Worx

Happy Paddling!

You can keep up with Rachel here: http://rachelclarke.co.nz/ 

HIGHLIGHT RESULTS

2016:

1st – NZ Surf Ski Queen of the Harbour 26km (NZ champs & World Series Race)

2015:

1st – NZ Surf Ski Queen of the Harbour 26km (NZ champs & World Series Race)

1st – West Coast Downwinder (World Series Race)

3rd – North American Surf Ski Champs 25km (World Series Race)

3rd – US Surf Ski Champs 23km (World Series Race)

3rd – ICF World Surf Ski Champs – Tahiti

3rd – Perth Doctor (World Series Race)

2014:

1st – NZ Surf Ski Queen of the Harbour 26km (NZ champs)

1st – Molokai Surf Ski World Champs 52km

1st – “20 Beaches” – Australian Surf Ski Champs 20km

1st – ‘The Doctor’ Surf Ski 27km (World Series Race)

1st – NZ Kayak Nationals – 5km

1st – NZ Surf Life Saving Nationals – Tube Rescue

3rd – NZ Surf Life Saving Nationals – Single Ski

Surf Life Saving World Champs Squad Member

NZ Police Sports Person of the Year

2013:

1st – NZ Surf Ski Queen of the Harbour 26km (NZ champs)

2nd – NZ Surf Life Saving Nationals – Ski Relay

3rd – NZ Surf Life Saving Nationals – Double Ski

2010 Surf Lifesaving World Champs Team

Former NZ Open Ironwomen winner

 

Speed Vs. Drama ---Peter Morgan

I suspect that I might be guilty of perpetuating a false notion that the fastest downwind runs only come from huge “Victory at Sea” conditions. While big grey seas and steep drops do make dramatic footage (I again beseech the viewer not to try to read any real narrative or source of instruction other then mood into my videos), the truth is that there are a myriad of factors that influence the overall speed of a run and running wave size is just one. Big steep waves make for big drops, and big drops make for high top speeds BUT a series of fast drops does not necessarily make for a fast average.

Take the two attached videos as an example. “4 Days in September” was shot over a period of two weeks of consistent 25-35 mph NE winds last September. It was filmed over four runs on what I call the “Lessner Funnel Run.” Starting from about three miles offshore to the NE of Cape Henry, this run begins in some of the deepest water of the lower Chesapeake Bay and runs SW straight into the Lessner inlet. On a good NE (or even better) ENE blow, open ocean swell runs uninfluenced by bottom contour directly into the shoals outside Lessner inlet. A paddler that can break out under the cape to the North and line up the running wind swell can ride ocean rollers from 45'+ deep waters through to where they stand up on the shoals. If timed on the flood, a paddler will then be sucked right through Lessner inlet by a strong current. Sounds fast right? It is, and scary, and FUN!! The run also makes compelling video. BUT the pretty, gentle run in the second video is one of the fastest downwinds I have ever managed. A good 1.5 mph average faster, it was filmed on one run in 16 mph West wind and max ebb current going in exactly the opposite direction, that is, straight out to sea, from shallow to deep water and in my heaviest boat. In my personal experience, the biggest hazard of what I call the “Can Run” is the fact that I have found myself so engrossed in the boat speed I was maintaining OVER a 3' incoming ground swell that it wasn’t until I spotted the snorkel of a nuclear submarine that realized I had gone well past the "Green Can" that marks the beginning of the offshore environment, and I was going to have a loooonnng upwind/current paddle back to terra-firma.

Driving boat and board on open water is a very nuanced endeavor. My crew knows that I could ramble on forever about the reasons why one run or one craft is faster then another on any given day. I am hardly good enough at it to offer more then a reflections on my own personal journey.

All this is to say that It would be remiss of me to allow anybody out there to come away from watching one of these films with the impression that putting together a good run requires the fortitude of a crazed hellman when in fact what it really takes is informed analysis, a precision application of power and the stoked enthusiasm of that grommet with the 5'4” thruster getting up before dawn to try to teach himself to surf in chilly but empty Hatteras first groin waves.

 

The energy is out there, but it takes allot of vision to see it then ...GET...ON...IT!

Read more from Peter Morgan at:  http://www.valkyriedownwind.com/

Oyster City Challenge

The race offered three route options: a three mile, six-mile and a 14.2-mile route.  I opted for the six because for me, much more than that this early in the year isn't racing; it's surviving.

For some reason, racers tend to gravitate to the longer events, but I was pleased to see that the six-mile version actually hosted higher numbers this year and had some solid competition.

The course started in Apalachicola and took us through the marshes to a tight turnaround and return back to the starting dock.

When the starting horn sounded, I purposely stayed off the gas with the idea of conserving until closer to the last mile or so, especially considering that we were going against a tidal current.  This is a real departure for me, as I generally jump off the line and then struggle the rest of the way to keep things moving. 

Rick Baker made the jump this time.  Taking off hot from the line with myself and John Mitchell settling in for the chase.

I had previously raced with Mitchell before and knew that he was a strong paddler with a background in Masters Sprint, so I opted to stay on him until late in the race.

We slowly caught Baker who abruptly slammed on the brakes, nearly causing Mitchell and myself to pile up.  We thought he had seen a formidable water hazard, maybe a gator or a shark, but apparently he had caught weeds on the front of the boat and was trying to dislodge them. Not sure if he realized how close he came to dislodging John and I as well.

After that near miss, Mitchell and I came around and started to put in some distance on Baker. We began to settle into a nice relaxed rhythm as we traveled through the marshes, enjoying the scenery along the way, including an ancient, large commercial fishing vessel in the late stages of decomposition. Apalachicola is a small town that traces it's origins to harvesting oysters and the seafood industry, it has more contemporarily become a tourist attraction for those preferring to take in "Old Florida" and the solitude of the beaches as opposed to the crowded areas in other sections of the Sunshine state.   

Fishing heritage intact 

Fishing heritage intact 

As we approached the turnaround, Mitchell called out something that I couldn't quite decipher. Next thing I knew, in a deja vu of earlier in the race, we were slamming on the brakes in order to bring our 21-foot boats to come to a complete stop and reroute ourselves around the turn buoy. I had wrongly assumed we were circling around with the marsh path.

This made for a bit of comedy as I narrowly avoided T-Boning his boat upon realizing a bit too late what was happening. We then began the hardest part of the race, turning a surfski on a dime in a tight section.

After that awkward endeavor was finally over, we set off for the remaining three miles towards the finish line.  John started to pick up the pace on the way back to assure that coming around would have to be earned.  As we approached the final mile, a large deep-sea fishing vessel pulled out directly in front of us. John and I got directly into it's wash and rode along for a few moments.  Eventually, the exhaust became too much to bear. I pulled to the left of the boat hoping for oxygen and seeking some purchase on the side wake.  I looked over and saw that John had taken the inside route of the boat wake closest to the shore.  It seemed to me to be a bit of mistake as it looked like he would have less room to negotiate.

As I eventually came around the boat, I saw John flying up the other side with a good fifteen yards on me pouring it on for the finish. By this point we had approximately half of a mile to go and my competition was charging hard for the line.  I put in everything I had to catch him but could not bridge up.

Important lesson learned; never trust a masters racer.  Those guys are slick.  Good race John Mitchell and thanks for the ride!

John took the overall, then myself and Pete Chaplin in second and third respectively. 

In the 14.2, Rick Carter took first, with Ted Burnell coming in seconds behind.  Shane Kleynhans finished in third.

William Schaet

William Schaet

Kata Dismukes finished first for the women in the 14 and came in fourth overall, with Dana Richardson in at second and Wyndy Amerson third.

Myrlene Marsa and Dana Richardson

Myrlene Marsa and Dana Richardson

CJ. Haynes took the win for women in the 10k, with Lyndsey O'Shea in second and Myrlene Marsa in at third.     

Thanks to Joe Vinson at Kayak Trader for putting the event together.  Looking forward to future installments!

Full Results:  https://paddleguru.com/races/KayakTraderOysterCityChallenge2016

Georgia Bulldog!

Georgia Bulldog!

Kata Dismukes

Rick Carter

Shane Kleynhans

Michael Herrin

Ted Burnell

Lindsey O'Shea,  Ralph Dismukes, Mark Poole, and Lynn Marie King

Cory Hill---The World Is Not Enough

chill1.jpg

2015 ICF World Surfski Champion Cory Hill has hovered near the front at the big races for the past few years, but hasn’t quite been able to deliver the knockout punch needed to take the top step.  

That all changed last year, as Hill notched an impressive 2015 with wins at Molokai, the Doctor and ICF Worlds in Tahiti. A feat made more impressive after being sidelined drop dead center of the summer with appendicitis.

We caught up with Hill to find out more about his surge to the top last year, and his plans for the future.

SN:     You’ve enjoyed some impressive breakout wins in 2015 and have already gotten 2016 off to a strong start at the Auckland King of the Harbour---can you attribute any change in your approach or training to your recent success?   

Molokai

Molokai

Cory Hill:  I don’t think I can say that there has been any dramatic change in my training schedule or sessions, but I do definitely approach each session differently now.   When I used to train, I would get so stressed and expect immediate results. For instance, if I had a bad training session I would get a bit cut up inside and think that it was a representation of how I was going to race.  I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture of what was causing the bad session---or accepting that sometimes you just have a bad day. I like being a little more unemotional about training and I think that has reflected positively in my racing

SN:        After last year’s Molokai, you were sidelined shortly afterwards with appendicitis but bounced back shortly after to win the Worlds and the Doctor; how long were you off the water and did it otherwise affect your plans for 2015?

Hill:  Yes, I had appendicitis in July last year. I was in Hawaii to do the Prone Molokai Paddle and woke up with a huge pain in my gut a couple of days before the race. Such a blessing in disguise, as it turns out as I was in need of a break and this forced me to take some time off and out of the water.  The wind was nonexistent for that race so I think my body knows me really well and pulled the pin on purpose. Hopefully it does something like this again next time there is no wind. After the time off I was itching to get back on the water.

In total I had about a month out of the water and when I came back it was a bit touchy but managed to do a couple of light paddles with the girls. From then it was back to business and when you have that goal close in mind it is amazing what your body can achieve. I was forced to train hard at each session to catch back up what I had lost in the month off. To a degree this may have helped me focus as sometimes it feels like you are continually training with no short term goals. We were really lucky to get good wind in both Worlds and the Doctor…… That was lucky.

Surf Lifesaving

Surf Lifesaving

SN:  You were initially involved with surf lifesaving and Ironman events, at what point did you decide to go with the Ocean Ski full on?

Hill:  I had another unfortunate incident like the appendicitis in December of 2012. I woke up one morning and had a really bad pain in my right foot, which like the appendicitis put me on the sideline for the best part of 2 months. It was quite painful to get back on a board and run and was sick of waking up in the morning to swim; so what better to do than switch to what I love? I love waking up and going to the beach rather than the black line of the pool. Since then there was still a lot of learning with how to train properly for one discipline. Initially, I thought I would just substitute the four swim sessions to ski sessions. I was quick to learn that that was going to make me more insane than putting the goggles on so I have now incorporated some running and core sessions to substitute.

SN:    Can you tell us a bit about your business venture with Michael Booth---Elva Sports?

Hill:   We have both gone to university and studied business to a degree. I have studied commerce and am currently in my final module before becoming a Chartered Accountant. We both like certain things about our paddlewear and thought why not produce a product that we love and see if others like it as much as we do. Watch this space, as soon enough we will have our paddlewear ready to go. I will be paddling in Elva Paddle Shorts in Molokai this year.

SN:    You’ve made the switch from Epic to Fenn boats during the past year. How have you found the transition?

Hill:  I was always happy on Epic and really owe the guys there a lot for their confidence in me and support they gave me over the start of my career. Dean Gardiner one day told me that he had a boat that he thought was going to be perfect for somebody built like me. To this day I don’t know if he was just trying to get me across to Fenn for my good looks and banter or if he genuinely thought the boat was going to be good for me. Either way he was right and my first international race on the S was Molokai last year. I spend a lot of time on my Interceptor Spec ski so I don’t find the transition too difficult most of the time. The S really does surf well and I love how comfy it is, so that made life much easier.

SN:   What Is a typical training week like for you?

Hill:  I do a lot of surf lifesaving training during the summer which is more of your sprint type training and intervals. I have incorporated two run sessions into my schedule this year and make myself do a little bit of core. I really don’t like planning sessions in with pen and sticking to it as that isn’t very often what happens in the ocean. If I rock up to training and it is windy, I will generally do a much larger session than if it is flat. I am never going to do a 20x2min session if it is windy. Likewise, I am never going to do a paddle back in the flat. I think that is the key to longevity in sport---Enjoyment.


SN:   Paddle brand and offset?

Hill:  I paddle with a Bennett, Braca Eleven s min, 40% Carbon Pink Shaft with approximately 63-65 degree offset. Quite a mouthful.

SN:     What are your goals for 2016?  .

Hill:  I would love to stay at the top in 2016 and win the races I did in 2015. Regaining some of those titles would be amazing. Mauritius is definitely one to tick off also.

To be honest I really want to race competitively, continue to surprise myself and learn new skills in the ocean and be able to have a beer with my mates afterwards. That is the reason I got into sport and I never want to become a person that is driven by results. The day I am angry about a result is the day I need to have some time out.

SN:     Surf lifesaving club and paddling partners?

Hill:  I am a part of Northcliffe Surf Life Saving Club. Lucky enough to train with Michael Booth, Mackenzie Hynard, Shannon Eckstein, Caine Eckstein and Nick Gale among all the other boys at the club. We have some serious competitors there and making teams is quite hard but it is amazing to train among the best in the business.

SN:   Best moment on the ski to date (race or otherwise)

Hill:  I would have to say Molokai was the greatest feeling. I have read about and idolized the Dean Gardiners of the sport for years. To have my name on the list of winners is very humbling. And it was my first international win. To then go on to win the Doctor and Worlds in Tahiti was so unexpected. I had the belief all of a sudden that I could win a race but for everything to fall into place in a six-month period was very cool.

I also have many other moments on the ski other than races. There is no place I would rather be than in the middle of the ocean. Sometimes myself and Boothy will do a paddle back and not see each other for an hour and come in on the same wave. Crazy.

SN:   Any close calls or harrowing moments?

Hill:  I have been relatively lucky in my paddling career. I haven’t really had a snapped rudder out deep or been cleaned up too bad. Perhaps just a couple of bad wipe outs but that is all fun and games. I have started to paddle with my phone recently just in case something bad does happen.

SN:   With Molokai right around the corner, who do you see as your biggest threat

Hill: It looks like it is going to be a big year over there again. I don’t like to look too much into who I have to beat rather than what I need to do to be the best and most prepared I can be. I think Sean Rice, Hank McGregor, The Mockes, Dean Gardiner are all going to be there. Love racing with all of them.

Featured Race---Oyster City Challenge

The Kayak Trader Oyster City Challenge kicks off the Southeast Paddlesports Series down in Apalachicola, Florida. 

The second running of the race features  3, 6 and 14.2 mile route options that begin at the coastal township and meander through the marshes before returning back to the start/finish.

The race takes part alongside the Forgotten Coast Paddle Jam kayak festival. You can check out the activities here.

 The Apalachicola area is part of "Old Florida" and is relatively undeveloped in comparison with other regions of the Sunshine State, making the trip down a peaceful option for time away from more congested areas; perfect for enjoying some beers and fresh seafood.

 From the website:

Kayak Trader aims to introduce and expand the sport of kayaking to people all around the country. We hope that by providing a platform based on the common interest of paddling, we will be able to reach countless paddlers looking to explore the waters of the United States through canoeing and kayaking. We are very excited to be a part of the Forgotten Coast Paddle Jam 2016! For more info go to www.paddle2love.com 

Hotel info: http://www.paddle2love.com/lodging.html

  • There will be prizes awarded to each category 3 places deep.
  • Pre RegistrationFriday - May 20- 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM                                                          
  • Registration Saturday -May 21- starts at 7:30 AM ends 9:00 AM
  • 14 Mile race will begin at 10:00 AM others soon afterward
  • Awards around 2 PM. 
  • After Party at Bowery Station 5 PM until? Live Music and trade your bib number for a free beer!

Race Categories

THERE ARE THREE DISTANCES  TO CHOOSE FROM, 5k,10k or 22.5k (14 miles)

 

THE 14 MILE RACE COURSE COULD CHANGE DUE TO CONDITIONS! BACKUP OPTION WOULD BE TWO LOOPS ON 6 MILE COURSE FOR 12 MILES. CONDITIONS WILL BE EVALUATED THE MORNING OF THE RACE.

Race categories are based primarily on the sound rowers system of length and width ratio which is a very equitable method of grouping paddlers by boat type. You can learn more here and even look up your own make and model to find your category.

High Performance Kayaks/Open class – This is almost all 18+ ft long kayaks (depending on width) plus some shorter boats like ICF K1′s and wildwater kayaks.

Fast Sea Kayak class – Too long or too narrow (or both) to fit into sea kayak class.  Too short or too wide for HPK.

Sea Kayak class - Starting at 14.1 ft in length up to approx. 16-17.5 ft in length depending on width. 

Rec class - This is anything at 14 ft or less in length, period.  No width data is needed.

Masters age group – Anyone 50 or over

Tandem – Any tandem canoe, kayak, or outrigger.

SUP - Open to all boards

 

https://paddleguru.com/races/KayakTraderOysterCityChallenge2016

http://www.sepseries.org/

Week In News

Jesse Lishchuk

Jesse Lishchuk

Team Think Paddler Jesse Lishchuk notched another win this past weekend at the Philadelphia Spring Regatta.  Lishchuk finished the 7.1 mile race with a time of 57:25. Craig Impens followed in second with Jeff Conly coming in at third.

 

Sean Brennan took overall honors at the Bay Bridge Race in Annapolis, Maryland, finishing the 9 mile course in 1:09.30.  Matt Nunnally and Eric Costanzo followed close behind at second and third.

 

Flavio Costa

Flavio Costa

Flavio Costa bested Rob Mirlenbrink and David Robertshaw to win the Florida Cup Race in St. Petersburg.


 

The Pan American Sprint Championships will take place this weekend at Lake Lanier Canoe and Kayak in Gainesville, Georgia. This will be be the final sorting race for the Americans hoping to make Olympic Selection. Come out and cheer on your athletes.

 

Also from the Sprint world, the final opportunity for European athletes to qualify for the Olympics will take place this weekend at Duisburg.  You can follow the stream here.

 

Can you feel it?  With just over one week to go, top ski paddlers are making final preparations in their bid to win the Molokai Surfski Race.  It’s too early for an accurate wind report, so it will be difficult to make predictions.  Here is the current line up:

 

 

 

USA Paddler Profile---Emily Wright

 

Discipline/Event: Canoe Sprint and Canoe Marathon; Kayak and Canoe
Hometown: Fairport, New York
Birthdate: 12/22/1986
Blog: emily-wright.blogspot.com
Website: www.emilywright.org
 

Career Highlights:

  • 2008 
    • US Olympic Trials, Oklahoma City, OK  (April 18-21) 
      • 1st in K2W 1000m
      • 2nd in K2W 500m
      • 2nd in K4W 500m
      • 2nd in K1W 1000m
      • 5th in K1W 500m
    • Pan-American Championships, Montreal, CAN(May 15-18)
      • 2nd in K2W 1000m
      • 4th in K4W 200m
    • Lake Placid International Regatta, Lake Placid, NY (July 5-6)
      • 1st in K2W 500m
      • 1st in K2W 1000m 
      • 3rd in K1W 500m
      • 3rd in K1W 1000m
    • US National Championships, Oklahoma City, OK (Aug 5-9)
      • 1st in K2W 1000m
      • 2nd in K1W 500m
      • 2nd in K1W 1000m
      • 2nd in K2W 500m
  • 2007 
    • Marathon Women's Kayak National Champion
    • Marathon Women's Canoe National Champion
  • 2005 
    • US Junior National Team Trials - Silver medalist
    • ICF Canoe Sprint Junior World Championships - 15th
    • ICF Marathon Junior World Championships - 12th
  • 2004 
    • ICF Marathon Junior World Championships - 16th

About:

Emily races canoes, kayaks, and [nordic] skis and is on the 2009 US National [flatwater] Kayak team. She lives at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego, CA.

Dam N Back Challenge --- Braxton Carter

At two years running, The Dam N Back is the newest race in South Dakota. Folks from Southeast South Dakota, Northwest Iowa and Northeast Nebraska have utilized it as a “cleaning out the garage” race as  Kayaks, canoes and gear start to awaken from hibernation with air temps starting to tease of Spring/Summer  and slabs of ice no longer a feature, drifting down the river. The race starts at Riverside Park in Yankton, South Dakota, the same as the starting line as the South Dakota Kayak Challenge.

 

The inaugural year of the Dam N Back race in 2015 raised a bit of concern for those eager to get on the water. Conditions were very mild and the water was by every means nippy as temperatures barely crept into the 50’s. Granted this may be a mere 10 miles to paddle, but a few twists are thrown into this race to spice things up.

 

This year was a complete 180 as Spring decided to knock on our door months ahead of time. Air temps were well into the 60’s and the water was on the rise closing in on the 60’s, making race day very welcoming and quite comfortable. The sun however was masked by the heavy smoke carried into the northern plains from the Canadian wildfires. I started my Saturday morning off by firing up the Weber grill with a snake of charcoal briquettes complimented with some soaked hickory chunks. Smoke billowed from the vent and beneath the lid of the grill after slapping the brisket on the grate but yet this was not enough to overwhelm the smog like appearance filling the sky from the wildfire smoke.

 

Once the brisket was set to fend for itself, I ventured down to Riverside park at 1pm to get ready for the race. Granted only 11 competitors were there to race, several others also joined the racers to mingle and support the efforts of one of our local race organizers, Jarett Bies. A handful of participants were there for their 2nd round of the Dam N Back while we saw a few newcomers as well. This was the first race for most individuals in the area since I was the only one to venture south for the Epic Shootout a few weeks prior. I felt as I was  well prepped for what the low water levels would throw my way this year and would have a nice advantage over my good friend and paddling rival, Matt Story.

 

When 2pm rolled around, the racers lined up near the bike path for the Lemans style start. Waiting anxiously, we stood there as the 2 pm start arrived--- but no sound of the gun firing, just a simple click….click….click. Finally Jarett yelled “Go” and we took off running 30 yards down the steep grade to where our boats were staged. I snapped into my leg leash and I was off. Surprisingly, I was the 2nd boat taking off. Roger Debates to my surprise managed to get situated in his kayak and was already on his way in 1st place by the time Matt and I pulled away from the shoreline.

Le Mans start

Le Mans start

 

I took off to get ahead but held back a bit knowing I would have to pace myself to hold the lead or stay with Matt. It wasn’t but a minute or so until Matt and I were paddling side by side going into the first bend as we worked our way up to the 5 mile turnaround point. We were neck and neck until we were about halfway to the turnaround point when we encountered the first batch of trees partially buried in the bed of the river. Branches were randomly poking out, forcing paddlers to choose their lines carefully as we tried simultaneously to avoid the sand bars. Matt cleared the first tree but got swept back to the right in the strong 4+ mph current in this particular area. I decided to take the same path but got swept sideways a bit quicker. I felt the stern of my boat start to swing out so I dug the paddle in hard to try and pull ahead but it was too late. I heard a clunk and I was instantly spun 180 degrees. Here I sat with the rudder caught in a V between a couple large branches in strong current. I tried digging the paddle in deeper to move to either side but nearly had the paddle pulled down with the strong downward force of the current being swept under the main body of the submerged tree. “Matt, I might need some help here,” I called out nervously feeling the boat wiggle a bit as the current churned my boat while the rudder remained locked into the tree. I turned and saw Matt having some trouble getting through the other trees and battling the current where he was so I knew it wasn’t possible nor would it be wise for him to try to make his way back into the strong current with the risk of being put in the same position.

 

I took a moment and considered my options….bail out to get my boat loose and risk getting swept under with the leash tangling in the log or to make another attempt paddling to get out. Thankfully I’ve practiced paddling in reverse to have some comfort and chose to dig the wing paddle in deep. With a couple quick strokes I felt the boat loosen a little before slamming forward again. “It would work” I thought to myself. I dug the paddle in rapidly and managed to maintain balance to keep the boat going in a straight line in reverse against the strong current. I pressed my left toes forward immediately and felt the rear of the boat kick sideways and come free of the branch. I let the paddle scratch the surface of the water as I once again was spun 180 degrees facing up river again. I was relieved to be out of that sticky situation and making my way up river again.

 

Matt gained some ground on me while I was stuck but over the next couple miles going up river, I was able to recover some of the distance between us when he got caught on a sand bar. I couldn’t help but wish that he would be stuck waddling with a leg on each side of his ski for a few minutes to get back in deeper water but that only lasted a brief moment. It was still enough to make up a hundred yards or so with a strong sprint.

 

By the time Matt reached the turn around, I closed the gap to a couple hundred yards. I saw how he approached the turnaround grabbing the token and swung in at a different angle for a smoother turn around. I I dug in hard with a sprint closing the gap to about a hundred yards at this time. I thought I had him until he reached the channel on the opposite side of the river as he once again put more distance between us.

 

We were nearly a quarter of the way back down the river when we passed Jake Riter in 3rd place. At this time, the wind started picking up causing some chop around 12” with a hint of 2 to 3 foot wakes coming off the couple boats we passed. Thankfully I love such wakes being able to beam them comfortably which helped me close the gap again on Matt. We continued passing others still making their way upriver as we were now a couple miles away from the finish line. We smoothly made our way through the trees that were problematic on the way up. I knew this is where I would have to really pick up the pace to catch Matt. I dug in hard to pick up the pace but I was only making minimal progress as we approached the Highway 81 bridge. Once we hit the bridge, I pushed hard hoping to make him work for the win. I noticed his pace wasn’t changing much at this point so I felt the adrenaline building knowing there was still a chance. We were now at the small lookout pier, a mere couple hundred yards from the finish. I continued pushing knowing my chances of catching him faded as we approached the shore. Matt’s boat reached the shore as he grabbed his boat and started making his way up towards the finish. I saw him scrambling a bit, not realizing he dropped the token he needed to toss in the kayak to clock his finish time. As my boat was a couple feet from shore, I pulled my leg up to unclip the leash and swung my legs over to make for smooth exit. I lifted the boat and pulled it up on the shore as I pulled the token from my PFD. I darted for the finish bucket and tossed my token in a mere 15 seconds after Matt. We made our way up the shoreline carrying our boats up on the grass by the vehicles to get them cleaned up as we rested a bit, waiting for the next boat to come into sight and the remaining racers to follow over the next couple hours.

Matt and Braxton at the finish

Matt and Braxton at the finish

 

It was a great race having Matt Story there to once again make the race a strong push for one another,  resulting in an improvement of our own times. Matt did an awesome job taking the lead and winning the race with a time of just over 90 minutes beating the record I set last year at 95 minutes. Had we both not encountered the sticky situation going upriver, it would have been interesting to see how far we would have pushed one another on a dead sprint for the finish line knowing we would still have been neck and neck the whole way until one took off with the other duplicating the actions. As for now, it will be back to the weekly 5k times until we have our chance to duel again with the South Dakota Kayak Challenge in a couple weeks!

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Euro Challenge 2016 ---Chloe Bunnett

This is one of my favourite locations to travel to and race. Villajoyosa is great little town close to Alicante airport. Known for their famous Valor chocolate it is always a good trip.

The race was held on the first weekend in May and has been part of the World Cup Series for a good few years now. This year there is a new European Cup Series and The Eurochallenge was the first European Cup Race for 2016. I have been coming to this race since 2009 and it never disappoints. We might not always get the perfect downwind but the organisers really try their best to make the race on the best day and in the afternoon when (if there is any) the wind should be the best.

There was a strong line up this year and I wanted to better my second place from 2015. We arrived on the Tuesday before the race to make the most of the town and to settle in before the race. My Carbonology Sport Pulse was due to arrive the next day, so I just took the day to catch up with all the friends we have made here and from around the world. Great catching up with PaddleLife's Sean and Emily to hear about there travels. Go and check out where they will be this summer.

My Surfski arrived and it was awesome to get onto the water and get a feel for the area, the wind was good so it was a fun paddle. The race was due to run from Altea, 22km North, and we would finish right at the Nautic Club. Unfortunately on race day the wind didn't come through as the forecast had promised, so it was going to be a tough race. The start as always was fast and furious.......

The first few km's were basically a headwind battle until we rounded the headland, then the wind died completely leaving a glassy sloppy sea. Myself and Amaia Osaba raced hard to the headland, after there we were neck and neck exchanging leads all the way to Benidorm Island. We rounded the island and then there was a long 5km to the finish. We both fought hard to get ahead of one another and in the end Amaia got the edge and opened a small gap on me, in the last few km's I could not close it and she crossed the line for a well-deserved win. There is not much more I can say about the race, other than it was one of the best "battles" on the water I have had in a long time.
 

After the race the organisation puts on a huge paella, where we can all exchange war stories and listen to how everyone's race went. Thanks to the Nautic Club of La Vila Joiosa for a great event. I will be back next year once again.

 

Next up is the Canary Island Championships on the 21st of May 2016. Until then I will be training in Tenerife from Escuela de vela Los Cristianos

Thanks for the ongoing support.

Living Sea

Carbonology Sport

Knysna Racing

 

See you on the water.

Thanks to Chloe for providing the report.  

Source:  http://www.chloebunnett.com/

Canada Announces Sprint Team Selection After First Trials

 

OTTAWA, ON (May 11, 2016) – Following five days of competition at theCanadian Sprint Team Trials in Gainesville, Georgia, Canoe Kayak Canada is pleased name athletes to teams for the Olympic Games, Pan American Continental Qualifier, World Cup, Under 23 European Tour, Pan American Championships World University Championships and CANAMEX.

Two athletes have been selected for nomination to the Canadian Olympic Team based on quota spots that were qualified last year at the 2015 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships. There is the potential to qualify up to eight additional athlete quota spots at the Pan American Continental Qualifier taking place on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia on May 19–20.

“The road to the Olympic Games is a long and challenging one,” said Scott Logan, Canoe Kayak Canada’s High Performance Director. “Some athletes are well on their way, some have additional qualification races, and for others who have been named to various teams, this is part of a long-term pathway to excellence.”

The trials were also used to make recommendations for Sport Canada’s Athlete Assistance program for the period of May to October 2016. Carding nominations will be published soon.

 

Olympic Team

August 15 – 20 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

(to date, potential to qualify additional athletes)

Athlete Event Hometown Club Coach

Mark de JongeMen’s K1 200m Halifax, NS Maskwa Frédéric Jobin

Émilie Fournel Women’s K1 500m Montréal, QCLachine Frédéric Jobin

 

 

Pan American Continental Qualifier

May 19 – 20 – Gainesville, Georgia, USA

Athlete Event Hometown Club Coach

Adam van Koeverden Men’s K1 1000m Oakville, ON Burloak Scott Oldershaw

Marshall HughesMen’s K2 1000mWaverley, NSCheema Chad Brooks / Mike Kerrivan

Pierre-Luc PoulinMen’s K2 1000m Lac Beauport, QCLac-Beauport Chad Brooks / Luc Grenier

Ryan CochraneMen’s K2 200m Windsor, NS Lac Beauport Frédéric Jobin

Étienne Morneau Men’s K2 200m Québec, QCLac Beauport Frédéric Jobin

Andréanne LangloisWomen’s K1 200m Québec, QCTrois-RivièresFrédéric Jobin

Genevieve OrtonWomen’s K2 500m Lake Echo, NSOrendaMike Kerrivan / Peter Martinek

Kathleen (KC) FraserWomen’s K2 500mOakville, ONBalmy BeachPeter Martinek

Mark OldershawMen’s C1 1000mBurlington, ONBurloakScott Oldershaw

Ben TardioliMen’s C1 200mOttawa, ONRideauRob Stott

Paul BryantMen’s C2 1000mRichmond Hill, ONBurloakScott Oldershaw / Laszlo (Csom) Latorovszki

Roland VargaMen’s C2 1000mRichmond Hill, ONRichmond HillScott Oldershaw / Laszlo (Csom) Latorovszki

Source:  http://canoekayak.ca/

 

 

De Jonge Qualifies For Rio

GAINESVILLE, GEORGIA, USA (May 7, 2016) – Two-time World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist Mark de Jonge has qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Today he won the Men’s K1 200m final at Canadian Sprint National Team Trials on Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia, USA.

“Everything is going to plan and especially early in the season it’s encouraging to have a good race and know that everything is starting off well,” said de Jonge. “I’ve got a few races ahead to tune and tweak things and I’ve got big goals for Rio.”

de Jonge won today’s race by 0.84 of a second. Alex Scott (Bedford, NS) was second and Étienne Morneau (Québec, QC) was third. With de Jonge’s status as the current World Champion, he only needed the one win to seal the deal while most selections races are a best two out of three format.

Since earning an Olympic bronze medal in 2012, de Jonge progressed to a silver at Worlds in 2013, followed by two straight gold medals at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. He will compete at three World Cups in Europe on consecutive weekends beginning May 21.

In the Women’s K2 500m, Michelle Russell (Fall River, NS) and Madeline Schmidt (Ottawa, ON) paired up to take the first win. A second final will take place tomorrow morning at 9:30 EST with a potential race-off in the afternoon if the winning crew is different.

Russell qualified the quota spot for Canada in the Women’s K1 500m last year at World Championships but she was beat out for the K1 Olympic entry by Émilie Fournel this week. Russell is not eligible to compete at the Continental Qualifier because she has already on the books as having qualified a quota. If she and Schmidt win tomorrow, another crew will need to qualify to K2 quotas at Continental Qualifiers. The K2 Olympic entry would then come down to a race-off at National Team Trials 2 in Montreal from June 24-26. Schmidt is a 2013 Junior World medalist.

Additional races were held in the Men’s K1 1000m and Men’s C1 1000m to assess Sport Canada carding and additional selection opportunities. Angus Mortimer (Ottawa, ON) won the Men’s K1 1000m and Ben Russell (Dartmouth, NS) won the Men’s C1 1000m. In addition to the Olympic qualification process, the trials are also being used to select teams for World Cups, Under 23 European Tour, Pan American Championships (U23), and first assessments for U23 World Championships. For many of these events, multiple athletes can be nominated based on the achievement of various performance standards.

Source: http://canoekayak.ca/mark-de-jonge-joins-the-team-for-rio/