Sep 2, 2012

Back on Local Turf and Loving it! Oceanman and Vancouver SUP Challenge

Great weekend down at Jericho Beach...

This year although I wanted to race the entire oceanman solo style and this race is totally up my alley I felt too scattered to enter the entire oceanman on my own,.  I don't feel comfortable driving our car in the city nor did I feel it right for Andrew to drive me across town, I had no wetsuit nor surfski organized for the race AND hadn't been swimming or surf skiing in a long while...These were my excuses for not racing the oceanman solo... Luckily, Shannon asking me to SUP for team Maui Jim (defending ladies champs) kind of sealed the deal for me to just hit up the relay race and enjoy a laid back team atmosphere.

Its always a long day when you are the last leg of any kind of relay team... Andrew and I were the last leg of a huge relay race in Comox Snow to Surf for a couple of years running and although you get the pleasure of running through the finish line you also get the pleasure of having little butterflies in your stomach for an unecessarily long period of time, and just hanging out waiting what seems for forever... Luckily, oceanman is not that long of a race and most of it is within eyesight and spectator friendly so being the last one to go wasn't soo bad in the end. The team was composed of Shannon who absolutely rocked the swim, Sheryl who put in a very solid paddle, Josie crushing the run, and then myself on the SUP. I got to paddle the Starboard Ace Pro Carbon 14foot by 25 inches board. It is so far my favorite 14foot board on the flattish waters. It is very light but still feels long for me as I am sooo used to paddling 12'6 long boards. I have to stand pretty far forward to get the best benefits of the board which always feels kind of funny to me. Anyways, I really like the feel of this board and was happy to race it for our team. The conditions were choppy but not as choppy as last year. We went out on a downwind round a bouy across a headwind, into the beach, with a little run around a bouy, back out in the headwind and home on a downwind. I managed to pass a couple of guys on the board which always makes me feel a little better:) I had a solid paddle. It was short (2km) and short is generally not my forte but I tried to hold on to my speed and power for the entire course. The longer boards are definitely a little tougher to turn but I am slowly getting the hang of it!

Basically we rocked it. We came in 6th overall and first for the women! Loved racing with the ladies!

Vancouver SUP Challenge

Team Starboard photo credit: Ian Hylands

We were blessed with sunshine, great water conditions, music, a very welcoming fun group of SUPers, and an enjoyable atmosphere for a race. Big shout out to Gary, Shanon, and crew for putting on a wonderful event. There was a ton of SUPin to be had in just over 5 hours....

 I started the day with talking/hugging/smiling with and catching up with people that I hadn't seen in over a year!

First event: 14ft race 4km
I was on the epoxy ace pro 14x25 Starboard Board.
A little crazy start. The time I am really nervous in SUP races is the start line.. The starts are sooo nerve racking with expensive boards, paddles, and lots of people aiming for the same area... It is always a little crazy and I am always just praying that I stay on my board and not in the water:) My start was alright here and I managed to get out in 4th place off the start. We rounded the first couple of bouys and I was out in front with the men... it felt good. After the bouy chaos we headed out into the headwind around an anchored barge. I managed to sneak in at 3rd overall before I stopped paying attention and just followed Norm to the WRONG pier.... OOPS.. no biggie in the end other than we paddled a little farther than most! It was great to paddle into my first win.

12'6ft 3km race
I was on Starboard BOP 12'6x26.5 carbon
This race was the most popular among the ladies and also had lots of paddlers in general. Here the battle was tougher and tighter. Shannon was right on my heels, Stu blasted out in front and Mike D managed to pull in a 5th among the men on an inflatable! I felt strong, things stayed exciting around the turns as people were spreading out and hence really there were people everywhere going in ALL directions. Some good hearted madness! Again I pushed hard, Declan was a great board handler and I managed to pull off a second win.

Kids Race
LOVE the kid races. Shannon, Nikki, and I helped out on the water and it was brilliant cheering and encouraging them throughout the paddle. I would love to get more involved with some more KID SUP events and opportunities!

12'6ft Sprints
I was on Starboard BOP 12'6x26.5 carbon
Sprints are my toughest, pushing hard form the start and the entire race is NOT what I am used to coming from an ultra endurance background for the last several years. I managed to pull ahead before the bouy turn and due to being out in front I managed to escape the one bouy turn chaos! YAY! Another first! Cruising into the beach felt great. My body was starting to feel the pain of pushing hard in 3 shorter races but I was totally riding the high mentally!

Team Relays
Mike D, Stu R, and me!
We race the Starboard Ace Pro Epoxy 14ft x 25
We destroyed (to put it mildly:)) FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE relay races, its just plain old madness out on the water and on the beach, the cheering, the change over with boards, LOVE!

I loved seeing old faces, meeting new ones, seeing how Vancouver/BC has built a really fun community of SUPers.... I am in love with SUP! The training BEGINS! Since leaving gymnastics back in 1998 I have not truly focused on one sport... I am a little nervous to miss out on friend events BUT I am stoked to see what I can do with my mind and body in this sport. I am excited to be part of this community and pushing the limits in different ways.

Gary you pulled off a great event! I had my doubts with so little time and so many races but it worked sooo well! Loved it!
Awesome ladies: Shannon, Nikki, Me photo credit: Ian Hylands

next race Round the Rock-Seattle.... bring it on!

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!


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