Jul 10, 2014

Do one thing every day that scares you. -Eleanor Roosevelt - The KOOTENAYS River SUP

Try something new. Chances are you'll enjoy it more than you think.

Team Nikki Rekman Sales photo by Mark Klein

This past weekend I got the amazing opportunity to get to the Kootenays for the second of the BC SUP CUP races but more importantly to experience something very new to me. I was excited, and nervous all at the same time. I was excited for the place we were heading, for meeting new people, and for trying something new. I was nervous as I wasn't sure if I could do it, didn't know the danger level and therefore was slightly nervous on the possibilities of injury. 

Mike Darbyshire from Deep Cove Canoe and kayaks and friend gave me a lift up to the Kootenays along with SUP friend Jen. We arrived to Endless Adventures on Friday early afternoon which happened to be just in time to go out for a "practice run" with Mike so he could learn the river for the courses.  Jen and I were lucky enough to be able to join him before we were going to take the course... sounds backwards but it was awesome. We were both slightly nervous but it turns out the upper Slocan is great for learning to river SUP on... fast moving with nicely spaced waves that are not too intimidating.

SUP River Clinic with Mike Darbyshire

Mike is a great teacher with tons of knowledge and has a way to keep you calm when you are feeling slightly nervous about what you are going to embark on. We learned the safety equipment required for river SUPing, which were kindly provided by Nikki Rekman Sales such as helmet (I loved the predator helmet I used), Kokatat PFD, Whistle, and I had a quick release leash on.  The water was deep enough for the possibility of a leash but if you do not have a quick release leash then you should not wear a leash on the river as it can be extremely dangerous on the river. I also enjoyed using the carve Werner paddle and got to try out different boards designed for the river. We learned the safety signals, how to ferry across the river, to move across eddy lines, to surf into a wave and try to surf it.... as well as paddle through some bigger rapids. I felt calmed and excited to learn in this course with Mike. THANKS for sharing your knowledge.
all geared up for the river photo by mark klein

mike teaching us the ways of the river photo by nikki rekman

Jen and I were hanging around Endless Adventures while we waited for Mike to run his second clinic. We lucked out with the chance to go down the lower Slocan in a raft with some of the staff. Jen and I were nervous at first but then realized how much fun it is.... I am so glad we got the opportunity to enjoy the lower Slocan with such a talented group of raft guides... couldnt have felt safer out there! OMG,  I am a little excited about rivers and SUPin them!!!!! 

SUP BC CUP Race #2 Racing on the Columbia River

Before the race I joined Andrea on her SUPniss class which was a blend f SUP fitness, SUP yoga and SUP Paddling technique It was really nice to stretch and move the body as well as calm the mind before racing down 17km of the Columbia River. 

Before the race we also got to participate in SPIN to WIN on a small little badfish river surfing board... it was so fun to watch and I think relaxed ppl before the race. Jen killed it with 12 turns and Matt with 13... Good spinning you two! 

The 17km Downriver Race

Prepping my board with OnIt Pro photo Mark Klein

Lead Pack going down the river photo credit?
Awesome fun!!! we got headwind, whirlpools, boils, rapids, some crazy eddy lines, fast moving water,.... It sure was an exciting "flat water race"... I had fun trying to chase down the top three men on my SIC 12'6XPRO.... I never caught them but at least they gave me a line to follow... I managed to sneak away with the overall women win and also stayed dry for the race... There were many close calls but I never went in:) 
FInished the downriver race... still dry! haha photo by Mark Klein

River SUP Cross

AMAZING! FUN! DIFFERENT! The FUTURE! The course was set on the hardest part of the upper Slocan river. It was the section on friday where I was nervous to venture down (but did).. now I had to make bouy turns down it?!?! I was quiet and nervous as the course was explained. The rapids looked bigger, the current stronger than Friday....
Luckily we all got to float down the course to ease the nerves and it totally DID. After the float I wasnt as anxious as before and just experienced the normal race nerves. Brilliant. The men got a semifinal heat and a final and the 5 ladies went down for a final heat. We got to watch the first 2 heats of the men which was a great learning opportunity. We got to see how it flowed with 4 ppl going down the course at higher speeds. THEN it was our turn. I was on the Boardworks 9ft Badfish which was a really great board for me, stable but quick enough, I had the Werner Carve paddle and of the course my kokatat pfd, predator helmet, and quick release leash. I had a good first buoy turn, then as I crossed the river to the second buoy something didn't go as planned and I landed a little too far down river of the buoy and had to do some upriver paddling, Jen hit it perfectly and squeezed by me. I was lucky though after the turn I found some fast moving water and regained the lead for the 3rd buoy, here Jen was on my tail but her fin got caught in the eddy line and flipped her, so I made a little break away. I was aiming hard for the upper waves but I got my angle of the board a little off and drifted a little below the buoy but did managed to stay upright where Jen went for an even more aggressive line but had a second fall which secured the win for me. It did show me that anything can happen out on the river course and the playing field is a lot more level which is soooo exciting. Awesome work to all the ladies who completed the course as well as the males. A big shout out to the men finals Mike D in first, then Norm Hann, Eli Fischbuch(who is 16yrs old) and 4th was Kevin O'Brien who found his competitive fire out on the river... Too awesome to watch... Can't wait for the next one! 
SUP cross ladies start photo by Kevin O'Brien

heading into the last buoy photo by mike grant
Jen and I at the last buoy photo by Mike Grant

SUP cross on the river photo by Scott Burton

Kalavida Kids Camp

I got the pleasure to run the Kalavida Surf Shop kids camp for three days. It was such a blast. We enjoyed the outdoors and the outdoors did not disappoint, we learned about safety, environment, different games, different movements on the SUP and had too much fun together. The kids rocked the camp and the other staff made it an unforgettable experience for all (including me). Thank you to the staff and the Kalavida Shop. Every kid should get out there on a SUP and explore the beautiful clean water we are blessed with here in BC! Can't wait for the next one! 
Doing our part for keeping kal beach blue: spelling the word BLUE! with garbage we found on the beach. We then put the garbage where it belongs (in the bin)
Next UP is Frisco Colorado where I join Season Five for the Summit Games. There will be tons to do from SUP triathlon, SUP racing, I totally want to try fly fishing.... AND I will be teaching several clinics as well!!!!!!! 
photo by mark klein

live, love, laugh,....DREAM!


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