Sep 27, 2014

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much"

"Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together."

Jermaie Vaine leading the morning stretch photo: Mike Muir
 The Paddle Academy run by Mike Eisert and Jaime Donnelly has been a new family for me here in SoCal. I have Braly Joy from SIC to thank for introducing me to Mike and Jaime and inviting me to the practices earlier in April. The paddle academy has brought close to 40 youngsters into the sport through fun, hard work, skill development, and community. They have created something very magical and I love being a part of it. There is a whole lot of amazing coaching, true camaraderie, really tough practices/insane workouts, amazing learning experiences, and open arms/non judgemental love no matter what you do and who you are. THANK YOU for taking me in with open arms and teaching me what you know:)))))
Coming in from an interval run photo: Mike Muir

leading the pack but not for long photo: Mike Muir

we all love sand running right?!? 

Jeramie giving me some pointers photo: Mike Muir

Mike, Jaime, and Ollie great coaches and extraordinary ppl

 Two amazing families have helped me out these past weeks while in SoCal training and racing. The Howson's (Harbour Surfboard) and the Russells. They have made my stay here so comfortable and memorable. They have gone out of their way to make sure I was happy, healthy, and feeling great. They have showed me around town, invited me to family functions, helped me get to training sessions, and fed me some pretty amazing meals. They are two families I will never forget and hope to stay in touch with for a long time yet. They have created an experience that surmounts winning any event; they created memories and moments that make me realize that following my passions and chasing my dreams was/is worth the hardships and the risks: because if I hadn't taken the chances to do this very thing I am doing,  I would not have met these amazing people and had unique and life changing moments:) THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Howson's opened their doors to me 

Jaime, Denise, Kelly and Ollie all ppl who have helped me along my journey

Pat and Daniel Russell opened their home to me

Learning from the best of the best in the surf Ian Cairns

Ian Cairns is a surfing legend and a fabulous coach. He is an expert in the surf zone; skilled, knowledgeable, and personable.  He is helping me with my weakness and my fears surrounding huge scary crashing waves:)  I am focused and ready to take on the challenges and can't wait to see the end result:) With Ian in my court I know I will learn and succeed! 

"Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together."

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!

Sep 22, 2014

World Series #4 Huntington Beach: Never give up

I had three choices this weekend... 1. A race where I stood a good chance of winning(race and cash) because it was a race I was good at 2. UK with my hubby OR 3. World Series SURF race (leading the world series but surf racing not my forte). I chose the surf race for a couple of reasons but knew there was a chance I would find hardship where the other choices had better chances of success...I definetly chose the hardest/riskiest choice and put myself outside my comfort zones where risk and emotional distress was possible. 

Day 1 The Sprints
Big Waves, rough beach break...swirly ocean.. the name of the game on Day 1
 In the sprints I found the hardship, I learned some things, was challenged, and had to accept defeat (good lesson but not as fun as winning:)) I didn't make the finals...AHHH.... It was hard but thanks to a solid group of people who supported me, I shook it past me,.... this stuff happens... its all in the name of racing:) Racers rocked it though and totally conquered the waves... I would stand on the start line and think"holy crap how am I ever gonna get past the first wave...hahaha BUT I did... 
Day 1 coming into the beach photo by Harry Wiewel

I have to thanks the Howson's (Harbour Surfboards) for taking me in as one of heir own. They are the kindest, most selfless, fun family: Moe and Jade are amazing daughters and Kris and Robert are parents I strive to be like:) They provided a roof over my head, changed their plans to get me to the races (otherwise I wouldn't have made it), they provided support pre-during-post races, they helped me out in more ways than one. I am ever so grateful and blessed to have crossed paths with this unbelievable family. Check out Harbour Surfboards at Seal Beach (their shop) and watch out for Jade Howson, a 12 year old girl that is gonna rock this sport very very soon! 
Candice, Jade, and I photo: Robert Howson

Day 2, Long Distance: a new day
Mens start for long distance race photo: race

after effect of strong shorebreak

The swell was down but there was still plenty of shorebreak and waves to deal with. This was not the standard distance race.. actually it was more like a long short course BOP style race. 5 laps and each lap we had to surf into the beach and run around a flag and get out again. So, not really my style of distance racing but again good practice for the upcoming races... 
I luckily had a decent start and then managed to hold it together for the five laps..... I made some mistakes and had to deal with waves but was able to use my power and strength out on the longer paddling sections to hold onto a second place finish.... The second in the distance and 7th in the sprints gave me a 4th overall standing. Thanks to all the wonderful athletes for their positive stoke and positive words out there.... you all rock:) 
top three distance race photo: Robert Howson

running into the finish photo: Robert Howson

Interview time photo: robert howson

Magically, I am still leading the world series tour for the ladies... but not by much and the last race is another surf race.. clearly my favorite(joke)!Practice Practice Practice.... smile smile smile:) :) All this will only make me stronger... and I am already wayyyyyyy better in the waves... and it is fun:) its all about the journey, the people, the learning, the challenges, and then seeing the improvements and sharing:) 

Battle of the Paddle is up next:)

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

Sep 17, 2014

Round The Rock 13.5mile SUP race & Board the Fjord 15km SUP race: PNW race season coming to a close

Having raced almost every weekend since June I was unsure if I should race Round the Rock or Board the Fjord this year... but me being me I couldn't NOT race... They are both great races, beautiful places, and have an amazing community of folks. Short of the long is that I am SOOOOO glad I raced these races (not only because I won:)). It was really great to catch up with some of the PNW paddlers that I haven't seen in while and meet new ppl in person.

Round the Rock
My day started at 3:40am. I woke up, made some coffee and breakfast and met up with Harry from WAZ SUP shop and local SUPer. He was a trooper driving Scott and I down and back from Seattle. We picked up Scott in Surrey and made our way down to Mercer Island. It was a beautiful morning with the fog really low and the air crisp.. There weren't many gas stations open over the border but when we did find one Scott and I had an unpleasant surprise in the outhouse... GROSS!
 We arrived to the race site with enough time to get ready say hello, warm up and have the race meeting.. It was pretty cool out in the morning with some small chop developing on the water.  Although chilly at the start I figured it was going to be a hot day so I still brought hydration(VestPac) and dressed for HOT rather than cold...
  With about 200 racers at the line it was a little crazy out on the water. Starts are always a little hectic anyways so I was pretty glad once the gun went off and people started spreading out.. I had a decent start and managed to get out far on one side where there was some clean water.
Quickly I found myself on my own as I had no one to draft... the water went from chop to smooth and the air temps from cool to HOT..haha.. I managed to come across the line in 8th overall and 1st overall female. I felt pretty good throughout the long race on my SIC X14 ProLITE and my hydration packed full of SkratchLab goodness. Unfortunately, I missed the awards but fortunately was back in Vancouver at a decent time and got to hang out with that wonderful hubby of mine (and friends:)).

finish line at RTR photo: village of Stoke

start line at RTR photo: village of Stoke

Board the Fjord
Board the Fjord was the final for the SUP BC CUP and a beauty of a race, especially in 28C Sunny weather. The toughest part of the race was the boat wake... but it also made the long distance even more  interesting and kept me on my toes (the scenery on this race is amazing.. it does not need help but it is a long distance flat water race... still tough on the mind sometimes) . A sunny day in Deep Cove brings out the boaters for sure. I raced on a 12'6 so I could qualify for points on the BC series.  It would make it tougher and longer race but thats okay... good training:)
The cool thing about this race is the sprint HOT SPOT  $$$. About 400m from the start there was a buoy and the first female and male won some $$$ thanks to THINK kayaks. Even though I was on a 12'6 I managed to get to the buoy first among the ladies.. I had a nice clean start without too much rough water so I lucked out:)
The rest of the race I was mainly on my own, surrounded by some men that I couldn't draft:) In the end I managed to get first overall for the 12'6 division. I had a great race and felt great throughout. I am now addicted to Skratch Labs for my hydration mix thanks to Feed the Machine. I also tried my new Larry Alison A team fin... and of course as always paddling my small Werner Grand Prix paddle and on my SIC 12'6 XPRO LITE board... Mike and Karly of Deep Cove Canoe and Kayaks really put on a great event, with food at the end, a shorter course, and a kids course... THANKS guys!
course photo: Mark Klein

top 3 12'6 photo: Mark Klein

photo: Mark Klein

photo: Mark Klein
Time in Vancouver has been amazing... Clearly nice to be back chillin with my man...although we have another three weeks of apartness BUT at least he is on vaca and doing a cool bike event in france called Trans Provence which sounds like a whole lot of awesomeness:)

SoCal Time
Now the main season is coming to a close.... so its California time for Hunting Beach World Series and BOP... and maybe a small one in between the two.. 'cause why not? Big thanks to the Howson's for hosting me, the Paddle Academy for helping me on and off the water... SIC always so supportive... so many people to thank.. this sport is amazing:)

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

Sep 4, 2014

Kalamalka Classic- 5th Edition

KAVU and Kalavida photo: Andrew Dye

Who would have ever thought that Vernon BC would hold the largest SUP event in Canada?!?!?! It began in 2010 with around 20 people, which is amazing since SUP really did not hit popular Canada until a year or two after that... This event has been growing every year with threat of change and or non existence every year... but every year  it comes back stronger and better, learning each step of the way. I've been to 4 out of 5 missing a year that I spent working in China... This year  was even greater, even bigger, and I don't think this event is going to slip away any time soon... and if there is a threat that it does, I will make sure it sticks around for a while longer yet...

This year I debated whether to race or just help out with the running of things... In the end I could NOT NOT race.... so I tried to do both.... :) with running some clinics beforehand both in Vernon and Naramata and general help here and there...

This year there were somewhere around 170 total participants over the weekend and around 125 racers crossing the lake on Sunday!!!!! It was great to see people from out of province which is tough in Canada, being a BIG country with not the cheapest forms of transportation. Thanks for traveling to BC!!!
Kal Beach Race Start photo: Andrew Dye

Racers from top view photo: Andrew Dye

Saturday was the busy beach day with many races spanning over the entire day and finishing the day off with a dinner on the beach...
Saturday started off with the opening circle, and little fun awards like alumni awards (we got a sweet Kalavida it!)...
Receiving Alumni shirt photo: Mark Klein

The first race to take off was the eagle run, a 2.5mile course set out for all to enjoy... This course is designed more for the beginner racer in mind, which was perfect with calm conditions and just a positive and exciting vibe all around..

Then, it was the Wikiholo short courses for open and competitive men and women... there were heats, lots of bouy turns, choices to make out on the course, a beach run, and more... It was really great to see the open classes packed full with SUPers... taking on all the challenges that the course had to offer... Throughout the heats the water was calm and the sun was shinning... I had a solid first heat... coming across the line in first, I went hard to the first bouy(which was a choice bouy) I decided to go short in order to stay out of any possible wreckage and people whcih meant my second lap would be longer so it was important to hold a solid lead going into the second lap. Once I got past the first buoy on the second lap and saw my lead it was all about holding it steady and not wasting too much energy.  The plan worked out well for me...
Short course Buoy turn Photo: Mark Klein

Once the final heats were determined there was a little break to start the kid races... I was in charge of the kid races... As we set up and started the process the weather took a major turn... the wind picked up significantly, whit caps formed and small surfable waves happened... I felt so bad for the kids, although they dont really know the difference some of them definitely had trouble getting out to the buoy turn... So, we just made due with the conditions and hoped they each still had a smile on their faces. I am sorry for the crazy wind:) In the end they all rocked it and am glad they mustered through and got around the course!!!!!!
Kids race prep photo: Mark Klein
Kids race prep photo: Mark Klein

The wind didn't only make it difficult for the kid races it definitely threw a wrench into the finals for all events... People were switching boards at the last minute and trying to figure out how they would managed through all the wind and chop in front of them. The open races went first.. It was like a mini BOP with people falling in, making mistakes, missing buoys... it was quite entrtaining to watch but I am sure fun and frustrating all the same time while racing as positions changed throughout the entire one lap of the course race. Following the open the men's competitive final hit the water... Here too changes, slippage, missing of buoys happened, new leaders were emerging as mistakes were being made.. Ken crossed the line in first, Ryan 2nd, Mike third... Mike D missed a buoy (uncharacteristic of him) and had to retrack to make it around in the ever increasing wind and chop.. Women comp final was the last of the finals. I only had my PRO lite down at the beach with me so that was it no board choice which I am glad of actually... I just needed to make it work with what I had... I watched everything unfold throughout the previous heats and my strategy was to go out hard and then take it easy and NO mistakes... I managed to pull it off but Shannon was strong and was close behind waiting for my mistake... Phew...crossed in first..
Wikiholo start photo: Mark Klein

Buoy short course photo: Mark Klein

coming into short course finish photo: Mark Klein

Next up were the relay races on inflatables. We were racing for paddles.... and for fun:) people were in costume and just having a blast in the waves... My rockstar team was Mike D, Juniors Avery and Josh, and myself.. We nailed it for 2nd place against a totally stacked team.. proud of us... Next up was another race for all teams but first place... the challenge all 4 people must be touching the inflatable at all times throughout the course... You were allowed only one paddle... and you had to get through the waves around the buoy and back to the beach... We had a slow start but managed to come in first to the beach in the end.... Mike D caught some pretty amazing glides on the way home.. From there Avery and Josh competed against two people from the second place team in a finless inflatable race in the waves... I think Josh came home victorious for the Naish One inflatable SUP board... Total blast!!!!

Relay race finish photo: Mark Klein

Relay team Josh, me, Mike D, Avery photo: Mark Klein

Action relay race photo: Mark Klein

Saturday night beach dinner is always my favorite!!!!! Deathmetal tacos and ice cream toped it off... I had to make an impromptu speech which hopefully wasnt too boring:) hahaha...

eating ice cream photo: Andrew Dye
Speech photo: Andrew Dye

Kal crossing is the highlight of the weekend and is really what makes Kalmalka Classic the Kalamalka Classic... I felt some pressure to win this... I have won it three times already (every year that I have attended) but since I was a world champion I felt pressure to be Queen of Kalamalka... I just wanted to have a good fast clean race. The conditions were FLAT.... but COOL.. great. Comp women were second to last to head out... we were on 12'6 boards and I was the SIC 12'6 X PRO LITE with my Werner Small Grand Prix paddle... Perfect combination for the conditions at hand. I had a great start making it to the buoy first... I then just wanted to create a safety gap. As I was padding people and getting closer and closer to the finish with the guys who started 5 min behind us not yet catching me on their 14ft boards I created new goals in my head... I wanted to beat my old record and I wanted to be first at the beach.... I managed to eventually pass Evan leading the charge for the Juniors who left in the first wave of people... So, I reahed all my goals, first to the beach, beat my old record and won the Queen of Kalamalka crown once again:) woohoo!
finish lake crossing hugs with Nikki Rekman photo: Mark Klein

first to the beach on the crossing photo: Mark Klein

Distance race photo: Mark Klein

Once I finished the chaos of people coming in started.. the toughest finish of the race was the comp men... the race was close and the finish close.... congrats Matt, Mike, and Ken.... top three men!
Andrew, my hubby killed it... especially for someone who doesnt paddle very much at all and just ride bikes all the time;) he was on the 12'6 x PRO and paddling a three piece nitro Werner paddle... what a stud:)
Congrats to Ken Larson on becoming the new KING, Evan for Junior KING and Avery for Junior QUEEN! And congrats to all who participated and especially those paddling the 18km across the lake:) You are all rockstars:)
winners crossing photo: Mark Klein

King and Queen 2014 Photo: Mark Klein

The QUEENS Junior and Senior... photo: Mark Klein
Thanks to my support network! Nikki Rekman Sales thanks for everything throughout the weekend!!!

Monday it was all about the bike.... I managed to jump in on a 5 hour ride with some amazing folks.... I was destroyed.. not having biked a lot this summer I was hurting by the end.... but although grumpy a little throughout because I was breaking down I loved every minute of it... the views at the top of Big Ed's unbelievable and the climbing trails fun! and of course the descending a challenging kind of fun as well.... THANK YOU Dale and crew for letting us tag a long:) Food and drinks to celebrate the amazing weekend in Vernon!

Next up Round the Rock in Seattle and then down to California.... for some racing and the big one Battle of the Paddle:)

Crazy that its Septemeber already;)

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!