Nov 23, 2016

Keepin' the dream ALIVE in Fiji: 2016 ISA SUP and Paddleboard World Champs

 Photos by Ryan Knysh:) 

I am sitting in the Vancouver airport waiting for my last flight home to Vernon and it already all feels like a distant dream. Travel days are always funny as I find myself in the in between world where I cannot wait to get home and see my family but also kind of dread all the "real life" things that come with arriving home.  My mind is stuck in a sort of  semi dreamland where my brain is jammed pack with memories of all the amazingness that just occurred. My Fiji experience was filled with a mix bag of emotions that came to be through leaving a 10 month old at home, not winning gold, winning gold, getting scared, seeing beauty, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends,...ah man the list can just go on....

I got to spend a whole lot of time with the race portion of team Canada and this rad crew along with Captain Adrian made my trip a truly memorable one. In life, I am learning, it really is all about the people you meet and the connections you make with them. I feel so lucky to have been able to travel the world and meet so many unbelievable people and share memorable moments with them.

Fiji does not have to do much to create the sensation of living in a picture perfect postcard dream.  If you are a water person then this is the place for you. If you like intense heat and sunshine this is also the place for you.... If you have a pocket full of cash (which I don't have...) this is also the place for you. hahaha....but seriously it is a pretty amazing little piece of paradise.

The Canadian team consisting of
Catherine Bruhwiler, Jeff and Finn Spencer, Alison Wood, Rob Kavcic, Ryan Knysh, Jason Bennett, MIke Darbyshire and myself were truly amazing people in every way. They created an unforgetable trip and made us all proud to be Canadian:) THANK YOU team for being your awesome selves:)

ISA Worlds
The technical race was windy and tough but I knew I could do it. It was a long day in the sun and on a crowded boat but it was all part of the experience of being there competing.  As an athlete it was important to manage all the inconveniences to the best of my ability. 16 athletes made it through to the final. In the final, I didn't have my best start but also not my worst so I just went with it and gave it my best. I could quickly see that spots 1 and 2 were out of my reach and likely 3rd as well but I wasn't giving up on it. I was battling it out with Karla from Aus for fourth. I would catch her on the upwind and she would distance herself from me on the downwind portions of the course. I could never get enough ahead so it would be a large battle for me on my weaker downwind leg into the finish... I lost, and came in 5th just out of podium and a little heart broken. Its always a tough one being the one who just misses the podium. I was starting to realize that my current life of mommy, work, lack of serious training was showing in my performance. Although I felt good I still have a ways to go to be where I once was.

The distance race was to be my specialty. Well in the past that is. I executed the perfect start and first 10 minutes. I couldn't believe it really....haha I was exactly where I wanted to be out front... and then I just started to fade and fade and fade and just kept on fading... it was unreal, such a thing has never happened to me and I can't really explain it. I just could not go any faster... Incredible.. it was hot and flat (which in the past was perfect lina conditions....) but now not so much.. haha... I crossed the line and just felt empty and slightly embarrassed. I couldn't believe that my body could have changed so drastically after having a child etc... and I was clearly undertrained and not recovered:) I took it pretty hard,.... in a fun kind of way;)

We had a tough heat for the Team relays on Sunday so we all just paddled our best and enjoyed the ride.
The last race of the event was a new event. The 200m sprint. It was not worth team points but still considered an event. I wanted this win so badly but I have to admit my confidence was low going in. it was the people surrounding me that got me pumped up and motivated: it was their belief in my abilities and mind. I was focused and nervous but also just took it with stride. I got through my heat and in the final just gave it my all. I could feel the ladies close to me but I stayed focused on the finish line and keeping my speed. 200m is a funny distance as you just start to hit your max right before the finish so it gets quite painful in the last seconds and you  have to keep pushing and not make a mistake. Well,  I managed to capture that GOLD medal. It may not have been the most important race but it was important to me and I can now be at home with pride, motivation, and inspiration. Thank you team for the support.

I hope I can one day repay all of you that supported me.... THANK you from the bottom of my heart...

Thanks to the team sponsors: Vaikobi for the rad outfits and those that supported us and helped kit us out:)

THANKS first off to Andrew, Trish and Tav.... for making it easier for me to get away. THANK You to all my friends and family near and far for all the support. Lastly I could not have done it without Tourism Vernon, SIC Maui, Nikki Rekman Sales, Sun N SUP, Onit Pro, Dylan Walters, Yvonne and Kenta, Kalavida Surf Shop, Werner Paddles, Kavu, Ryders Eyewear, UB Super, ClifBar, Crossfit Vernon, SD name a few:)

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

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