Paddling a SUP for 10.88 kms in early afternoon wind chop mixed with heavy boat waves from all directions, while watching surf-skis rocket past me, was my only other “Tour De Indian Arm” experience. The kind of conditions that require more balancing than paddling, and can lead to some sour complaining, the 2010 Tour de Indian Arm still stands out as the toughest race conditions I’ve ever experienced.
But not this year. The extended gloomy winter weather kept the water calm and kept the power-boaters at home searching for cheap flights to Hawaii. Though there was no wind swell, which would have been fun, the conditions couldn’t have been better for our good sized group of SUP-ers to see how fast they could paddle on flat water and keep it going for over an hour. The small crew of regulars was there as well as a few new faces, and some new boards, both of which are always good to see. The first leg of the course was fairly calm once the flurry of surf-ski wakes dissipated into the distance, but rounding the Cates turn some large boat swell made it interesting to stay on course. The current seemed strong as I headed across the arm, paddling about 90% on the left side and looking forward to the next turn so I could switch sides. But that didn’t help, it ended up being just as bad the whole way, 20 or so strokes on the left, 2 on the right and so it continued. Luckily Mike was right on my tail and he reminded me that we had to go around grey rocks on the way back or I would have gone the wrong way, obliviously following two mis-guided kayakers straight back to the Cove. Everyone finished in a respectable amount of time considering it was the furthest some had ever paddled before, and everyone I saw coming in was still paddling strong. The few in the lead were red-lining (well, I was at least) in a very close sprint to the dock that made it apparent that youth might soon be more of an advantage than waterline.
Most fellow Sup racers kept drifting around in the water after crossing the finish line, cheering other paddlers in, trading and trying new boards, or discussing the finer points of displacement vs planing. Even after such a long paddle it’s hard to get off your board, it’s just too fun, that’s why we’re all so stoked about this new sport and a good part of the reason I race, to be part of something in it’s beginning, where all of the people involved seem to have the excitement of a kid with their first bike.
Shortly after the beers and burgers started, our window of “okay” weather ended and the rain began… again, ending another fun event on our beautiful fjord in the coast mountains. Thank you to all the great people that made it happen, and thanks for including SUP!
Here are the official results from Deep Cove Kayak:
|8||33||Kelvin Humenny||short – 10km||SUP M Unlimited||1:13:53.0|
|9||25||Mike Darbyshire||short – 10km||SUP M14||1:13:55.0|
|10||84||Dale Plant||short – 10km||SUP M14||1:14:10.0|
|11||36||Lina Augaitis||short – 10km||SUP W12’6||1:15:19.8|
|14||18||Mike Clarke||short – 10km||SUP M14||1:21:14.0|
|15||62||Lee Horton||short – 10km||SUP M12’6||1:22:26.7|
|16||83||Jenn Dillinger||short – 10km||SUP W12’6||1:22:56.3|
|17||4||Tim Quarles||short – 10km||SUP M12’6||1:25:49.7|
|18||45||Garth Day||short – 10km||SUP M12’6||1:26:20.8|
|20||130||Saunders Al||short – 10km||SUP M14||1:28:44.4|
|21||123||Fred Feuermann||short – 10km||SUP M12’6||1:29:36.5|