Mike Darbyshire’s Tour De Indian Arm 2011 SUP Race Report

Tour de Arm

While the Battle of the Paddle Hawaii was taking place over the weekend a few devoted SUP’ers were having their own battle in Deep Cove.  The Battle of the Paddle may have the edge when it comes to participant numbers (over 450) but we had a good turnout for our Tour de Indian Arm which featured SUP as a race class for the second year.

We had 12 SUP’s participating in our 10.5km short course which wound its way throughout Indian Arm. With racers in each board class we had a good field of racers and some great competition throughout the race. We had the usual suspects from the Tuesday Night Races including Kelvin Hummeny, Lina Augaitis, Jen Dillinger and Tim Quarles, accompanied by some of our newer additions like Lee Horton and Fred Feuremann. It was also nice to see the USA represented by Bellingham’s Dale Plant.

Given that this is primarily a kayak race it was great to see the 12 SUP’ers lined up among the crowd at the start line.  At the sound of the starting horn the race began with a flurry paddle strokes and some pretty good chop kicked up by the departing kayakers. Kelvin got off to an early lead on his handcrafted cedar race board followed by myself on a 14’ Starboard Ace and Dale Plant on 14’ custom race board made down in Bellingham.  Lina was not far behind us on her 12’ Starboard New which gave the three of us good motivation to keep our pace up.

Race day was cloudy and very calm which made for excellent race conditions. The course was entertaining and kept everyone in pretty close proximity.  Our ‘downwind’ section of the race felt a little more like a ‘headwind’ section but the winds were definitely manageable. With a little bit of current pushing us around there were a couple of sections that had me paddling a lot of left handed strokes but again nothing that we couldn’t manage.

Dale and I eventually caught up to Kelvin and we paddled together for last half of the race around Boulder Island and Grey Rocks Island.  We rounded the corner into Deep Cove for the home stretch and a conveniently timed boat wake gave me a slight edge over Dale who was on a much less stable board. Kelvin picked up the pace and we sprinted for the finish. Giving it all I could, I wasn’t able to catch him and happily settled for second overall in a time of 1 hour and 13 minutes.  Dale, a mere 5 seconds behind took  3rd place.  Lina finished 1 minute behind us to take first women and first 12’6 overall.  Rounding out the pack was Deep Cove’s very own Gaz Rathbone who completed the 10.5km course on a 12’ Starboard Big Easy in a very respectable time of 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Overall it was a very successful race both for the kayakers and SUP’s which gives me great confidence looking forward to our ‘Board the Fjord” SUP race coming up in September.  With a little more advertising and word of mouth I think it’s safe to say we will be getting a great turnout for our marquee SUP event.  Thanks to all the racers that came out and I’ll see you all on the water!

If you missed last weekend’s race don’t fret, there are still 17 more races in our Tuesday Night Race Series down in Deep Cove.  Also coming up is the Kalamalka Classic in Vernon which I know is going to be a big event for SUP in BC.  If you are new to SUP racing and want to give it a try, come check out our SUP Race Clinics which run every Tuesday night before the race.

Check out www.deepcovekayak.com for more information and for full race results.

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