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Tresnak stays connected to his paddling roots US Indoor Kayak Championships Feb 20

Plan your racing year with the Worldwide Paddling Event Calendar from USCA

Prizes * KayakPro SpeedStroke GYM kayak ergometer for fastest over-all man and fastest orverall woman. * 6 KayakPro SpeedStroke GYMs will be available at a discounted price after the event.

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When it comes to riding the bumps, there’s none better than young Karel Tresnak, Jr. The large swell for him is just another day in the park.

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“Ask Coach Caven,” a new feature with Chesapeake Boathouse coach Shaun Caven, where the once British Canoe Union coach provides his professional coaching expertise for paddlers of all racing levels.

The inaugural U.S. indoor championships introduces a new kind of competition to the paddling community and gives athletes something to look forward to during the long winter.

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More Inside If it’s a race with a paddle, she’s done it Kaitlyn McElroy races at a high level in different boats in different disciplines crossing paddling boundaries and finds one experience enhances the 6

Oklahoma City’s rebirth includes paddling Mecca With a major sponsor in Chesapeake Energy, Oklahoma City has become a new paddling high-performance center and top paddlers are making their way east to 14

Passion in the paddle Turn your race into a more meaningful experience by using it to raise funds for charity. Learn about Heifer International’s efforts to end world hunger and one man’s passion to 19

ICF adds women’s canoe to championship program Pam Boteler gives readers the inside scoop on the ICF decision to add women’s canoe to the World Championship program. Good news, Boteler said, but the work’s not done in the area of gender equity in 22

Virtual ergometer racing Some cold-climate racers move their game indoors and still compete against each other thanks to the KayakPro ergometer and a bit of 24

Canoe & Kayak Racing Canoe & Kayak Racing is a bimonthly electronic magazine containing news, articles and features about events, paddlers, training, race results and other information about canoe and kayak racing in the United States. CKR seeks to promote canoe and kayak racing with editorial and promotional content designed to inform, educate and motivate beginners and experienced paddlers of all ages. Each issue will cover a wide range of editorial and promotional content from tips and how to articles to race reports and feature stories. CKR regularly accepts by-lined editorial submissions with the right of final editing for style, tone, length and voice. Editorial and graphical content may not be used in any form, printed or digital, without permission of the editor with attribution. CKR is posted bimonthly at Editor: Dan Grubbs Contributors this issue: Dan Grubbs, editor Stephen Mahelona, associate editor Kaitlyn McElroy, contributor Shaun Caven, contributor Mark Ceconi, contributor Sherry Mullen, contributor

Cover: Karel Tresnak, Jr., flying the ama of his outrigger canoe down the face of yet another bump looking to connect it to the next one. Photo courtesy of Outrigger Connection.


Canoe & Kayak Racing 1221 Pheasant Ct. Liberty, Missouri 64068 816-729-4422 CKR’s Facebook profile

From the Editor ment to cross promote each other’s publications and leverage the use of social media to help achieve common goals. I also have been working where I can with the Joe Jacobi-led USA Canoe/ Kayak to raise awareness of sprint and marathon paddling of the ICF variety. I’m excited about the U.S. team and the potential they represent for the future of sprint and marathon racing. One of the things I love about paddlers is that they are usually are simultaneously fun-loving, competitive and humble people. A great example is Karel Tresnak, Jr. Associate editor, Stephen Mahelona, gives us our cover story about Tresnak, who, while probably being the best open-water outrigger canoest in the world, plays down his success in a jovial manner. In this piece, Mahelona paints the picture of both dominace on the water and modesty on land. Make no mistake, however. Once on his outrigger, he’s looking to blow by you and leave you in the distance, never looking back, then afterward, share a cold one with you. I wish all athletes were more like Tresnak ... the world would be a better place. The past couple of months have been productive regarding some of our goals of helping the nationwide paddling community to be more unified. I had a very fruitful meeting in Chicago with Gareth Stevens, editor of the United States Canoe Association’s Canoe News. The result was an agree-

Additionally, our relationship with Rob Mousley, the hub of the surfski racing world and editor of the famous is beginning well. His Web site is always one of my first stops when I log on. I recommend the stories and reviews there. Rob’s connections with the top paddlers in the world is unparalleled. Winter is always a tough time for many paddlers. We have what may cure the winter-time blues with stories about virtual racing with ergometers and about the first U.S. Indoor Kayak Championships presented by KayakPro USA and the Chesapeake Boathouse Foundation in Oklahoma City, Feb. 20. Ever wonder what kind of racing you should get into? If you ask Kaitlyn McElroy, she’ll tell you all kinds of racing. She writes of her experiences with racing in different kinds of boats and beloning to different kinds of paddling organizations. She redefines cross training as a paddler. Last year she went to world championships in three different disciplines. She advocates keeping your mind open about different kinds of paddling and enjoying all the opportunities you can find.

Speaking of training and racing. We all want to improve, but don’t always have a professional paddling coach near us. No worries. On board with us is coach Shaun Caven of the Chesapeake Boathouse answering questions we all have about racing, technique, etc. I think you’ll enjoy reading his insights. One of the world’s fastest women in the high-kneel style of canoe, Pam Boteler, president of USA WomenCAN, gives us her thoughts on the recent ICF decision to add one medal and one exhibition women’s sprint canoe event to the world championship program. Good news, for sure. But, still lots of work to do for gender equity in paddling. Finally, as much as we love to race on the water, we all must find ways to take care of these water resources. I’d love to hear about races out there that are collaborating with stewardship organizations to protect the natural resources we all enjoy as paddlers. If you know of such work, we may be able to feature the race and the stewardship effort in a future issue. Simply drop me an e-mail message and I’ll follow up. Now, get out there and try a different boat and enter a different kind of race than you’re used to. It’ll be good for us all! See you on the river, Dan Grubbs


High kneel or sit down, canoe or kayak, sprint or marathon … it’s all paddling

McElroy and a women’s K4 sprint team training in Chula Vista, Calif. The image conjured up in people’s minds when they think of paddling is diverse and dependent on what discipline of paddling they practice or what they see on TV. Personally, I think of sit down marathon canoes racing down a narrow winding river. For others, it might be sea kayaks, or a canoe with a dog and a fishing line hanging off the back. Still for others, it’s surfing the waves of open water in a six-person outrigger. While the images are different, the meaning for each of us is the same – getting out on the water with a paddle and gliding across its surface in a human-powered boat and loving it whether paddling for recreation, fitness, racing or training for the Olympics. Because of the size of the racing community in the U.S. it would be prudent to promote competitions of all forms and get paddles in people’s hands and worry less about the paddlers’ membership organization or what craft they propel. When I talk to recreational paddlers, they have no idea that governing bodies and sanctioned races exist. For those who are aware, they don’t have any idea which organization is right for them and end up confused and don’t bother. Let’s make it easy for them. Allow them to join one group 6

by Kaitie McElroy and through that, be exposed to all the events regardless of affiliation. From this we will build a broader base of people who are comfortable on the water and can easily flow between organizations and races.

Benefits of collaboration In the U.S., there are multiple organizations dedicated to paddlesport, which are often segregated from each other due to their distinctive focus on certain disciplines. While this is necessary in some ways, I believe that the sport as a whole, regardless of discipline, can benefit from increased dialog and flow of athletes between organizations. “I believe that all paddlesports organizations should encourage crossover participation among paddling disciplines,” said Janet Perry, president of the United States Canoe Association. “From paddler to paddler, individually, such crossover nurtures personal growth. Training in different disciplines is a great way to improve skill and conditioning; training in different types of venues improves adaptation to new challenges brought on by water; training with different groups of people refreshes your knowledge

see McElroy on page 9

High-kneel, ultra-marathon canoe and ICF marathon racing all are part of McElroy’s paddling world.


McElroy and affirms any understanding you already have. Crossover nurtures a sense of community among paddlers. All paddlers use the water. The water connects the entire world.”

McElroy with K2 partner Anne Blanchard at the ICF world marathon championships

Playing in others’ ponds As an athlete who has her foot in several different organizations, I know we have more similarities than we imagine and have more to offer each other while retaining our individual discipline identity. I am a better paddler and person for my involvement in different paddling organizations. Joe Jacobi, interim executive director of USA Canoe/Kayak puts it this way. “If all the national paddlesports organizations sat around the table and you asked each one, ‘what are your unique attributes?’ you’d have some different strengths to grow the sport. I think too often this conversation tends to pit similarities against each other.” I can personally attest to the fact that there is natural flow and crossover between disciplines. My 2008-09 season is an example. It starts in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Canoe Club where I was taught the basics of sprint racing and frequently hauled out of the Potomac River by our coach. At the club you had outriggers, sprint kayaks and canoes and marathon canoes. In addition to sprint boats, I was re-introduced to high-kneel canoes by Pam Boteler. I was convinced to do both notwithstanding the tenuous relationship between canoers and kayakers. Apparently you don’t just do both!

Multiple boats means lots of fun In April we went to Oklahoma City for the 2008 Olympic team trials, I had no idea how much grief I was going to get for wanting to race both. Frankly I was just happy to be on the water and racing at the Olympic team trials, I really didn’t care what in. The trials went well for me in both

boats. Later that summer with a little more time under my belt I raced at sprint nationals also in both canoe and kayak. Then I went to Canada and raced a three-day sit-down canoe stage race of 130 miles. My partner and I finished second in an extremely competitive and well attended race.

to flow through the alphabet soup of paddling organizations and pick up everything you can about the water and paddling.

Arguably, when you find the one discipline you like best you need to train in that to become the best. Yet, when you’re figuring it out, it’s important

Let’s intermingle and see what we have to offer each other. Young, old,

Uniting as paddlers

“I suggest that crossover between the organizations through joint events will expose people to the concept of On to ICF racing a united paddling community,” Perry Following this, I got back in an ICF said. “Basically, in paddling, more kayak and made it to the world chamthan most sports that are controlled pionships in marathon kayaking. I by land or arenas, there truly isn’t got my ass kicked, but learned a lot. any ‘us’ or ‘them.’ The only practiI pursued the same approach in 2009 cal understanding of any grouping of racing both canoe and kayak. I reached paddlers is as ‘we.’ Therefore it should the world come as no surchampionships prise to anyone in both, ended that positively I believe that all paddlesports up racing only and construcorganizations should encourage in kayak (race tively unifying crossover participation among schedule issues). our community paddling disciplines. Then, due to my through any ilJanet Perry, USCA president background with lustration of a single blade, our sport that is I was asked to printed or othgo to the dragonboat world champion- erwise recorded — any collaborative ships. I now have a silver and bronze efforts between our publication editors medal for that effort. After that, I was and other editors or collaborative back to marathon racing in a kayak events that serves the entire communiand a marathon canoe. ty” can bring our sport to a new level.

see McElroy page 23 9

To close out the first year of publishing Canoe & Kayak Racing, this issue features a new column titled “Ask Coach Caven.” For each issue, Canoe & Kayak Racing will select questions for Shaun Caven, head coach at the Chesapeake Boathouse in Oklahoma City, to which he will give his professional insights. Caven, before taking the coaching reins at the Chesapeake Boathouse, was the head kayak coach at the British Canoe Union which is the national Olympic program for Great Britain. You can find Coach Caven on Facebook and Twitter (CoachCaven, KayakOKC and Rt66Boathouse) as well as his blog at the http://rt66boathouse. So, let’s plunge in right away.

Question: Efficient stroke technique is vital to any form of paddling. However, I’ve heard people debate about the issue of whether or not the top hand should be pushing the paddle shaft as part of the proper double-blade stroke cycle. Can you provide some advice about this?

Coach Caven: The straight answer is not to push with the top hand. The top hand should be held back for as long as possible after the catch on the opposite side. If we assume a kayak stroke has the blade in 10

the water for around 0.3 seconds and once the blade is buried fully in the water it does not move; then, in order to move the boat past the paddle, the blade must be vertical for as long as possible. Therefore, the paddler should paddle with a bent top arm until the blade comes out of the water. When the blade is taken out then the top hand is extended forward ready to start the next stroke. Watch the videos of Tim Brabants on YouTube to get an image of what I am writing about. You can see when he paddles that the top hand controls the blade in the water. What the paddler is trying to do is use the top shoulder to create pressure down the paddle shaft.

Question: It may be very individualistic, but for those of us who race marathon or ultra-marathon distances, we know we need to find a base stroke rhythm, but how do we determine what stroke rate works best for us?

Coach Caven:

travel at the same speed. • Paddle Length – Longer paddles will reduce your stroke rate, shorter paddles allow to paddle at a higher rate. • Blade size – This must be combined with paddle length. Big blades are good for sprinting and very powerful athletes. Smaller blades will allow you to paddle at a faster rate and maintain rate for longer. • Water conditions – The type of water will also determine rate. Fast flowing downstream or rapid may allow you to paddle slower, paddling upstream requires a higher rate. • Weather conditions – Paddling into a wind requires a faster rate or pull harder. • Athlete physiology – The more aerobically fit you are the higher stroke rate you will be able to maintain. If you are powerful you may be able to paddle at a slower rate for a given speed.

You are correct. It is very individualistic. Stroke rate is defined as the number of times you put your paddle into the water in one minute. There are a number of factors which affect a desired stroke rate:

• Race distance and duration – As an example, sprinters’ race 1,000 meters at a K1 rate of 105 to 120 strokes, 200 meter paddlers race at 140 plus and marathon paddlers race around 75 with bursts of more than 120 during the event.

• Boat Type – ICF K1 will require a lower rate than a ski or sea kayak to

How do you determine what rate is best for you?

1. If you have a GPS, measure the distance you travel in one minute and also count the number of strokes. Do this a number of times at various speeds and stroke rates. Note the results of each effort. 2. Then taking into consideration the factors above, find a rate that matches your needs. 3. Test this out during an individual time trial. With a stopwatch on your boat count your strokes every few minutes to get a feel for what rate you can maintain. Make notes after and compare over time you will be able to build data that you can use to determine what works for you. Finally, in a race, stroke rate is determined by your ambition and position in the race. My advice is to control what you can. If you are in the lead, paddle at a rate that suits you. If you are wake riding, try to do fewer strokes than the lead boat, making you more efficient and saving energy.


photo by Ollie Harding

Indoor championships set for Oklahoma City Year round training for successful racers cannot be taken for granted. No longer is there an offseason. But, for those who live where the water turns hard and daylight is scarce, finding racing opportunities is a challenge. Enter ergometer racing and the U.S. Indoor Kayak Championships, Feb. 20, in Oklahoma City. “We know there are thousands of racers in North America that long for spring while cross training during the cold winter months,” said Grayson Bourne of KayakPro USA, World Champion and five-time Olympian. “We see ergometer training and racing as a superb way to keep in racing form, improve performance and have something to look forward to when racing on the water is not an option.” Presented by KayakPro USA and the 12

Chesapeake Boathouse Foundation, the indoor championships will be hosted in Oklahoma City, which has been named as an official U.S. Olympic training location. The indoor event will feature preliminary heats and championships for the 200 meter and the 500 meter events.

Open to all abilities and ages “I also want to stress that this is not just an elite athlete event,” said Shaun Caven, head coach of the Chesapeake Boathouse. “We expect many weekend recreational paddlers and dozens of kids to come out and have a bit of fun while experiencing something new. And if a top paddler is in the lane next to you, it’ll be a unique opportunity to pick up a few pointers. Besides, it isn’t often that you can say, ‘Hey, I raced

against so-and-so’.” Bourne indicated that racing in the U.S. continues to grow and so does the need for paddlers to ensure they maintain racing fitness. “An ergometer is the primary tool many racers in cold climates use for sport-specific training,” he said.

Momentum building for indoor racing Indoor championships are not new to paddlesports. Bourne recently returned from Great Britain and France where he organized their indoor kayak championships. “The event in Tours, France, was a one-day event that was a constant non-stop round of 200 meter and 500 meter events,” Bourne said. “It was simply terrific to see the enthusiasm of the racers.”

Needless to say, the British event was massive in comparison because of the popularity of flatwater racing in the U.K. It didn’t hurt that Tim Brabants, Britain’s Olympic champion, and Olympians Jess Walker and Fiona Pennie were in the house, either. Bourne reported it wasn’t just flatwater sprinters competing. There was a mix of paddlers from different disciplines and abilities. “We had whitewater, marathon and recreational paddlers all competing together,” Bourne said. “The event was spectacular not only in scale, but racers, coaches and fans were all within arm’s reach of each other, allowing everyone to engage easily. I expect the same great camaraderie at the Oklahoma City event.”

U.S. catching up quickly

photo by Ollie Harding

In the U.S. the number of racers with access to an ergometer is small, but several manufacturers are beginning to penetrate the market, such as KayakPro USA and PaddleONE. Because almost all world-class athletes – Olympic and World Championship medalist – are using ergometers as part of their training regimen, it’s clear that they are an effective tool. The fact that the U.S. is having its first indoor championship two months after the U.K. had its first is a good sign. By many measures, racing in the U.S. is growing very quickly, and so are the number of paddlers. One disadvantage that the U.S. has is distance. It’s a long way between pockets of paddling communities. “We have very dedicated paddling communities across the U.S., but they are spread out with long distances between them,” said Dan Grubbs, editor of Canoe & Kayak Racing. “However, I see the indoor championships as great way to help the process to link groups, such as Northeast paddlers with Texas racers or unlimited racers with USCA-type paddlers” KayakPro’s Web site at already has a remote racing and an interactive community portal that allows individuals, groups, paddling communities and potential indoor championship participants to connect together through its interactive website. Simply log on and record your ergometer training times. Those who want to find out more about or register for the U.S. national indoor kayak championships can visit the event Web site or send an e-mail to Grayson Bourne.



s word of Oklahoma City’s canoe and kayak national development and education center, and the hiring of coach Shaun Caven, spread through the racing community, paddlers across the nation took notice and are now looking at the training opportunities on Oklahoma’s waterways. For 22-year-old San Diego native Jennifer Burke, Oklahoma City is the place to be in order to reach the next level in her sport. “Leaving San Diego was a hard decision,” Burke said. “But Oklahoma City has the coaching expertise, premier facilities and the willingness to support athletes that are fundamental to achieving success.”

Oklahoma City A new dawn?

by Sherry Mullen

With nearly a decade of paddling experience, Burke has posted some impressive stats, including appearances at the 2005 Junior World Championship, the 2007 Pan Am Games, the 2009 World Championship and the International Canoe Federation’s 2009 World Cup series, where she placed 3rd in the K1 1,000 meters B final.

Getting to the next level Then there’s 24-year-old Kaitlyn McElroy who also moved to Oklahoma City in her pursuit of excellence. McElroy, a former U.S. Junior World Cross-Country Ski Team member, learned to paddle at the age of eight. After a career-ending ski accident in 2007, McElroy found her way back to the water paddling multiple disciplines, including earning silver and bronze medals at the 2009 World Championship Dragonboat Race in Racice, Czech Republic. “Paddlesports offer something for everyone, whether for recreation or racing,” McElroy said. “Oklahoma City is providing the support athletes need to fulfill their goals.”

A key corporate sponsor With the support of Chesapeake Energy, which became a national sponsor of USA Canoe/Kayak last December, 14

Chesapeake Boathouse and a community committed to nurturing the next generation of Olympic athletes, Oklahoma City offers an extraordinary training opportunity.

improving. Coach Caven has a strong focus on technique and providing the quality training we need to go faster,” she said.

“I am in a sport where mere seconds can mean the difference between first and last place,” Burke said. “Shaving off those five seconds at this stage of my athletic career is a calculated ordeal – all the right components must come together. Oklahoma City and Shaun Caven are helping me figure out what I need to do to realize my Olympic dreams.”

“Guiding athletes in pursuit of Olympic glory is what I came to Oklahoma City to do,” said coach Caven. “Jen and Kaitlyn are the kind of talented and determined athletes who can go the distance. They are true role models for our junior kayakers who have Olympic aspirations of their own.”

McElroy agrees. “There’s so much technique, balance and strength involved with kayaking that you are constantly learning, tweaking and

Coach Caven’s sprint kayaking program is open to youth ages eight and older. Call the Chesapeake Boathouse at 405-552-4040 for more information on this and other programs.


The name is synonymous with paddling and outrigger canoes. So it comes as no surprise that the son of an innovative canoe builder and Olympic paddler has emerged as the dominant figure in outrigger racing.

photo courtesy of Outrigger Connection

by Stephen Mahelona Associate Editor


Such a prodigy must have been born with a paddle in hand, blessed by the gods of the sea.

photos courtesy Outrigger Connection

“No way,” laughs Karel Tresnak, Jr. “When I first started paddling I was as bad as anyone. My buddies would laugh at me all the time.”

Forget the Red Rider BB Gun “One Christmas morning my brother and I woke up and found paddles under the tree.” Their canoe-building father converted a Tahitian-influenced Outrigger 27 into a two-seater and sent his boys on their way. From the age of ten until he graduated from high school, Tresnak paddled with Lanikai Outrigger Canoe Club. Under the tutelage of the club’s coach – Karel Sr. – he flourished and began to catch the eye of some of the sport’s biggies, who couldn’t figure out how this skinny kid managed to hang with them. The short answer: “I loved doing it, and I got good at it. I paddled almost every day.” At the age of 17, Tresnak entered his first Moloka’i Challenge, the world championship of solo outrigger races, finishing 10th. The following year he won his first of three consecutive victories at Moloka’i, becoming the youngest winner in history. He now holds seven solo titles and the record for the fastest channel crossing, and his peers consider him ‘the best surfer ever,’ a tag he downplays. In his typi16

cally understated manner, he says, “I can usually hold my own in flat water, but manage to gain some separation in the surf.”

I’ll take big waves, please! The Hawai’i Kai downwind is the most popular training run for OC1 paddlers, and it was here that Tresnak began to learn to read the ocean and hone his canoe-surfing skills. “On any given day you’d be out there with the really good paddlers like the Foti brothers , who were strong as hell, Walter Guild, Mark Rigg,” he recalls. “I learned a lot watching these

guys. I’d follow along, trying to figure out what they were doing, what they were seeing. Usually this would last all of five or ten minutes. Then they’d take off and be out of sight.” In Tresnak’s estimate, Rigg was one of the best surfers, and in observing him, it became apparent that while a straight line may be the shortest distance between two points, in outrigger surfing it’s rarely the quickest. “I’d watch him and he’d be all over the place. Inside one minute, way outside the next, and I’d wonder, ‘What the heck is he doing?’” He calls it ‘connecting the dots’ – sliding from one wave onto the next, then

speed in it.” He also enjoys paddling in the roughest of conditions, like those found off of Makapu’u. “It’s cliffy and bouncy. The crazier the better!”

A repeat customer After his first Moloka’i Challenge victory in 1999, he wanted more than anything to win it again. “I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a fluke.” Six subsequent victories have laid that fear to rest. While Tresnak remains the perennial favorite and his presence dominates the outrigger scene, winning isn’t the slam dunk it was a few years ago.

onto the next. For something that most paddlers struggle to master, Tresnak’s explanation is surprisingly simple: “Never look behind (unless you’re in a wave-break zone). Everything happens in front of you. Feel the tail lift, find the opening between two waves and drop your boat into it.”

It just takes time Feeling it and allowing the water to do the work is an invaluable advantage in a 32-mile race. Feeling and reading the ocean did not come naturally or quickly to Tresnak, and there were no tricks or shortcuts to learning. He indicates that it was all

about putting in the time on the water, lots of it, and that remains at the heart of his training regimen. Following each Moloka’i Challenge, he takes one month off, then spends the next 11 months preparing for the next one, paddling twice a day, at least three days a week, with three days dedicated to running and lifting weights. He prefers the big waters of his home turf on the Windward side of O’ahu. “The open ocean swells off Kailua are a lot like Moloka’i,” he said. “Given the choice of going big or going small, I almost always choose to go big. You work your butt off, but there’s a lot of

“The other guys have gotten better” in the surf, and he has come to realize that no matter who comes out on top, victory in the Moloka’i Challenge is no fluke. “Anything can happen in the channel, and the guys who win are the ones who can make the necessary adjustments when the ocean doesn’t do what you expect it to do.”

A brotherhood of paddlers Tresnak enjoys the closeness of the outrigger community, and alongside the competitiveness amongst the paddlers, there exists a real friendship and camaraderie. After a race, they kick back with a beer and share with each other their own experiences from the race, what they saw, what adjustments

see TRESNAK page 23 17

Want to see & compare what races are going on in, say ... New York, New England, and Maine on the same weekend? Or... AR, LA, MO, MS, KS, and IL? Or... FL, GA, SC, NC, and KY? Or... IN, MI, OH, ON, PA, and Quebec? Or... WA, CA, BC, the Yukon, and the Rest of the World? Or... any combination of states or regions? All on one screen? With links to detailed info (and their web sites) for all of them? Then go to or (a link is in the map image below) and check out:

Worldwide Paddling Event Calendar

This issue’s featured races: Florida – March 13:

The Great Pickle Race

Missouri – April 11:

The Platte River Challenge

Oklahoma – February 20:

USA Indoor Kayak Ch’ship

Pennsylvania – March 23:

The 43rd Red Mo

Texas – March 13:

The Buffalo Bayou Regatta

Wisconsin – March 13:

The Season Opener

Passion in the paddle The canoe and kayak community has a long tradition of leveraging our passions to support charitable causes in which we believe, while building awareness for our sport. I think most of us realize that our paddling community does not exist in a vacuum either. We require a clean environment for competition and the responsibility to support our community through our clubs. Best of all we have the opportunity to leverage our passions to raise awareness for important social action and personal goals. Each year there are numerous races and events held across the country where you can participate and make a difference. And if you don’t find one that fits your mission, you can always create your own with a variety of charities that work well with athletes. My hope is to inspire you to mix your passion for paddling with charitable outreach. Opportunities are everywhere.

Join an event to support the environment Look for river clean ups, conservation challenges or recreational races that benefit local environmental action. For instance, in Missouri each summer, there is a two-day race series, connected to a community festival called Race for

the Rivers. The event supports and raises awareness for the Greenway Network, a non-profit citizen’s action group that supports multiple clean water initiatives in Missouri, including clean water education, river restoration and water recreation. Supporting an event like Race for the Rivers benefits you in your personal paddling goals, but also gives you an opportunity to communicate the organization’s goals to your personal network as well. The conservation connection in our sport cannot be underestimated if we hope to continue to enjoy the places we all paddle together.

Volunteer your skills Seek out places where you can use your paddling skills to help introduce others to the sport. Many paddling clubs have outreach events where the inexperienced come to learn about the sport and try something new. Each year in Denver, Colorado, Chris Hahn, of the Front Range Paddlesports Meetup group, organizes volunteers to help with the Adaptive Adventures Stars of Tomorrow kids’ camp. The camp provides children with a variety of disabilities the opportunity to participate in hand-cycling, wake-boarding and kayaking. Volunteers help with instruction, safety-boating and PFDs. The goal of the camp is not to make paddlers but rather to experience the exploration with them at their own pace.

Develop your own personal challenge Another way to put passion into your paddling is to develop your own event in partnership with a charitable organization. Nearly any organization will be happy to work with you on a fundraising endeavor. Be sure to seek out organizations that actively reach out to athletes (see sidebar next page) and can provide you with the tools to effectively market your effort.

Rob Bean Chief Paddling Officer The Big Moo Canoe for Heifer International

In the winter of 2007, I personally developed The Big Moo Canoe for Heifer International. The challenge allowed me to tackle the longest solo distance I had ever paddled (250 miles in three days) while using the effort to benefit Heifer, a humanitarian organization working to end world hunger. The effort was a huge success. We raised donations in excess of $8,000 from individuals and companies in 15 states. At the same time, I was able to introduce many people to the mission of this organization in which I passionately believe. The effort also exposed many people in my community to the world of ultra-marathon canoeing and kayak-


ing. Now, in our third year, I am taking the event to a new level with both local and national events planned in 2010 in Colorado and at the Missouri River 340.

Get out and have a great time doing it Volunteering and social action are an outward sign of our desire to be a part of something larger than ourselves. A river flows only after many individual droplets of water come together. Our combined efforts are the same: each of us gives a small part to the whole and helps build a sustainable community and environment for all to enjoy. I decided to do The Big Moo Canoe for Heifer International because I had a personal goal and a desire to make my training help more than just me. I challenge you to find some time to connect with organizations in your area and see where your paddling passions take you.

Get more information Race for the Rivers Adaptive Adventures The Big Moo Canoe for Heifer International Charity Navigator

Join the Big Moo Canoe’s Heifer Herd at the MR340 Rob Bean is currently seeking other 2010 Missouri River 340 participants to race as a loosely affiliated team called The Heifer Herd. If you are interested in getting more information, please e-mail Rob Bean. More information can be found here.

Charities reach out to sporting enthusiasts A variety of charities reach out to athletes and make them an active part of the fundraising process. Many are utilizing the latest web technologies to help their supporters effectively raise awareness and donations through their personal networks. Most provide online sign-up, team building, a personalized donation page, goal tracking, and outreach tools via email and social networks. Furthermore, many charities connect you with community development officers who can answer questions and help you through the process of developing and delivering on your own challenge goals. Since you are putting in the maximum effort to train, market, and fundraise for your chosen organization, you should align yourself with a charity that makes your life as a promoter, and participant, as easy as possible. Below are a couple of organizations that provide athletes everything they need to develop a successful fundraising program.

Heifer International – Team Heifer Founded in 1944, Heifer Project International is a humanitarian assistance organization that works to end world hunger. Through livestock, training, and passing on the gift, Heifer has helped 8.5 million families in more than 125 countries improve their quality of life and move toward greater self-reliance. Heifer helps build strong communities because each project participant agrees to pass on the gift of animal offspring, training, or skills to another family in need. Visit the Web site here.

John Wayne Cancer Foundation After John Wayne’s own heroic battle with cancer, his family established the John Wayne Cancer Foundation to advance the fight against the illness. The John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s mission is to bring courage, strength, and grit to the fight against cancer. Visit the Web site here.



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ICF adds women’s canoe to world championship program

In what may turn out to be a decision of historical significance, the International Canoe Federation voted at their Dec. 5 board meeting in England to add women’s solo canoe 200 meters as a full medal event for the junior and senior canoe sprint world championship programs with women’s doubles canoe 500 meters as an exhibition event. This historic vote also means that world cup programs may follow, at a minimum, the world championship program for both seniors and juniors. Additionally, they added C1 (singles canoe) individual and team events (3 athletes competing together as a team) to the Canoe Slalom Senior and Junior Worlds. In a release by the ICF, it was admittedly “the hottest issue” for the board. Other issues involved cancelling the men’s tandem canoe 500 meters from the Olympic program in 2012. This made room for the women’s solo kayak 200 meters on the 2012 program – 22

a truly historic move for gender equity for women kayakers. The board also decided to add 12 paracanoe (for athletes with disabilities) events covering three classifications: LTA, TA, A.

tion about the pre-world championships development camps for women’s canoe. We need to be folded into the regular development program in general,” Boteler added.

“This was great news and a fulfillment of a promise,” said Pam Boteler, president of USA WomenCAN, the leading organization to promote the inclusion of women’s canoe in the Olympic program. “While we’re happy and applauding the board’s decision, our canoe sprint constituency is still seeking a full four-event schedule for world cup and world championship programming and ultimately, inclusion in the Olympic program.”

Possible negative fallout

Work still to be done Boteler indicated some in the paddling world felt the board didn’t go far enough, but understands the complexities of issues the ICF is dealing with and appreciates them keeping gender equity a priority. She said she knows of no one that isn’t grateful, but many feel it’s still an incomplete program. “We need to have a robust program on the international level because we know people are not going to pack up their bags and travel to Europe for a single 200 meter event, Boteler said. “I think the ICF saw this too and kept at least the C2 500 as exhibition. “Additionally, we need more informa-

Those preferring a more traditional approach might argue that if a world championship program adds women’s canoe events, it could mean that something else needs to be deleted from the program. For example, when the ICF added a 200 meter women’s solo kayak event, it eliminated the men’s tandem canoe 500 meter event. “This is not what we want,” Boteler said. “We don’t want men’s canoe to go away to achieve gender equity.”

Playing into a nation’s strategy According to Boteler, adding women’s canoe as official events may help some nations compete better because now the events will be worth points. “It’s to some country’s advantage to fight for women’s canoe events because they can score some points they previously didn’t count on.” World cup programs are developed with considerable discretion given to the local organizing committee. Therefore, there’s nothing to keep

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them from leveraging the ICF decision and including a full four-event schedule for canoe sprint. However, the ICF technical committees need to approve the final programs so federations must work with them as well to advance gender equity. Because of the discretion of local organizing committees, USA Canoe/Kayak submitted a formal request, crafted by Boteler, to the president of the Polish federation to include all four women’s canoe events at the 2010 world championships in Poznan, Poland. This topic will also be discussed in the next few months with the chair of the canoe sprint committee, Frank Garner (Canada). The ICF board will meet again in April where this will be discussed and voted on at that time.

Young women see an opportunity The momentum seems to be catching on around the world and particularly in the U.S.. Some coaches understand the medal potential for the U.S. and are already developing young athletes to compete in women’s canoe. “Luckily, there are coaches, at the Gig Harbor Club, Lanier, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere who are proactively developing young women in sprint boats while slalom canoeists are being developed in Charlotte, N.C., Wisc. and Texas,” Boteler said. “Coaches, parents and the athletes are excited about developing the next generation of USA Canoe/Kayak canoeists. One coach told me that his young women feel a part of something bigger to the point of not just living a dream for 2016, but ‘being’ the dream.”

Which comes first, events or paddlers? Admittedly, Boteler reports there is justifiable pressure from the ICF to increase the number and quality of women canoeists worldwide in order to add more events at the international level. However, she said it requires international exposure through world-level events to generate more interest in girls (and for federations to commit and support female canoeists) to try this unique sport. “This is classic chicken and the egg syndrome.” She reports that it has been shown, year after year, that the more international opportunities women have, the more women step up to the plate to compete at a high level. For women’s canoe events to meet the goals of supporters and skeptics, it is imperative that national federations around the world support this movement by adding women’s canoe as official events to their national championships. “What I’m hoping for is that federations and coaches and women take this seriously, raise our game even more in 2010 to continue to build the case that we deserve exhibition in the 2012 London games and medal events in 2016.” To reach Boteler or learn more about the efforts to gain gender equity in canoe sprint, visit the USA WomenCAN Web site here.

McElroy Olympic champion or red racer, we all have something to offer one another. Let’s switch boats or even training partners for a day and take it for a spin to see what happens. My whitewater experience helps my marathon canoeing skills and vice versa. In turn this helps my sprint and marathon kayaking. I can ride wash, read the river and ditch my friends in the shallows. I use my legs in a kayak why not try it in a canoe, an outrigger or dragonboat? Being in big waves in one boat will cross over to knowledge in another. In my opinion, the job of paddling organizations is to make the sport grow and take it to more people. Not only this, but by having a greater base it allows us to be a greater force in the sport across the globe. Let’s build the awareness of paddling and not get caught up in the politics. We need to focus on the people. I understand that funding and other factors may preclude certain cross involvement, but let’s focus on simple things that we can make happen together.


they made. Yet while his opponents are his close buddies and he remains humble about his success, Tresnak is also a great competitor. “It’s just human nature,” he said. “When you find yourself lined up next to these guys at the start, all you want to do is beat them,” he chuckles. His competitive streak runs through everything he does, including video games, which he equates back to connecting the dots. “It’s the same kind of thing. You’re going all out, dashing from one place to another, while at the same time trying not to get blown up.” So what lies ahead for the seven-time champ? He has no big plans just yet. “Paddling is fun for me, so I’ll just paddle until it isn’t fun anymore.” For now he works in the family business, helping to design and build new canoes at Outrigger Connection. He hopes to participate in more international races, and this season, perhaps, spend more time in the OC6. But still, his ultimate goal is to win the next Moloka’i Challenge. “Moloka’i is the biggest, it’s the hardest, and I’d be disappointed if I didn’t win it again,” he confessed. “Hey, if I said anything else I’d be lying.” But it’s not about being a champion, or being better than anyone else. “I just want to see if I’ve still got it in me. Can I still do it?” Never look behind. Everything happens in front of you. 23

The paddle shaft arcs smoothly through the air through the forward stroke. The paddler’s torso rotates in sync, legs alternately driving and pulling against the footplate and pullbar; heart rate, stroke rate and speed climbing. The only things missing are the boat and water…

by Mark Ceconi As paddlers in colder climes, when our favorite liquid state of matter freezes solid on us, what to do? The best sport-specific option is to get yourself a kayak ergometer and hone your stroke and fitness indoors over the long, dark months of frigid temps and iced over waterways. Unlike the organized rows of treadmill runners lined up at the local gym, indoor ergs tend to be specialized in purpose, a more solitary pursuit. There’s no doubt regular training on them reaps benefits when the waters return to their liquid selves, and we enter the warmer seasons with a solid base of fitness. However, paddling alone is paddling alone, and for those interested in the racing, it’s difficult to stay motivated in one’s living room, or the darkened confines of the basement or family room. KayakPro, producer of the hallowed Speedstroke kayak ergometer and the Chesapeake Boathouse, will be hosting the U.S. Indoor Kayak Championships on Feb. 20 in Oklahoma City similar to the indoor rowing events sponsored by Concept 2 rowing ergometers. Concept 2 hosts a number of smaller events throughout world and U.S., culminating in the grand poobah of competitions: the C.R.A.S.H. Bs, in 24

Erik Borgnes

Virtual ergometer chases away the w Boston, on Feb. 14. This event attracts huge numbers of competitors from every continent, in all age and gender brackets. With any luck, the U.S. Indoor Kayak Championship will catch on as well, and expand its horizons along these lines. I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t something similar for the forward facing kayak crowd – enter the U.S. Indoor Kayak Championship. However, a number of us may not be able to make the trip out to Okie City for the formalized event but still want to compete. Bless the wonders of the Internet, and the good Dr. Erik Borgnes, top regional and world ranked surfski racer in Wis., and Tom Kerr, registered Molokai and past Dubai Shamaal competi-

tor from Conn. They recently recruited a group of 10 paddlers interested in running a competition of their own. Borgnes created a Yahoo! group (kayak_erg@yahoogroups) where paddlers could participate in six weekly time trials, post their thoughts and see their rankings. Kerr tabulated the weekly results via spreadsheet program and perhaps a little bit of dark juju, to report the Tom Kerr times and rankings. Beginning with the first time trial, each paddler established a baseline that they attempted to best each week. Results were based on individual improvement versus lowest time. The final results of the six week series are featured below. With an eye toward improving base fitness and besting personal goals,

Mark Ceconi

Sue Bartfield

racing winter blues

Matt Skeels

the normal short sprint distances of other events morphed into a much longer 5,000 meter time trials. This is a no man’s land of distance: just short enough to require a close-to-maximum effort for the duration and plenty long enough to exact a whole heaping helping of hurt. This taps into one’s mental fortitude to keep the pressure on over the distance. At the conclusion of this series, the group has decided to continue the format, but mix up the distances with some 10,000 meter marathons and 500 meter sprints.

York while Tom Kerr, Greg Lirot and I call Connecticut home. Finally, Tim Dwyer checked in from historic Jamestown, Rhode Island. As the original series came to a finish, I envision an expansion of participation in the future.

The roster comprised racers from coast to coast. From Washington hailed Larry Goolsby, whose hard-charging times set the mark to beat. Colorado brought us a transplanted South African marathon kayak racer, Andy Howell. Representing the ‘Cheesehead State’ were Wisconsin’s Erik Borgnes and Sue Bartfield, who came on like gangbusters as the series wore on. From Michigan, we had Eric Haas, the eventual winner of the whole shebang. Matt Skeels represented upstate New

These machines are amazing, replicating the feel of the forward stroke with exceptional realism. The catch is a bit harder, which, according to Borgnes, positively trains you to wait to bury the blade in the nanosecond it takes for the cable to wind up. Should you somehow manage to fall off, instead of going for an extended swim in Slushie-like water temps, the worst you’re likely to get is a minor rug burn.

Although all the paddlers were on Speedstroke machines, it is conceivable that those with other brands could participate as well, given that one’s progress is measured against previous times without regard to differences in units, computers and calibration.

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The new, high zoot KayakPro GYM unit also anticipates the capability to hook machines together for virtual training sessions, and currently offers the feature of racing a pair of computer generated paddlers on a monitor screen. (I tried this model out at the Jersey Paddlesports Show. Lars Linde, who was manning the KayakPro booth for Grayson Bourne, unbeknownst to me mischievously set the two computer paddlers to come around in the final kilometers, no matter what your speed. The day before, he pulled the exact same stunt on none other than Greg Barton himself, who was on the verge of nuclear meltdown winding it up around 13 mph to stave off the little demon avatars.) Fostering fun, fitness, and camaraderie, this informal group activity has added elements of interest and excitement to the usual tedious indoor winter workout.




…the whir of the ergometer’s fan blades blend with the drone of the cooling fan directed on the paddler working intensely, eyes trained on the hard numbers displayed on the computer, fueled by a personal selection of tunes on the iPod, or inspirational surfski videos on the tube. Knowing that right this very moment, others in the group are doing the same, is inspiration indeed.

Handicap Overall



Wk #6


Eric Haas







Larry Goolsby





22:54 (PR)


Sue Bartfield





25:52 (PR)


Andy Howell





24.20 (PR)


Tom Kerr





23:58 (PR)


Matt Skeels





22:59 (PR)


Mark Ceconi







Greg Lirot





26:43 (PR)


Erik Borgnes





23:55 (PR)


Tim Dwyer






EKBU is the % of the paddler’s time to the fastest time. The handicap is numerically figured from each paddler’s individual baseline, which is used to factor in the score.


“I Have Made PaddleONE MY Ultimate

Ultra-Marathon Trainer!”

My PaddleONE kayak trainer helps me stay

in shape for race season during the Winter without all the problems of trying to get a good workout in extreme weather.

Santo Albright

2009 MR340 Solo Men’s Champion and PaddleONE user!

Serge Corbin (Canada) Worlds Greatest Marathon Canoe Champion and PaddleONE user!

I fi first heard about a PaddleONE when a paddler from Canada raced in Tennessee in May and did very well. I wondered how he even got in shape for the race since the water in Canada was still completely frozen. I found out that he did it on a PaddleONE so I started researching ergometers. A PaddleONE ergometer e can be set to a different resistance to allow you to work on speed or power drills. You cannot do that on other kayak ergometers that I looked at. Training on an ergometer, I watched the entire seven seasons of the Sopranoes on the big screen last Winter and by the time I got out on the water in March, Ma I had a great base for the upcoming races. Enjoy your workout!



Inna Osypenko-Radomska (Ukrain) Olympic Gold Medalist - Beijing 2008 Women’s K1 500 M and PaddleONE user!

Marc Gillespie and Holly Reynolds Forge Racing and PaddleONE users!

Help the Red Cross help those in need in Haiti

There has been an outpouring of support from the public. To help, people can make an unrestricted donation to the International Response Fund at or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

The 2010 USCA National Canoe & Kayak Championships Peshtigo, WI — August 10-15, 2010

Yes, August 10-15, 2010 —

six great days of sprint and marathon canoe & kayak competition plus — Canoe (& Kayak) Orienteering and the ever-popular “fun, unofficial” Biathlon! • • (715) 735-9763

And don’t forget to save July 3-4, 2010 for the

USCA Stock Aluminum Canoe Marathon Championships and Arkansas’ Big Dog C2 Pro Race in Pocahontas, AR • • (870) 892-4290

Canoe & Kayak Racing  

Canoe and Kayak Racing seeks to promote canoe and kayak racing with editorial and promotional content designed to inform, educate and motiva...

Canoe & Kayak Racing  

Canoe and Kayak Racing seeks to promote canoe and kayak racing with editorial and promotional content designed to inform, educate and motiva...