Canoe & Kayak Racing

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Coach Caven gives his thoughts on sport drinks

Dragonboat team sets the distance bar in the stratosphere

Wavechaser crew hosts yet another dandy in Half Moon Bay

Designed by World Champions


Winter 2010

Dragonboat crew obliterates world distance record, logs 340 non-stop miles while taking third place overall in Missouri River 340

Page 7 Texas Winter 100K All wet at Half Moon Bay John Dye tells his tale of battling the elements in the classic Wavechasher winter race.

A new race on the lower Colorado River links one racing season to another. Page 10

Page 15 3

More Inside

Racing the Dragon

On their way to establishing a new world distance record for non-stop dragonboat racing of 340 miles, an intrepid crew also took third overall in the 2010 Missouri River 340.......................7

Texas Winter 100K

A new 62-mile race in Texas organized by West Hansen helps some get through the winter and bridge one racing season to another. Racers will find many similarities between the TWO and the Colorado River 100.....................................................10

Mainland’s Mini Moloka’i

Vineet Buch gives us his take on the Half Moon Bay race, one of the more challenging events in the annual Wavechaser winter series in California. Some have likened the conditions to the famous Kaiwi Channel..............................................................11

Ask Coach Caven

Ever wonder if sport drinks can really help? High-performance coach Shaun Caven helps us sort through the hype and gain a little understanding about these popular drinks.......................12

Free Backstroke Lessons

Since the Half Moon Bay race was so exciting, one article wasn’t enough. John Dye gives a race report of the event as fame of the Wavechaser events continue to grow...................14

Racing Tips from Epic

The experts at Epic Kayaks claim that the most common mistake racers make is no or poor rotation in their forward stroke. Whole body rotation is critical to going fast and long...............21

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: Stephen Mahelona, associate editor Shaun Caven, contributor Christina Glauner, contributor Vineet Buch , contributor John Dye, contributor

Canoe & Kayak Racing

Cover: “Island girl,” Marlayna McNeil keeping good form in the 2010 Half Moon Bay race hosted by California Canoe & Kayak, part of the Wavechaser winter racing series. Photo by Lori Tanner


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

From the Editor

We began Canoe & Kayak Racing two years ago with one over-arching purpose: to better connect paddling communities in the United States. I’m proud to say that with the help of a lot of hands our publication has been successful toward this goal. I realize we’ve just been a part of a larger effort to connect paddling communities and a variety of paddling disciplines, but it’s been a joy to be a part of changes in racing. So, like the box turtle that is somehow precariously stranded on top of a fence post, I remind myself that we didn’t get to this place on our own.

Paddlers are paddlers Whether someone paddles with one blade or two, paddles standing up, kneeling or sitting down, we believe there is great benefit when we connect various racing communities. Not the least of these benefits is greater participation. Often I’ve witnessed a racer paddle one kind of watercraft one year in a race, and return the following year to the same event and race in a completely different style of boat altogether. Or, one racer enter different kinds of paddling events on different kinds of racing platforms within the same year. Surprisingly, I hear some people claim that to really excel, paddlers must focus on one type of racing. For 99 percent of us, this is not true. When I’m confronted by people who claim this, I rattle off a few names of racers who have performed at a high level

while racing multiple disciplines. Some paddlers that pop into my mind are Danny Ching, Pat and Ryan Dolan, oh, and how about a famous multidiscipline paddler you might know, Greg Barton. All of these people are examples that you can race sit-andswitch canoes, outriggers, surfskis, sprint kayaks, dragonboats and stand-up paddle boards and do so with excellence.

Benefits of multi-discipline racing Paddlers who train for racing often look for a bit of cross-training variety. What better variety is there than to leave the cockpit of a sprint kayak and jump on an outrigger canoe, or step from a stand-up paddle board to a sitand-switch Jensen canoe? Not all of us are training to be Olympic athletes, so racing different watercraft isn’t a distraction and can actually make us better paddlers in our favorite discipline. Catch, power, exit, recovery. The concepts are nearly the same in all these disciplines. Another benefit is the fact that racing in different boats also takes you to different water. I firmly believe that the more time someone is on the water, no matter what the body of water is, the better a paddler will be at understanding the water, and reading it. For most racing, paddling fast alone doesn’t win the race. The best racers know how to use the water to their advantage. Paddlers learn different things about water in different kinds

of races. This becomes part of one’s personal knowledge about the dynamics of water and how paddle and craft react to it in a nearly infinite set of conditions.

At the end of the day With all the variety of paddlesports out there, there’s no excuse to limit oneself to one kind of racing. But, the best reason to race on a surfski one weekend and in a sit-and-switch tandem canoe the next, is that it’s fun! One of my favorite things about getting together with my paddling friends at different events is to try out others’ boats. This is my chance to feel one craft on the water and compare it to another. It’s fun to hop out of my sea kayak after cruising around a lake and then jump into a four-seat Texas unlimited racing canoe to speed across water in unison with three others pulling single-blade paddles. As corny as it may sound, I desire that all paddlers have a first-hand appreciation of a variety of paddling disciplines. Not only will we all have more fun, we will become a more cohesive and collaborative group of people who love the feel of propelling a small craft through the water with our own power. Dan Grubbs


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Racing the Dragon by Christina Glauner

Team Beauties and Barnacles in the 2010 Missouri River 340 Team Beauties and Barnacles entered the 2010 Missouri River 340 race in a brand new division: Dragon Boat/Voyageur Class. Racing to raise awareness and funds for Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis, the bulk of our planning and hard work began in the late summer of 2009. Marrying a dragon boat with a 340 mile race required creativity and a collective team desire to pull it off. See next page 7

Our mission was simple; race big and bold to help advertise the hospital. Plus, with our pirate theme, we all got to swing swords and shout things like “you scurvy dogs!” Our dragon boat, “Lynn’s Lion,” funded by Lynn Lyon of Kansas City Paddler and built by the St. Louis Carpenters Joint Apprenticeship Program, is a design offered by Great White North, weighs 800 pounds and is made of wood and fiberglass. Fully loaded with all our paddlers, paddles, steering oar, hydration and food, our boat weighed more than 2.5 tons. In some ways we didn’t fit the ideas of what some would consider a fast or competitive run for a non-stop 340 mile race on the Missouri River. Scott Mansker, race coordinator, introduced our team at the MR340 awards ceremony with words that included “against all odds” and a mention that some people never thought we’d finish the race. That idea surprised me because all our pre-race training runs and experiences in the dragon boat consistently gave us great optimism as to what was possible for us. We expected a 40-hour race and communicated this within our team as “MR340N40”. But we were not only up against a grueling race; we were up against pre-conceived notions of what an ultra-marathon boat and team looked like. We continued swinging our swords. The primary factor in seeing our mission through was that we looked


for specific qualities in people during recruitment; those committed as team players for a larger cause with good attitudes and a willingness to keep paddling. Not being turned off by being uncomfortably close to 19 other smelly bodies was a bonus. Also, we hoped for a well-rounded team full of different skills. We were a mix of MR340 veterans, short distance racers, recreational paddlers, adventure racers and dragon boat racers. Everyone on our team brought needed skills and some of those skills weren’t necessarily based in paddling or racing. Our ages ranged from 24 to 55. A few minor boat modifications were made from the provided Great White North kit. We extended the seat width from 5 inches to 8 inches by creating bench caps with a couple layers of closed-cell foam. These caps were removable and did not mar the bench finish. The bow and stern were reinforced with extra wood and fiberglass for the additions of metal tie-downs installed. This was an extra precaution to help with hoisting the boat onto a trailer. Custom mesh gear bags were installed under the bench seat caps so each racer had a place to hold food and miscellaneous gear between checkpoints. The boat plans called for a small hatch opening, but we increased this, gaining better access to miscellaneous gear/safety equipment while on the water. The gunwales were custom for our boat. These were cosmetic, but

being made of wood and with rounded edges, they were easier on the hands and knees. Our custom paddles were designed and created by Charlie Lockwood of Thetis Paddles. In his plans, Charlie considered the coupling of our dragon boat with a long distance paddling event. The ergonomic grip from the traditional dragon t-handle was, in my opinion, the most liked of his adaptations. The wooden paddles within the wooden boat were undeniably a combination that we thought appropriate. Strategies within the boat were key. Paddling a dragon boat 340 miles had never been done. A number of challenges presented themselves and one by one we adjusted for them and tested our plans on the Missouri River. Some of these included stroke type (adjustments of the traditional dragon boat piston stroke for our long race), timed seat switches en route with our bench partners (to allow paddling on both sides during the race), individual jobs within the boat (pace setters, the engine room and the steers with general and specific duties), using traditional dragon boat commands from the stern, quick hydration and food switches with crew at checkpoints and a planned emergency routine in the event of capsize. All our hard work paid off. We finished the MR340 in third place overall with a time of 38 hours, 5 minutes, beating our 40 hour goal. We raised

Team B&B leaving the checkpoint at Jefferson City, Mo., on their way to a dragonboat endurance world record.

awareness and more than $5,000 for Shriners Hospital for Children in St. Louis. We also completed our attempt at the Guinness World Record for longest distance paddled by a dragon boat. After our race, we visited the Shriners Hospital in St. Louis. Our tour of the hospital and the ability to see kids receiving much needed care at no cost to their families was a rewarding way to wrap up a year of accomplished teamwork.

Photos by John Niebling

Team B&B exchanging supplies at the Miami, Mo., checkpoint during the 2010 Missouri River 340.


Texas Winter 100K New 62-mile race in Texas helps paddlers bridge one paddling season to another. The inaugural Texas Winter 100 (aka TWO), a 100 kilometer paddle race, will take place Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. This race on the lower Colorado River in central Texas is run between the cities of Austin and Bastrop.

awards. A special emphasis will be place on the tandem USCA classes with plans to offer extra prize money, though this will be dependent upon sponsorship.

The 62-mile course will begin on Lady Bird Lake – locally known as Town Lake – in downtown Austin just before sunrise for the Adventure Class and just after sunrise for the Competitor class. Each class has until 9 p.m. to complete the course. “The race was developed in response to a gap in the race schedule for marathon races in Texas,” said West Hansen, race director. “Other than a 16-mile December solo race, there weren’t any regularly scheduled marathon canoe races until spring; nor were there any races scheduled for this section of the Colorado river.” Which, according to Hansen, brings up another reason for the race: to work in concert with the highly successful Colorado River 100, held in September. “The TWO ends where the CR100 begins and the classes and rules for the TWO match those of the CR100,” Hansen said. The TWO will offer prize money for the Competition Class for the fastest finisher, the amount determined by the number of entrants in each sub-class. Racers in both classes, will receive “really cool winter racing hats” and be eligible for prize drawings that include free race admissions to the Missouri River 340, Colorado River 100 and the Texas Water Safari, among many other 10

Race director West Hansen

For more information on the Texas Winter 100 and entry information, please visit the website or e-mail race officials at

Mainland’s Mini Moloka’i

by Vineet Buch

Half Moon Bay is a shallow crescent-shaped bay about 25 mi south of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast, ringed by reefs, including the infamous Mavericks, and wide open to Southerly storms that often pummel California in the Winter. One such storm barreled through the area during the annual Wavechaser Half Moon Bay Surfski, OC-1 and OC-2 race on Oct. 23rd, making a usually exciting race even more eventful, and a race course littered with the shattered egos of paddlers humbled by the waves. Wavechaser Winter Series race days start with shorter and relatively sheltered novice and short course races, and build to a climax with an 8-10 mi long course designed to test the rough water skills of elite paddlers. The Half Moon Bay race starts at the California Canoe and Kayak facility in Pillar Point Harbor and is hosted by veteran paddler Kenny Howell; where the race goes in the open water outside the harbor breakwater depends on conditions and the judgement of race organizers Mike Martinez and Dave Jensen. With 15-20 mi Southerly winds, choosing the race course was easy - straight upwind for as long as the lead paddlers could endure, and then a breakneck surf downwind for a finishing sprint inside the harbor. The short course, a 4.5 mi mini-version of the long course,

went off relatively uneventfully. Coastside local John Dixon won the short course and reassured the anxious long course field that conditions were quite manageable in the ocean - only to have the storm hit in full force just as the last of the short course paddlers straggled in. But Mike Martinez, running escort, did a quick recon and expressed confidence in being able to take care of any paddlers who got into trouble, and the race was on! It seemed that the prospect of 4-5 mi of upwind paddling in the storm-tossed Pacific kept even the fastest sprinters from bursting out of the gates, and we were bunched pretty tightly in the first half mile through the harbor. Rounding a floating abalone farm and poking our noses into open water, we were in for a rude shock as the waves piled up against the narrow harbor mouth hit the leading surfskis. The pack scattered as paddlers fought to keep their noses pointed into the Southerly wind while coping with 6’ Westerly swells hitting them from the side, coupled with reflected, refracted and re-formed waves bouncing off the many surrounding reefs and the hulking breakwater. A couple of boats flipped right at the harbor mouth, but the unlucky paddlers dusted themselves off, climbed back

see Mini Moloka’i on page 19 11

I was asked a question last week about sports drinks. What to use, when and how? Is there a benefit? When it comes to sports drinks, there are a huge number of different products on the market from which to choose, each one promising to increase your performance, fight off fatigue or help you recover from training faster. In this article I will outline the main types of drinks available and explain which ones are best suited to different training and competition goals. One thing is for sure, we’ve come a long way since I used to drink flat cola during marathons. Water For many exercisers, water is probably the sports drink of choice and with good reason – it’s exactly what the body is using a lot of during exercise. If your workouts are less than 60 minutes in duration, you are well fed having had a suitable pre-training meal and you don’t feel you need any extra energy to fuel your workout then water is a fine choice as a sports drink. As a general rule of thumb, consume 250ml per 15 minutes of exercise to replace the fluids you use or lose. Drink more if you begin to get thirsty. Water has the advantage of being very cheap or even free and containing no calories. Hypotonic drinks


This variety of sports drink contains a small amount of carbohydrate in the form of sugar which can provide

energy for exercise. Hypotonic drinks contain around 2g per 100ml which is just enough to give you a small lift but is insufficient to fuel a long or hard workout. This type of sports drink is best suited to workouts of an hour or less where fluid replacement is more important than refueling. Hypotonic drinks are absorbed well and are therefore ideal for countering dehydration. They will often contain chemicals called electrolytes which are the minerals lost when we sweat such as potassium and sodium and may reduce cramping.

100ml, hypertonic drinks are excellent for refueling after exercise but the presence of so much carbohydrate can mean that water absorption is delayed. Hypertonic drinks can be thought of more as food than fluid and are best used after training or alternated with water during longer events. Hypertonic drinks are also great as a convenient pre-training snack if eating solid food isn‘t possible e.g. if training early in the morning. Pure unsweetened fruit juice is a good example of a hypertonic drink but there are also commercial versions available.

Isotonic drinks

Protein drinks

Containing more sugar than hypotonic drinks (around 6g per 100ml) isotonic drinks bridge the gap between fluid and fuel. These drinks are ideally suited to longer workouts or matches where carbohydrate and fluid replacement are necessary to avoid a drop off in performance. Because isotonic drinks provide energy they may not be ideal for exercisers who are trying to manage their weight but for sports people they may stave off fatigue in the latter stages of training or competition. To make your own isotonic drink, just mix 500ml of unsweetened fruit juice with 500ml of water or, alternatively just buy one of the many isotonic drinks available, such as Gatorade, PowerAde or Lucozade.

Generally considered the reserve of bodybuilders and weight trainers, protein drinks have changed a great deal during the last 20 years. Originally, protein drinks were made from dried eggs which were not very pleasant tasting or very easily digestible. Soya protein was also popular and later protein shakes based on milk where in vogue. More recently protein drinks derived from dairy whey have become popular and seem to be the best in terms of bioavailability and digestibility. Protein drinks are a convenient way of getting extra amino acids (the body’s building blocks) into the diet without having to spend all day cooking and eating meat. They offer portability and come in a variety of flavors from savory to sweet to suit most people’s tastes. Not all products are created equal though and as whey

Hypertonic drinks Containing 10g of carbohydrate per

proteins can be damaged by excessive heating it’s best to look for ones that have been cold processed. If you feel you need more protein in your diet (you should be aiming for around 1g per lb of body weight) a protein supplement may be useful to you but generally, real food is a better choice and remember that protein supplementation doesn’t automatically equal larger muscles!

are underweight and find it difficult to eat enough food often find that they can consume additional calories easily by using MRPs but this is a double edged sword as those who are interested in losing a few pounds may end up consuming more calories that they need as their MRP may not fill them up very much although it contains plenty of calories.

Protein/carbohydrate drinks

Creatine is one of the few sports supplement products that has stood the test of time and been tested successfully numerous times. Users of creatine often report that they recover faster from workouts, feel stronger during training and competition and gain muscle mass faster than usual when using this product. Creatine drinks often include carbohydrates which enhance its absorption and can be very useful for anyone involved in sports that utilise the anaerobic energy pathways such as field sports. However,

Usually containing a 1:2 ratio of protein to carbohydrates, this type of sports drink can be thought of as a meal replacement, making it ideal for athletes on the move. Training hard and often requires frequent feeding and it’s not always convenient to chow down on a normal meal. Often referred to as meal replacement products (MRPs), protein/carbohydrate drinks offer a portable and instant alternative to carrying large amounts of food with you wherever you go. Athletes who

Creatine drinks

not everyone gets noticeable benefits from creatine supplementation but because of the potential benefits – both anecdotal and empirical – it’s worth trying at least once. To get the most from creatine supplementation, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions stay “on” for 6-8 weeks to give the product time to work. If after that period you notice no changes in performance then chances are that creatine is not for you. So, seven different sports drinks that may be of benefit to you which, with the exception of water, should be considered as “add ons” to a good healthy diet. No sports drink will ever be able to replace a healthy diet but may add to it and could possibly provide you with an edge in both training and competition. E-mail Coach Caven, USA Canoe/ Kayak National Team coach, at

13 11


by John Dye photos by Lori Tanner and Mike Martinez

Backstroke Lessons

or “How I swam the 2010 Wavechaser California Canoe and Kayak Half Moon Bay Race” “No. No! NO!” These were the last words through my brain before my brain got wet. It stopped processing meaningful speech and began processing sounds such as “Gerflag. Phith, Phith.” And, “phlefflep.”

was not swimming, not getting wet, not rolling around in a kelp bed, a mile offshore. Gotta’ look into that stand up stuff.

after loading Carter Johnson’s Huki surfski, he told me he was just entering today’s race for a “stretch,” a “limbering up.”

I dislike swimming accidentally, or in any situation where it is more advantageous to be on top of the water rather than in it. I really dislike swimming when I can’t see anyone near, when I’m out in the ocean proper, it’s raining and blowing, blah, blah, blah – you get the picture.

Why do waves get larger when we look at them from underwater? Half Moon Bay offers a great venue to enjoy a broad range of paddlesport. When it’s flat, the ocean is inviting and marine life abounds, typical unspoiled northern California coast

“I’ve got a big paddle on Friday, another 24 hour deal,” Johnson said. “I don’t feel 100 percent today and can’t push it. I’ll cruise with Dave and Mike, talk about life, round the buoy and head in.”

Words run through one part of my brain, “Hey John, guess it’s time to find out if you can re-enter that boat in bouncing, grey seas and gusty winds. Remember, it’s not a problem, it’s a learning opportunity.” While another part of my brain chants, “Bonehead, bonehead, bonehead…” It’s now that my grey matter reminds me of the stand up paddle boarders I watched earlier, going around the course inside the harbor, with lots of control and predictability. I had a coffee in my hand and was soaking up the atmosphere in front of the California Canoe & Kayak Half Moon Bay Yacht Club beach front fireplace. This was just an hour ago. I 14

with a good, well protected deep water harbor. Add some wind and wave and the conditions provide a challenge for all skill levels. If conditions are a little much, you can stay in the harbor, still get a good workout and see the sights protected from the swell. When its huge you can just leave the boat on the car and walk over to the cliffs and watch, heck you can feel the 20 foot to occasionally 50+ foot constipation-relieving waves thunder in at Mavericks surf spot. No such thing as a wasted trip to CCK at Half Moon Bay. Earlier, as we rode down 19th Ave.

A few quick texts to monitor his evening entertainment options and Johnson is back to his pastry and coffee, maybe a quick nap. Oh, to be 30 something. As we approach the toll booth, he confides he’s lost his ATM card, has no cash for the day and can I spot him until next race. Since I’m hoping to later draft him for at least 10 seconds before he vanishes over the waves, I don’t give him too much flack. Upon arriving at California Canoe and Kayak’s Half Moon Bay beach site and the newly expanded Half Moon Bay Yacht Club, we discover the story for the day. The conditions? Marginal for spectators, pretty active for us. There were 15-20 knot rising winds with lots of cresting 3-5 footers outside the harbor. Strong chop rebound off the breakwater, going out quite

a ways. We had 4-5 miles visibility which decreased to ½ mile with the rain spitting from low, grumpy grey clouds. Fortunately the yacht club bar and deck provided a great place to hang out right on the beach, finish line 50 yards away. The on-water conditions did not stop 16 stand up paddle boarders and a good selection of outriggers, surfskis and at least one kayaker from rounding a short course for surfskis and outriggers, going out to the first navigation buoy, and shorter courses inside the harbor for the SUP crowd. Last year the race drew only a few SUP. I know it’s a good sport when I see people in the rain and cold, wet through and through, having a great time. For some, this was their first race,

so they took note when later, inside, I pointed out the Wizard of Oz like conditions are not the norm for Wavechaser events. They snuggled closer to the fire and their pints of Guinness; not sure if my stories of 80 degrees and minimal clothing had any relationship to paddlesport in Northern California during October. But that’s enough of my rambling. Here’s the deal: It was a great race. Carter Johnson led the long course out of the harbor with Dave Jensen, Mike McNulty and our host for the day Kenny Howell, Craig Tanner and Jeff Schwig. The Usual Suspects. Vineet and I followed with a good sized pack right behind. Once we hit the chop outside the breakwater, Carter found the conversation lacking and pulled away, choosing to “limber

up” on his own. The long course was 9.5 miles and for at least four miles, or 50 minutes, going into the rising wind it was like skiing moguls. Uphill. And the moguls kept moving. A respected mentor once told me, “Adventure is something you don’t necessarily enjoy when it’s happening to you.” That applied to this particular 3/4 hour. I swam (already covered that) got back in first try (luck) and got under way. I then saw Jeff and Craig join the swim-a-day club, working on their backstroke. Not wishing to repeat the experience, they bagged it, turned around and headed in. I knew then I should continue, since the only way I can beat those two anymore is when

see next page

A spent Junior Wright takes a few breaths after a well earned finish. 15

they drop out, and I wasn’t about to give up rolling around in that big, gooey bowl of pride. I wanted to look behind at least once during the upwind and see what was happening behind, but I just did not have the boat control with that chop. About two or maybe 200 minutes later, Mike Martinez, our safety boater, videographer and course architect placed the upwind buoy, the mark we needed to round. Until then none of the competitors had a good handle on exactly where we needed to go, and could only look up, ask our dear Lord in heaven, “How long does this stuff go on?” (Organizers Mike, Dave, and Helen had wisely simplified the course from previous years. Straight into the wind, straight back. This kept the fleet, if not bunched up, at least along an approximate linear path. It was a comfort to see Mike cruising back and forth rarely more than 1/8 of a mile away. But in such conditions I assumed me and my little mental soap opera were on our own, that I was pretty invisible on the water, that my status as aquatic speed bump was a constant for the day.) After rounding the buoy we got treated to the rising breeze now at our backs, some active 3 to maybe 5 footers, pushing us straight back up the coast. Just hold down the auto-surf button on the best of the waves, sit back, and watch the show. Carter told me later he was riding 9 out of every 10 waves all the way to the breakwater. All was right with the world. I was not going to be the last ski in if I could just keep


the darn thing upright, which compared to the now completed mogul climbing exercise, was a cake walk. I headed a bit left with each ride, and after 15 minutes found the channel markers and - “Rromph!” Still one hard workin’ OC1 paddler ahead of me. I caught several boats on the down wind but could not catch Chris Cornejo, first OC1 in, about 200 meters ahead. There is a special place for late fall races whose finish lines include hot showers. The home made soup, Judy-made burgers, raffle, really nice mugs for prizes, fireplace, covered veranda with a view of the finish line, sand beach and welcoming atmosphere add to that sure, but the vision of warm water spraying out of an overhead nozzle, directly onto me, that’s a keeper. Author’s Note: Wavechaser needs you and you need Wavechaser more than you know. If it floats, bring it and yourself to Sausalito for the next race on Jan. 22. More information about Wavechaser can be found here. Also, its winter, folks. You can’t be too well prepared for open water paddling this time of year. Wavechaser encourages to you to paddle with friends, stay hydrated, dress warm, in bright colors, tell someone on shore your plans, and always, always use a leash and wear your lifejacket. Safe boating to all, see you on the water.


TOP: author John Dye. BOTTOM: Jennifer Merrilees, Deb MacKimmie, Jenny Feix, Lisa Gilmour soak in the Stand Up Paddle Board fun at the California Canoe & Kayak Half Moon Bay Yacht Club waterfront.


Kenny Howell, California Canoe & Kayak program director and Half Moon Bay host

Mini Moloka’i on and continued into the howling wind. And in his bid to capture the carnage, our intrepid escort, Mike, almost went overboard from his Boston Whaler as he was taking a picture when the boat was slammed by a 5’ wave! But he, too, continued, although a little chastened and a whole lot more careful about hanging on to the boat rails. Once beyond the maelstrom at the harbor mouth, the upwind leg of the race was a hard grind with even elite paddlers Carter Johnson (Yukon River Quest record-holder and one of the best ultra-marathon kayakers in the world) and Dave Jensen (top 25 in Molokai) seeing no more than 4 to 5 mph on their GPSs. Alert racers dodged the occasional wave that broke hard; some, like frequent top finisher Craig Tanner, hesitated when confronted by a wall of water crashing over them, and documented the resulting swim on video. After a while, I settled into a steady rhythm of hard, powerful strokes with frequent steering to counteract the swells from the side trying to knock me off the upwind direction. Watching buddies flip all around me, I heaved a sigh of relief that I had spent two Winters under John Dixon’s tutelage learning to cope with the nasty conditions these Southerly storms generate in Half Moon Bay. By the time we rounded the bright orange turn buoy in the middle of the ocean, the field was totally strung out, with Carter in the lead and Dave about 4 minutes behind, closely followed by Mike McNulty and Kenny Howell, with a

bigger gap to Chris Cornejo in an OC-1, John Dye in his Fenn Mako 6 and then yours truly in a Fenn Mako Elite and that was the order we finished in as well. All the hard working going upwind was amply rewarded by the amazing rides on the downwind leg - a couple of hard strokes to catch a wind wave, surf left across its face, angle right to link up with another wind wave, then a hard right to drop into a swell - and rinse, and repeat. “Big Wave” Dave Jensen showed off his excellent surfing skills to claw back all but a minute of Carter’s impressive lead from the upwind leg and put a good 4 minutes into Mike McNulty. Notable among those who finished despite flipping was first-time Half Moon Bay racer Nicholas Goulden, who showed that persistence and a cheerful attitude can do wonders in the waves. At the post-race barbecue and beer bash - customary at Wavechaser events - Kenny Howell was overheard remarking to Carter Johnson that “this was a mini-Molokai”. To which Carter’s only response, after he had stopped swearing, was “mini, hell, this was bigger than most Molokais!” Even the best of us felt stretched by this race, yet all of us made it back home safely under our own steam, and each of us had a thoroughly good time out there, even though interspersed with moments of terror. And that’s what surfski racing is all about. 19

Want to see & compare what races are going on in, say ... Florida, Michigan, and Ontario on the same weekend? Or... AR, LA, MO, MS, KS, and IL? Or... CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT? Or... FL, GA, SC, NC, and KY? Or... IN, MI, NY, OH, 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 (a link is in the map image below) and check out:

Worldwide Paddling Event Calendar

Race Directors: NOW is the time to get your race on to the calendar. It’s easy, and it’s free. Go to “Add Your Event” –

Set up an account (if you don’t already have one). That way, you can update your posting with new information later. (If you already have an account you can copy last year’s race details and update them for 2011 – making the job even quicker!)

Free publici ty for your ev ent

Racing Tips from

Whole body rotation The most common technical mistake in kayaking is not using the whole body to paddle. Beginners often start pulling the blade through the water using only their arms, get comfortable with their style and never change to a more efficient stroke. Although on the surface it may seem that the arm muscles are dominant in propelling the boat forward, a closer inspection reveals that using the whole body makes more sense. The large muscles of the back, shoulders, chest, torso and legs dwarf the biceps and forearm muscles. Therefore, it stands to reason that the most powerful stroke possible utilizes all these muscles instead of only the weaker arms.

You can add even more power to your stroke by using your legs and hips. For a stroke on the right, start with your right knee slightly bent and as you pull through the water, extend or straighten this leg. This pivots the right hip back in the seat (which is where a smoother seat helps) and this hip rotation multiplies the rotation you can get with your shoulders. In essence, the whole body rotates as the blade is stroked through the water.

A good drill for body rotation during the forward stroke is to sit down with your paddle horizontally across your shoulders behind your head. Wrap your arms up and over the top of the shaft with your hands resting on either blade. Now, swivel As the blade is planted, the shoulders rotate back- the paddle to the right and left. You will feel your torso and shoulders moving and not your arms and ward and the body twists to pull it through the water. Your arms bend only very slightly toward the hands. Notice that if you strive for maximum rotaend of the stroke, so most of the pulling is done us- tion of your shoulders, your legs will move up and down to help the body rotate further. ing the shoulders, back and torso.

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