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Canoe & Kayak

Racing Fall 2010

Watermelon in the New York Mayor’s Cup?

Marathon canoe racing gets its king back

Wake riding tips from surfski star Matt Bouman

















National sprint championships take on added importance as a stepping stone to the Pan Am Championships and hopefully to London.

Page 6 A long way to go before I sleep The AuSable River Marathon tests paddlers’ and fans’ mettle in a frenetic 17 hour torture session. Page 14

The king returns At 53, Surge Corbin races in the familiar Classique as fans clamor to see the showdown with other paddling royalty. Page 21


More Inside Editor Dan Grubbs express some thoughts about funding athletes on the road to the Olympics and what the role for Americans can be to pitch 5 Oklahoma City University launches first canoe/kayak sprint program, hires Shaun Caven as head 11 Joe Shaw takes the helm of the United States Canoe Association, looks to marry his long-time paddling background and his business experience to the 12 Ask Coach Caven continues the popular series. This time, Coach Caven gives his insights on 13 Mark Ceconi gives us a first-hand account of his and tandem partner Sean Milano’s slug fest with the course of the New York Mayor’s 24 The war on knock offs is editor Dan Grubbs’ rant about the manufacture and marketing of counterfeit products within paddlesports 28 Coach Shaun Caven gives us some of his first-hand highlights from the International Canoe Federation’s World Championships held in Poznan, 29 Racing Tips from Epic Kayaks features some interesting advice from South African surfski star Matt Bouman on wake riding. He says all’s fair in love and war ... and wake 30 Canoe News editor Gareth Stevens gives a tale of the Tour du Teche, the new race in Louisiana. Learn how a bayou can turn an argument into 33

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 Steve Southard, contributor Mark Ceconi, contributor Canoe & Kayak Racing 1221 Pheasant Ct.

Cover: 200 meter racer Tim Hornsby, a member of the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club and the U.S. sprint team, during a warm down after one of his heats at the USACK National Championships in Oklahoma City. Photo by Stacey Doyle Hepp. 4

Liberty, Missouri 64068 816-729-4422 CKR’s Facebook profile

becomes a distraction in the mind of athletes who should be devoting their days to training, film study and rest. “When you have the means to do something, you have a ‘Yes we can’ attitude,” said Maggie Hogan, a member of the senior U.S. women’s K4 team. “It’s not that we don’t have people behind us, supporting us 100 percent, but when we need a critical piece of equipment, we can’t obtain it because we don’t have the funding.”

America doesn’t send athletes to the Olympics, Americans do. These words were spoken to me by Joe Jacobi, executive director of USA Canoe/Kayak, the national federation of the Olympic sport of canoe and kayak racing. As I’ve thought about this idea, I largely agree with Joe. Certainly in his experience as a gold medal whitewater canoeist himself, Joe was pitchman, motivational speaker and high-performance athlete all rolled into one. Much of the funding an athlete needs comes out of their own pocket or the pockets of those they convince to help. Joe’s story is not unlike many Olympic hopefuls who put their life on hold to pursue a dream only a very few in this country can. But, even for the best athletes, it isn’t performance that causes them to fall short of their goal. More often than not, it’s a money. Athletes in most Olympic sports in the United States are not adequately funded and have to resort to fundraising dinners, making pitches to business and asking family members for help. Of the athletes I’ve met, they don’t view this as beneath them and they are happy to make connections with the Americans whom they ask to write checks and contribute to their Olympic dream. But, according to conversations I’ve had with some coaches, funding

Some national sport federations are well funded with big-name sponsors and larger sums channeled through the United States Olympic Committee. USA Swimming and USA Gymnastics are good examples. However, USA Canoe/Kayak is woefully underfunded, having to cut key members from its tiny administrative staff and only meager funds to spread among dozens of athletes. This is not a winning formula for a nation that loves to wave the Stars and Stripes in international competition. If a U.S. boat wins a medal in a future international regatta, such as the World Championships or the Olympic Games, it won’t be because the USOC was generous with its funding to that athlete. In fact, the athlete in that boat will only be there as a result of funds they generated themselves, perhaps through a car wash or a bake sale. Did you just see those words? Car wash. Bake sale. Really? As Americans, is this what we want for our athletes that are Olympic hopefuls? Don’t get me wrong, these athletes are thankful for every dime that comes their way through whatever honest means. But, it is we Americans who should not stand for this condition. As happy as an athlete is to sell themselves to a local grocery store or restaurant, it’s a shame it’s necessary. Yet, greater funding from the USOC is not the solution. The corporate sponsor is not the final solution – that’s a

From the Editor feast and famine business model. The solution is in the words of my friend Joe Jacobi who told me that America doesn’t send athletes to the Olympics, Americans do. Think of it this way. A check for $1,000 sent to the USOC is lost in the ocean of funds that are spread around to a variety of sports and administrative functions. But, a $1,000 check handed to a 20-year-old athlete who has to live with two roommates, maintain a part-time job while attending college classes and tries to train at an Olympic level can mean the difference between staying with it or ending their Olympic dream. From my observation, the great nation of the United States of America is at a competitive disadvantage in many Olympic sports because of funding. The wealthiest, most privileged nation in the world hamstrings many Olympic athletes because of money. Ask yourself a simple question. How would you feel if you were a worldclass athlete who is doing everything they can to prepare themselves physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, and because you didn’t have enough money for a plane ticket, you couldn’t compete in the World Championships or the Olympic Games? To learn more about Maggie Hogan, the women’s K4 team and other USA Canoe/Kayak athletes on track for the 2012 Olympic Games, visit the federation’s website here: Dan Grubbs 5

Watching the

story by Dan Grubbs photos by Stacey Doyle Hepp

2010 USACK National Sprint Championships I sat within spitting distance from the finish line the night before the first heat at this year’s USA Canoe/Kayak National Sprint Championships, Aug. 26-29. Only the security guard and I were left where only a few hours prior it was a hurricane of activity as racing clubs set up shop and about 300 athletes descended on Oklahoma City’s regatta park, site recently selected to host the 2014 ICF World Marathon Championships.

ing their wings here carefully watched Olympic hopefuls that were present to qualify for Pan American Games, steps the U.S. team hopes will lead to London in 2012. “So much is compacted into three days of racing,” said Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team coach Alan Anderson. “Imagine a race coming down every five to seven minutes, nine hours

a day, for three days. There are so many ups and downs; it takes a while to take it all in.”

Paddling clubs battle Bantam, junior and senior paddlers looked to demonstrate that a summer of training had paid off and score points for their club. One of the unique aspects of these annual championships

The scene was quiet. But, that was the calm before a storm of racing when wing-blade paddles frothed the water of the Oklahoma River. Teenagers test-

Men’s C1 paddler Elejandro Schwedhelm

U.S. senior women’s team member Carrie Johnson


is the crowning of a national champion club. The Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club from Gainesville, Ga., had won this event eight times. Their large junior program made them the favorite going in and they didn’t disappoint their followers by bringing home yet another national title. A small tent city formed along the course where vendors, manufacturers and regatta officials added to the village that is this event. Daytime was controlled chaos during the race sets. Nighttime was a chance to reflect on the day’s performances in cool hotel rooms as the regatta park become deserted, but punctuated by the spectacular Chesapeake Boathouse, which is soon to be joined by the new Devon Boathouse and a world-class fourstory finish tower, both of which are under construction. For my part, I chose to immerse myself in the buzz of activity and set up camp among the club tents drinking in the hurried comings and goings of paddlers preparing for their next heat or returning from warm down. Families and friends cheered on loved ones and coaches barked out instructions over nine lanes of racing that included 1,000-, 500- and 200-meter sprints as well as 5K events. Composite boats of every color were on display either on racks or strewn akimbo on the grass. Clubs from every corner of the U.S., including Hawaii, fielded teams. There were even a handful of masters-division paddlers who still had what it takes to compete.

The short and long For my money, the third day of the regatta was the highlight with both the 5K races and the featured 200 meters. For audience excitement, race officials set up the 5K course with short laps all staged in front of the crowd. The senior men’s K1 race was a tactical battle between Patrick Dolan of the Hawaiian club and Borys Markin of the Rockaway club. The two exchanged leads pulling and riding and

Bantum Dylan Puckett handily winning his races.

K2 junior team Stanton Collins and Luke Potts preparing to launch.

ended their race with Markin finishing with a time of 21:13.92, winning by less than 0.5 seconds – a tight race for 5,000 meters. Maggie Hogan clocked a time of 23:00.21 and won the senior women’s K1 by a minute over Emily Vinson and Nicole Mallory. Yevgeniy Mikhaylov outdistanced the field of men’s canoe athletes by nearly three minutes with a time of 26.32.85. Anna Crawford won the women’s C1 5K. After a number of bantam and junior heats and finals, the stage was set for the marquee race of the regatta: the senior men’s 200 meters. Most observers

understood it was a two-man race between Tim Hornsby and Ryan Dolan, both members of the U.S. men’s team, but representing different clubs. Parents, family members and teammates lined the shore and cheered the paddlers as soon as the starter’s gun fired. Water sprayed off the paddles of nine racers as their stroke rate went from zero to insane in two seconds. Boats leapt from the start as Hornsby and Dolan crept ahead. By 100 meters, Dolan had slipped into first place with Hornsby working to catch him and stay ahead of the surging David Petro7

vics who eventually took the bronze. As they all flew down the course and achieved the 175 meter mark, Dolan had jumped to a commanding lead and it was clear no one was catching him on this day. He crossed the finish in a time of 37.963 with Hornsby second at 39.215. The senior women’s K1 200 event pitted three members of the U.S. women’s K4 team in a club showdown: Emily Vinson of the Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club; Maggie Hogan of the San Diego Canoe & Kayak Team; and Ariel Farrar-Wellman of the Washington Canoe Club. A close-knit band of women as a K4 unit, these ladies are competitive K1 racers who want to beat each other in the name of the club they represent. In the end, it was Farrar-Wellman taking the gold with a time of 45.377, Hogan took home the silver with 45.999 and Emily Mickle jumped in ahead of Vinson with a time of 46.535 to win the bronze.

More than one discipline With kayak racing being the dominant form in the U.S. it was good to see so many canoe athletes of both genders competing at all levels. Admittedly, it is a unique skill set to paddle extremely unstable canoes in the high-kneel style. However, more young athletes are taking up the discipline and it was evident by so many entries in this national event. Some of this can be attributed to the level of opportunity to succeed nationally and score valuable points for their club at this regatta; but also through the efforts of leaders, such as Pam Boetler of the Washington Canoe Club to advance the discipline, especially for women. Saturday was capped off by the medals and award ceremony and some time for coaches to put their heads together to make careful assessment of the national senior and junior teams as well as review those young athletes in the development program. In addition to an improving senior team, there are many junior athletes 8

that bear watching. Rebeca Westmorland and Luke Potts, naming two among many, clearly showed they merit close attention as they hauled away more than their share of hardware winning multiple medals in a variety of events. Wisely balancing talent development and solid international representation, the U.S. coaches selected junior athletes to fill out the Pan American team and those who would attend training camps at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. These promising athletes are the future of the sport. See the sidebar for the names of those talented paddlers.

Closing the gap Admittedly, there is still a distance between U.S. paddlers and those who are standing on the podium at major international regattas. But, I clearly saw senior athletes who are closing the gap and junior paddlers who will soon be pushing those older athletes.

U.S. women’s team member Maggie Hogan

Finally, if you dip a paddle in the water or row, you owe it to yourself to make a trip to Oklahoma City and visit this bustling riverfront. With two spectacular boathouses, an amazing finish tower, and a future slalom course, this will be the watersports Mecca of the U.S. See additional photo coverage of the regatta from Stacey Doyle Hepp beginning on page 36.

U.S. senior women Ariel Farrar-Wellman (forground) and Emily Vinson duke it out on the water.


The following paddlers comprise the national team for the 2010 Pan American Championships, Oct. 7-10 U.S. Senior Team Men’s Kayak: Morgan House, Patrick Dolan, Ryan Dolan, Tim Hornsby, Ryan Stock, David Petrovics Women’s Kayak: Carrie Johnson, Maggie Hogan, Jen Burke, Kaitlin McElroy, Emily Mickle, Nicole Mallory Men’s Canoe: Rob Finlayson, Ben Hefner, Ian Ross, Miroslaw Podloch, David Podloch Women’s Canoe: Pam Boteler, Amina Saleh, Itzel Reza Flores, Anna Crawford U.S. Junior Team Men’s Kayak: Luke Potts, Zach Robertson and J.L. Guinchard Women’s Kayak: Katy Hill and Morgan Smith Men’s Canoe: Ben Hefner, Ian Ross, Miroslaw Podloch, Bryse Paffile, Dustin Sousley, Ryan Passen and James Watson Women’s Canoe: Angela Wang and Sarah Rucci

Robert Finlayson (foreground) holds off other C1 competitors in the dash to the finish.


Oklahoma City University launches first varsity canoe/kayak program Oklahoma City University is making history this fall when it launches the nation’s first collegiate varsity canoe/ kayak program in the 2010-2011 academic year. “This first of its kind program will give paddlers the opportunity to continue training while attending college,” said Coach Caven. “College-age kayakers have traditionally had to choose either school or training. With OCU’s program, athletes will get everything they need to nurture success – education, training facilities and coaching – helping more athletes realize their dreams to study and to train towards

representing the nation on the international stage.” Canoe/Kayak athletes will train out of the Devon Boathouse which also serves as the headquarters for the OKC National High Performance Center for both rowing and canoe/kayak. Amenities of the Devon Boathouse include an endless pool, state-of-the-art sports performance technology, and a highaltitude training chamber. To learn more about training opportunities in Oklahoma City or the varsity kayaking program at Oklahoma City University, contact Coach Shaun Caven by calling (405) 552-4040.

Coach Shaun Caven


Joe Shaw takes helm of United States Canoe Association At the semiannual meeting of the delegates to the United States Canoe Association, Aug. 13, 2010, Joe Shaw (Worthington, Mass.) was appointed to the position of executive director, with a term to run through the USCA annual meeting, January 2012. A long time member of USCA, Shaw has a lifetime of involvement in sports, including participation, instruction, coaching, administration and promotion combined with thirty years business and administrative experience in banking and financial consulting. Shaw’s paddling experience covers thirty years in canoes, kayaks, outrigger canoes, surfskis, dragon boats and swan boats, including numerous national teams, and participation in the North American Triple Crown and USCA Nationals. Shaw is also rhairman of the USACK Marathon Racing Committee, a member of USCA’s Kayak Committee, and of regional paddling clubs including New England Canoe & Kayak Racing Association, New York Marathon Canoe Racing Association, St. Lawrence Valley Paddlers, and ACCQ (Québec, Canada’s marathon canoe racing association). “My view of this position is that the president, executive committee and delegates should establish overall policy and the executive director should assist in implementation,” Shaw said. “My overall goal is to grow paddlesports, provide benefits and services to USCA members and increase USCA membership. I would like to focus awareness on paddling as an exciting competitive sport and also a great lifetime aerobic activity.” USCA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) membership organization promoting a five 12

star program of cruising, conservation, camping, camaraderie and competition for canoers and kayakers. USCA publishes a quarterly publication, the Canoe News and presents the annual USCA National Canoe & Kayak Championships, a multi-day event in early August. USCA, with more than 900 members, promotes paddling as a healthy lifetime sport, and has been a leader in marathon paddlesports since1968. For more information on USCA, its events or membership please visit the web site at

As the summer ends, it starts to get colder and you have no more sprint races coming up. You may ask what you can do to improve for next year. Well, the winter months can be tough to get through in certain parts of the country. Therefore, you need to plan out what you are going to do in order to facilitate the gains you would like to see.

is freezing. Wrong. Use the erg to help to check and improve your technique all year. In the winter you can do some very high quality aerobic training on the erg, to avoid paddling in the extreme cold.



What did you want to happen during the season?

Running will really help improve your aerobic fitness level. The key with running is variety, do short intervals on the track and some endurance run on trails for example.


What did actually happen?



What was the gap between these two?


What are you going to do about the gap?

This can help with base fitness level and body weight control. As with running, variety is good if you can road bike for distance and mountain bike on trails for natural intervals. If you have a turbo indoor trainer this is a good workout when you cannot ride outdoors.

Start by reviewing the season. Ask the following four questions:

If you did better than expected, maybe you need to carry on doing similar things in training? If you didn’t do as well as you hoped, then you need to review and make changes. Discuss changes with your coach, then monitor and review progress every couple of weeks to make sure you are staying on track. There are plenty of options for training in the winter. Most are weather dependant and location specific. If you live near snow, then ski. If you can paddle then paddle, marathon races, surfski and train in different training venues. Here are some training ideas and advice on each one.

Strength training in the gym This is vital for sprint athletes. Making gains in the gym and improving your power to weight ratio will improve your boat speed. Key exercises for canoe/kayak are pull ups, bench pull and squats.

Swimming This is a good change from paddling. It builds strength, re-balances muscles, stretches out tight areas caused when paddling and develops aerobic fitness.

Cross-Country Skiing This is an amazing sport for aerobic gains especially if you can ski at altitude for a few weeks. Classic or skate style are equally good for canoe/kayak it is just a personal choice which style works best for you. Over the winter months we will focus more on each type of training, with specific advice. In the meantime if you have question please contact me at scaven@

Ergometer machine Lots of paddlers think you only get the erg out when it 13 11

Boat No. 01 of Andy Triebold of Spring Arbor, Mich., and Steve Lajoie of Mirabel, Quebec, got to the river first following the LeMans run to the river. Up to 15,000 fans line the streets and riverfront in Grayling for the start of the Weyerhaeuser AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

‘It gets in your blood’ The AuSable River Canoe Marathon 14

story by Steve Southard photos by Mark Bialek

“It” is the AuSable River Canoe Marathon. The sentiment is one often expressed by fans among the tens of thousands of spectators who annually flood into northern Michigan’s AuSable River valley during the last full weekend of July. Echoing that emotion are those in the long list of paddlers who return again and again to compete in one the toughest marathon canoe races on Earth.

Photo by Mark Bialek

Referred to by many simply as “THE marathon,” it is extraordinary in several respects. The $50,000 prize purse places the race near the head of the pack among professional paddlesports races in the world. It is the middle leg of canoe racing’s Triple Crown, taking place between New York’s General Clinton Canoe Regatta and Quebec’s la Classique de canots (The Classic). While other non-stop races may boast a longer course, the paddling pace here is torrid given the 120 mile non-stop distance. The record time of 13:58:08 was set by marathon canoe racing legends Serge Corbin and Solomon Carriere in 1994. While there is a 19-hour maximum cutoff time, very few teams complete the course in over 18 hours and 75-85% of the finishers arrive in less than 17 hours. The race begins at 9 p.m. on Saturday night with a running Le Mans start, the teams dashing with their canoes several blocks to the AuSable in downtown Grayling, Mich. This small Michigan town temporarily swells to many times its year-round population of 2,000 as a crowd of up to 15,000 lines the streets and jams the riverbanks for the prerace program and the exciting start of the race. It is estimated that at least 50,000 fans view at least some part of the race. There is a sizable contingent that follows the race through the night and into the following day, from the start in Grayling to the finish line in Oscoda. Spectators stream to public access points, bridges and dam portages to urge on the teams. Riverfront homeowners host gatherings with

Bill Torongo of Roscommon, Mich., grimmaces as he runs over Cooke Dam.


guest lists ranging in size from a handful of friends and family to full blown race parties with a hundred or more in attendance. The volunteer organizing committee sets up mobile lighting at a number of the popular night-time viewing locations. The first several bridge crossings are closed to road traffic and local buses provide spectator transportation to and from roadside parking spots, often a mile or more away. Crowds of up to several thousand fans jam favorite viewing locations, such as McMasters Bridge, where the lead teams pass by just before midnight, and Mio Dam, the first of six portages in the race where teams must beat a 4 a.m. mandatory cutoff.

Photo by Mark Bialek

There is a unique, almost symbiotic, relationship that exists between the


competitors and fans at this race. Those who have competed invariably refer to the emotional lift of being cheered on through the difficult nighttime hours of the race and the periodic adrenalin rushes that result from throngs of thrilled and eager fans exhorting them to keep up the pace, not to give in to the exhaustion or the pain. The competitors likewise give a lift to the group of diehard fans that have “hit the wall” and are dragging after following the race through the night. Their spirits are boosted come dawn as they witness the teams paddle at 60-70 strokes per minute toward running the portages at Alcona, Loud or Five Channels dams early on Sunday morning…with 4 - 8 hours remaining in the race.

A record 94 teams from 16 U.S. states and Canadian provinces started this year’s race. The field was both broad and deep. Among the record 94 entries were 18 mixed teams, 18 masters teams (40 and older) and 20 senior teams (50 and older). While 38 paddlers where competing in at least their 10th AuSable marathon, 64 entrants competed in the race for only their first or second time. An amazing 69 of the 184 entrants were older than 50. Among this group and returning to compete in the second AuSable Marathon, were Alec Davis, 70, of Ballston Lake, N.Y., and partner Roger Henry, 68, of Rexford, N.Y. “We’d heard about this great race for many years,” Davis said. “I had to quit running [for exercise] and [20-time AuSable marathon entrant] Bob Brad-

Teams hit the AuSauble River jockying for position after the LeMans start.

ford talked us into it. The fan support and event organization here are the best anywhere.” The size of the field at AuSable River Canoe Marathon has grown steadily. One factor fueling the growth: The excellent effort by the volunteer members of the non-profit organizing committee in staging the race. According to Connie Cannon, of the paddling Barton clan, “The AuSable Marathon continues to be the best organized race that I have ever attended. Everything about it, from the moment you step foot in Grayling until you head out of Oscoda, is first rate. The committee does an awesome job.” The team that was the clear pre-race favorites were Michigan’s Andy Triebold and Quebec’s Steve Lajoie. The pair swept marathon canoe rac-

ing’s Triple Crown events in 2008 and 2009 and picked up where they left off with a win at New York’s General Clinton Regatta 70-mile canoe marathon on Memorial Day. When the starting gun fired, unleashing the frenzied running start, Triebold and Lajoie sprinted hard from their pole position and hit the water first. They never looked back. At Burton’s Landing, the first official timing location, the leaders had opened a nearly 1½ minute gap. The closest rivals to the leaders, Bill Torongo and Steve Corlew, hung tough throughout the race and stayed within three minutes of the lead though the first of six portages around hydroelectric dams, about five hours into the race. As night gave way to dawn and a twisting shallow-water

river turned to deep-water paddling on the dam ponds in the lower half of the course, Triebold and Lajoie steadily lengthened their lead. A little after Noon on Sunday, Triebold and Lajoie earned the title of the Weyerhaeuser 63rd AuSable River Canoe Marathon, crossing the finish line in 14:17:29. Torongo, of Roscommon, Mich., and Corlew, of Brighton, Mich., finished second, 14:08 behind. Finishing third was another Michigan team: Nick Walton of Grayling and Josh Sheldon of Potterville. Michigan’s Tom and Connie Cannon pulled away from their closest challengers late in the race and were the first mixed-team finishers, 14th overall at 15:15:32. Wisconsin’s Allen Limberg (2006 champion) and Barb Bradley were the second mixed-team

Photo by Mark Bialek

Andy Triebold (bow) and Steve Lajoie below the final dam portage and on their way to the finish line. The pair would go on to win with a time of 14 hours, 17 minutes, 29 seconds 17

finishers, 11 minutes back. The third mixed-team was Holy Reynolds of Rochester, N.Y., and Jeff Rankinen of Jersey Shore, Pa. The top masters finishers, 11th overall, were 30-time AuSable Marathon finisher Rick Joy and Russ Reeker. Two brothers from Grayling, Tom and Phil Trudgeon, topped the seniors list, finishing 16th overall. Only 12 of the 94 teams starting did not complete the race. For more information about the Weyerhaeuser AuSable River Canoe Marathon:

Top to Bottom: Two Michigan paddlers, Nick Walton, left, of Grayling and Josh Sheldon of Potterville paddle to a third place finish. Staged boats in pole position prior to the LeMans start. Fourth place finishers Matt Meersman of South Bend, Ind., and Josh Taylor of Grayling, paddle towards the Cooke Dam portage as the sun comes up Sunday morning. photos by Mark Bialek 18

Known locally as feeders, ground support teams crowd the put-in back to the river after the Mio Dam portage, considered to be “the hump� in the AuSable marathon.

Photos by Mark Bialek

Bill Torongo of Roscommon, Mich., and Steve Corlew of Brighton, Mich., portage 5 Channels Dam, en-route to a second place finish.


story by Steve Southard photos by Real Landry

The king returns, new princes crowned atQuebec’s la Classique Marathon canoe racing legend Serge Corbin returned to major race competition Labor Day weekend at Quebec’s la Classique de canots, the final leg of the Triple Crown of Canoe Racing Corbin has been away from racing for nearly three years, recovering from an injury and working back into racing shape, while considering whether to make a return to the river at age 53. He has been referred to as the king in his native Quebec for many years. The moniker is well deserved and widely accepted.

Unparalled career During a canoe racing career of more than 30 years, Corbin has amassed a record of accomplishment that is very likely unequaled by any athlete, in any sport, anywhere. Corbin has won more than 90 percent of the marathon canoe races he has entered.

Of the three races that make up marathon canoe racing’s Triple Crown, Corbin won 28 consecutive victories at New York’s General Clinton Canoe Regatta, has16 victories in 19 appearances at Michigan’s Weyerhaeuser AuSable River Canoe Marathon and 26 championships to his credit on his home water at Quebec’s la Classique. In Corbin’s absence, Michigan’s Andy Triebold and Quebec’s Steve Lajoie have placed a marker that other top marathon canoe racers have yet to cover. The pair swept canoe racing’s Triple Crown events in 2008 and 2009. Since they handily won the first two legs of this year’s Triple Crown, Corbin and partner Steve Corlew challenging the reigning Champs set marathon canoe racing fans abuzz with talk of a classic matchup at The Classique.

A tough course

Conditions were challenging for the three-stage Classique. Wind and rain buffeted the teams and thousands of fans throughout the three-day race. The challenging St. Maurice River was occasionally swept by whitecaps. Fifteen of the 62 teams did not finish.

The race begins Triebold and Lajoie had a great start at LaTuque on day one and quickly sprinted to the lead. Corbin and Corlew were not so lucky and found themselves stuck in the pack, perhaps 20 places from the lead, as they began the first leg of the long buoy-turn loops that the teams paddle in front of the big starting-line crowd before heading downstream. Corbin and Corlew closed the gap to 30 seconds, pulling hard and into second place, before the buoy laps were complete. But, by then the damage was done. Triebold and Lajoie 21

Photos by Real Landry

The starting line on the St. Maurice River at La Tuque, Quebec. had established a lead they would not relinquish and finished day one with a five-minute margin over Corbin and Corlew. The leaders tacked another minute onto their lead on both the second and third days of the race. Triebold and Lajoie won the race in a time 13:22:47. Corbin and Corlew finished second, 7:18 behind the champs

and nearly 15 minutes ahead of the third place team of Mike Vincent and Ivan English, third on day one by just two seconds, stoutly defended and held their position throughout the second and third days to finish third. Quebec’s Alan Poirier and Serge Page finished fourth just six seconds in front of fifth place finishers Frederic

and Guillaume Blais. Triebold and Lajoie were called “the new monarchs” – the Princes of la Classique - in post-race Quebec newspaper coverage. Corbin acknowledged the victors win with humility. “Obviously they were stronger. To win, you must be stronger,” Corbin said after the race. Steve Lajoie commented on the win, “It is always great to win… but to win all three stages is an especially rewarding accomplishment for Andy and me.” What are Corbin’s plans for the future? Corbin was non-committal. He said the decision to enter la Classique came late in the season and that he had completed just one-half of his normal on-the-water training time. Marathon canoe racing fans are eager see The King on the river in 2011. As Steve Lajoie said following the Classique, “Serge Corbin is the top Marathon canoe racer of all time; his 26 victories at la Classique are there to prove it!”

Steve Corlew (bow) and Serge Corbin struggled at the Start but recovered strongly for a convincing second place finish. 22

For more about Quebec’s la Clasique de canots -

Photos top to bottom: Andy Triebold (bow) and Steve Lajoie sprinted to an early lead and captured their third straight Classique victory, also completing their third straight Triple Crown. Saskatchewan’s Mike Vincent (bow) and Ivan English fought off several hard charging Quebec teams to take third place. Two all-Quebec teams rounded out the top five finishers. Fourth were Alan Poirier and Serge Page (boat No. 5); fifth were Frederic and Guillaume Blais (boat No. 404).

Photos by Real Landry


When the first large barge came through, we were concentrating on staying upright; nothing was predictable, and all that lovely forward momentum we had so enjoyed up until that point had packed its bags and decided to take leave. The Coast Guard safety boat came over the bullhorn, and sounded almost exactly like the Charlie Brown’s teacher: “Wa, wa, wa. Wa, wa, wa. Wa, wa, waaaa…BARGE!” We looked quickly over our left shoulders to spot a vessel roughly the size of my local supermarket bearing down…

by Mark Ceconi

The fifth annual New York Mayor’s Cup from a ... watermelon The curtain opens Saturday, Aug. 14, was the fifth annual running of the New York Mayor’s Cup Race. After the previous two years where Mother Nature was positively pissed off, the forecast couldn’t have been more perfect. Balmy temps in the eighties, dazzling sunshine, and breeze-tousled treetops were the order of the day at the new location at the 79th Street Boat Basin. Racer after racer unloaded boats at the circle, assisted by helpful volunteers, for the short carry down the driveway to the marina, adding their vessels under the trees to the plethora of paddlecraft offloaded the night before. Ray Fusco, promoter and race director extraordinaire, was bustling about, clipboard in hand and surrounded by a bevy of officials and others associated with race details, making sure to dot 24

each I and cross every T. After kicking cancer and putting together one of the premier races in the good ole’ U.S. of A., today would be payback for his efforts and tireless hours devoted to growing this race five short years ago, sown from the seed of an idea planted with three of his buds over drinks at a restaurant in North Salem, N.Y.

The contenders This year saw the return of reigning victor from last year’s atrocious conditions, Australian Sean Rice, as well as four time Olympian, three-time medalist, Greg Barton. Joining the fray was everyone’s favorite Brooklyn boy, Joe ‘Glicker’ Glickman, and six-time Olympian, Philippe Boccara, among others. Adding to this formidable mix would be world-renowned young guns Dawid Mocke, Caine Eckstein, Jeremy Cotter (who would unfortunately, con-

tract a malevolent stomach bug and be unable to make the start line). The list surfski racers went on. This also marked the first year fielding outrigger canoes. Big Kahuna style six-person outriggers transformed the Hudson into a scene from Hawaii Five-O. Sea kayaks, OC-1s and OC-2s rounded out the field of approximately 150 racers, many returning from previous years.

A warm, watermelon welcome Sean Milano and I met our buddies Steve Delgaudio and Jim Hoffman at Jim’s place that morning, hitched up the wagons, and convoyed in to the big city. We’d all be paddling tandem surfskis. Three to four hours on the water becomes a whole lot more enjoyable with someone to share the burden with, and the stability of the

big boats is an asset on the backside of the course, when water conditions can get, uh…interesting.

River. The last seven miles back up the Hudson would be harder, against current and dealing with increased pleasure boat traffic, as the city stretched its arms wide, yawned and came alive this gorgeous day.

The mighty span of the George Washington Bridge, albeit far closer than previous years, hung tantalizingly just beyond reach on the horizon. In a race of this length, one has to have faith that eventually you’ll get there (despite the intentions of what the East River had up its sleeve to insist that this didn’t happen).

After piloting our tropical hued tomato orange/lime green Fenn Mako XT double around Cape Ann up in The first waves to start would be sea Gloucester, Mass., for the Blackburn kayak touring, followed by Team Challenge, we affectionately began Achilles tandem teams of disabled referring to her as ‘the watermelon’. veterans and sea kayak tandems. Next Taking the ball and running with it, I Harlem and halfway spent some time cutting out woodgrain would be sea kayak fast touring and OC-1s. Tandem skis and OC-2s started Passing under the George Washington ‘seeds’ from contact paper and affixand its little ing them to the red lighthouse deck. Wielding perched on one a dark green, of its piers, water-soluble we had a few marker with moments of reckless abanwelcome shade. don, I hurriedly We reached the scribble scrabrotary railroad bled the hull, bridge marking converting it the entrance to into the ‘rind.’ Spuyten Duyvil Voila! A 25’ Creek and the long giant slice Harlem River of watermelon a mile and half would make further, under its way around the watchthe Big Apple. ful eye of the People stared Cloisters up on as it was toted the hill, debatdown, amidst ing whether to chants of, “Watermelon! Author Mark Ceconi and his tandem partner Sean Milano preparing their risk ducking Fenn tandem surfski that appears to be made for some culinary activity under the trussWatermelon! es, or shooting Watermelon!” rather than attached the confused waters around Manhattan. through the opening. The And together to follow. The OC-6 teams trusses won out, and we progressed they’re off! were next, and then, the fastest padinto the placid creek and its cliffs jutdlers on the water, surfskis and K-1s. Our racing class had a wonderfully ting from the water, emblazoned with realistic start time of 11:45 a.m. courAt the horn we were off, borne by a the colorful crest marking Columbia tesy of a sleep friendly tide schedule, strong current up the mighty Hudson, University. The tide was slacking, and so there was ample time to set up and immediately looping left into the ship- speed dropped from the train ride that visit with old paddling friends and ping channel to take advantage of the was the Hudson. acquaintances, as well as meet folks current assist. Derick Bezuidenhout whose names were familiar from the and Brent Postma, eventual winners of Through this industrial section of the river, we began overtaking some OCresults boards. Fusco ran a relaxed the Elite Open Surfski Double class, 1s and Achilles Team tandems, then and comprehensive captain’s meeting, and Jim and Steve in their matchsea kayaks. Moving through wave launched by a stirring rendition of the ing Fenn Elite tandems, immediately after wave of paddlers on the Harlem Star Spangled Banner. gapped the field, stroking side by side from classes started before us, our Racers were primed and prepared. We as Sean and I attempted to find our speed was high, and again, life was rhythm. Our GPS numbers were readfigured to have a push up the Hudson, good. Sean was happily chatting away, ing a steady state 10-10.5 mph, and some ebb tide down the Harlem, and as we called out encouragement to life was good. another slight push down the East 25

folks we knew…Robin and Dan, Gary and Ricardo, Kam and his (GoHero) cam… as we tandem motored by, fueled by the power of two. At one point I ran over a human head bobbing in the water. It was either that or a coconut with the frayed husk still attached. Given our location, my spot identification of ‘human head’ was more likely, since coconuts are tropical and do not migrate, unless carried by swallows. In any event, it made a dull ‘ponk’ as it passed under the boat and was wonked by the rudder. “What WAS that?” Sean queried Sean. “Human head,” I matterof-factly replied. He simply said, “Oh,” and continued conversing away. New York garners a bad rap for things of this nature by those unaccustomed to the big city whose fears run amok. I’m certain it was a coconut. Now, if this were New Jersey… (Kidding!)

“Oh Hell…Gate…” At Hell Gate, things began to percolate a bit, reminiscent of water coming to a boil, just before things start roiling. This, I would later recognize, was a textbook example of literary foreshadowing. Things were about to get ramped up a notch or two. At one of the bridges (which was it? Williamsburg? Manhattan?), the water changed character, as if suddenly awakened from a peaceful slumber. The combination of changing current, narrowing waterway lined by a gauntlet of concrete seawalls and increased boat traffic, punctuated by three (count ‘em, three) barges, made for a confused washing machine of wake, and refractory waves bouncing off the piers. When the first large barge came through, we were concentrating on staying upright; nothing was predictable, and all that lovely forward momentum we had so enjoyed up until that point had packed its bags and decided to take leave. Someone on the Coast Guard safety boat came over the bullhorn, and sounded almost exactly like the Charlie Brown’s teacher: “Wa, wa,wa. Wa,wa,wa. Wa,wa,waaaa… BARGE!” 26

We looked quickly over our left shoulders to spot a vessel roughly the size of my local supermarket bearing down. That kind of sight will plant the fear of God in even a dyed-in-thewool agnostic. “How far away?!” I shouted to Sean, over the blare of the ship’s horn. “About three hundred yards!!” he yelled back, “And closing fast! Take us hard right towards the sea wall!”

utterly unruffled through this mess as well, if both lacking the sheer power of Rice. Greg Barton was next on the train. Every now and again, he’d throw a mini brace or flick of the hips as a particularly intent bit of hydrodynamics offered to neatly coinflip his Epic V12. At age 50, to be mixing it up with these young dogs, despite his Olympic pedigree, was awe inspiring. He is a champion through and through.

Hard right we went. When the first of the swells hit, we were instantly swamped, burying the bow, seatwells flooding like separate Jacuzzis. Increasing in wave frequency, they traveled to the seawall and refracted back in the opposite direction. We bobbed helplessly, trying to maintain some semblance of forward motion, like…well, like a slice of watermelon at sea. The water retained this frenetic attitude the entire way down, past the U.N., towards the South Street Seaport, egged on by passing after passing of barges and large pleasure craft. We inched past Roger Gocking, a man with nerves of steel, who looked decidedly uncomfortable in this washing cycle set on agitate.

Passing under the Brooklyn Bridge, I would enjoy some time to sightsee, maybe write out a postcard or two, but my eyes were glued to the water just beyond the bow. We augered directly towards the raised, red brick structure of the South Street Seaport. The gentle winds were blowing significantly harder at times, funneled upriver and peeling the tops off the wave crests.

Cream rises to the top (and blows your doors in) Suddenly, Sean called out: “Surfski right!” Sean Rice, in his distinctive yellow and gray Think Uno, streaked by, literally putting the hurt on the water. He was well forward in the cockpit, a picture-perfect technical demonstration of the forward stroke, catch milking every pull for all it was worth as he ripped his ski through the water past the buried blade. It was incredible, to witness someone so poised and focused in the midst of all that. He shot along like a man possessed, literally feet off the seawall, picking up every rebounded swell he could find to hurtle him to the next. Then came Caine Eckstein, silky smooth as well. His visor facing backwards, he slipped past before we even realized, chased hard by Dawid Mocke, this time on our left. He was

At this point we were fatigued, both physically and mentally. Suddenly, the hammer fell, and life was not so good. At this point, Sean would later comment, we went from racing the race, to finishing the race. We later learned that quite a few people went for unscheduled dips through here; a number abandoned. Bob Capellini later reported he went for a little swim under the Brooklyn Bridge where he remarked, “It was dark under there.” Helpful paddlers stopped to assist fellow racers in need until the safety boats were on top of things. We received a little spiritual boost coming past the South Street Seaport restaurant. Patrons enjoying the waterside tables by the railing cheered us on, raising cocktails high, and the sight of Lady Liberty dead ahead, her torch raised in mirrored salute, inspired us to surge more strongly toward the tip of the Battery and the hairpin up the Hudson again. Suddenly we heard the bullhorn again. Scanning ahead, the prop wash of the Staten Island Ferry in its berth was churning the water to cappuccinocolored froth, as it readied to back out. We were being warned to stop immediately. We waited, ankles in

the water, the three to four minutes it took the podgy craft to back up, pull a u-turn by the pier, and head out on a run, chased by several Charter Waterways ferries snapping at its heels. The copters from the pierside heliport were deafening, and the rotors’ wash sliced up a fine spray that spritzed the air with a cool mist. The hulking, stationary black barge that marked the swing around the point was a welcome sight.

The long road home If we were fatigued before, we were exhausted now; the East River had kicked us squarely in the privates; all wind was out of our sails. At this point, I would have given just about anything for sails. Seven miles of minor headwind, and current against us for the return trip back, was not something to look forward to. Sybil-like, the river’s personality again changed, rolling in glassy lumps beamside to rebound against the cement retaining wall. The combination of these factors Sean would later comment caused the water to feel like it had ‘doubled in density.’ Our watermelon was mired in molasses. To add insult to injury, we wistfully pined at the entrance to the North Cove Marina that was the former start and finish of the previous Mayors Cup Races. “Do you think we can turn in there, and just claim we didn’t know?’ Sean beseeched, his voice an octave higher in desperation. Several other surfskis slipped by here. For every one that came by, we slowly reeled in two to three boats from preceding waves before us. We inched past Sgt. Mike Blair and Phil Warner from Team Achilles, in the elegant Nick Schade designed mahogany fast double tandem. They shouted out: “Gooooooooo!” and we answered back with encouragement of our own. Following the water trails of other boats before us, we hugged the piers, staying as far out of the current and boat channel as we could. In one marina’s cove, a flock of brightly

colored plastic kayaks obviously part of a guided tour were milling about, venturing out into the open Hudson, laughter emanating from their paddlers as they rose up and down on the swells. It’s a funny thing when you hit the wall and begin to bonk. The most innocuous riffle in the water can be an invitation to a swim, no R.S.V.P. required. The same swells they were enjoying imbalanced us, causing a cumulative case of the wobblies, as the miles ticked by mercilessly slow. Robotically, we speared blades into the water, each stroke carrying us closer to our 79th St. destination. Past the Intrepid, the British Airways Concorde, the 66 St. party barge (Oh, to have stopped for a cocktail). Henry Hudson-like, we made our way north, seemingly in terms of distance, in search of a passage to Asia. Somehow we managed what we’d like to claim was a final sprint to the yellow flag of the finish line, amidst cheers of the timekeepers and volunteers. At least we managed the sound effects part. I doubt our actual paddle cadence increased by any scientifically measurable amount. 29.3 miles registered on the clock. I do know that the sight of the dock was a welcome one. I now know the welcome relief the first explorers must have felt upon arriving on dry land after months at sea. If I could have mustered up the energy to pucker, I would have kissed the coarse boards of the dock, splinters be damned. Stiffly, we rolled out of the boat onto the coarse boards of the dock, like mackerel on ice, creaking unsteadily to our feet. Stick a fork in me and turn me over; I was done. Mercifully, guardian angels in the form of Mike Parkinson and Steve Del whisked our watermelon to the grass. Two surfski paddlers lay prone on the dock, gasping, one with his arm flopped over his forehead, the other with arms stretched out stiffly at his sides like a cadaver. Racer after racer wobbled in unsteadily. Boats were cast

about on the grass, spent tools for the job that had served their purpose.

Curtain call For a bunch of grubby racer types, we clean up pretty well. The after party at the 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe was hopping. The beer was flowing freely, burgers and dogs sizzling on the grill. The bluegrass band – M Shanghai String Band – was rocking the house, replete with banjos, a jammin’ harp player, and someone playing a backsaw. Paddlers lounged like lizards soaking up the sun, sharing war stories of their own personal trials and tribulations. It was a fine time. A rightfully emotional Ray Fusco took the stage after the band’s first set. Prior to announcing placings and times, and handing out prizes, a different set of awards were presented by the man who five years ago, took a ‘What if?’ dream and replaced its foundation of clouds with solid brick and mortar, making it not only a reality, but improving and adding on, despite consecutive setbacks that threatened to bury it. These were awards of the heart, simple plaques dedicated to those that had faith in him, stood by him in his personal life, and assisted him in this dream over the years. The actual prizes and bags of schwag were awarded, flowing as freely as the beer, but it was these awards of the heart that prompted the standing ovation he received by all attendees. Some time ago, in a writeup of a previous Mayors Cup, I quoted from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” Ray, you built it and as promised, we came. We will continue to come again and again as long as you have the strength and desire to build.



by Dan Grubbs

‘War on Knock Offs’ Global economic principles and the War on Drugs are closer to paddle sports than we may think. I asked a friend of mine if I could borrow one of his large wing-blade paddles. When he handed me his paddle, it was unbranded and I suspected was a knock off. This is where the global economics comes in. Many top manufacturers in paddlesports are having their products copied in different countries and even labeled and branded as the authentic versions. Paddlesports can’t afford to allow this to happen. Yet, the solution won’t come from where you might think. In the racing world, there are a handful of paddle manufacturers that make outstanding products. As these paddles become circulated around the globe, unscrupulous businesses try to reverse engineer the branded paddle and then create their own versions. Often, these are then marketed as authentic through various supply lines and into the hands of paddlers around the world.


the real thing. The large wing knock off I borrowed is heavy, of questionable craftsmanship and not very responsive. I’m currently training with the Epic Mid Wing with Flex Shaft. When held up together, it was evident the knock off was a copy of the Epic product. Blade design and geometry were the same, but not the same quality. I spoke with one manufacturer’s rep who indicated that these counterfeiters may be able to see what the components are, but they don’t have the knowledge of the materials and how they are engineered like the designers of the original product. In most cases, they cannot match the processes and construction methods to manufacture the product, which can make the difference between a knock off and the high-quality original.

“Every time this happens it’s stealing,” said Darren Bush, chief paddling evangelist at Rutabaga, one of the largest retailers of paddling gear and host of Canoecopia, one of the largest paddlesports show in the United States.

But, Bush indicates that many of the creators of knock-off products are getting good. He reported that when counterfeit products first appeared in outdoor gear industry the difference was clear. He said that industry people used to laugh at some of the products because the brand name would be spelled wrong or something else obvious.

Bush said this stealing takes money out of manufacturers’ hands that would be going into innovation and development. But, more importantly, “it causes brand denigration.” This means a brand’s reputation can deteriorate in the minds of paddlers because of quality or poor customer service associated with the knock off.

“It’s not a joke anymore,” Bush said. He points to Vibrum’s popular Five Fingers footwear. When introduced, it was a successful product and paddlers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts made it a hit. Yet, it wasn’t long before a Chinese counterfeiter came along and flooded the market with a knock off.

Paddles aren’t the only thing being copied. Boats and other gear also are being copied and made to appear like

Because the paddling market place if filled with buyers who are price sensitive, it is a fertile environment in

which the practice of creating and selling knock offs can flourish. This brings us to the answer to the problem. Manufacturers can and should do what they can to protect their brands and their products. The supply chain also should take every measure. Bush reports he employs a vetting process for any manufacturer that wants to sell through Rutabaga or have a presence at Canoecopia. This won’t solve the problem; and, this is where the parallel with the War on Drugs comes in. The solution emerges from what we learned from the U.S. war on drugs: If there is demand for something, people will find ways to supply that demand. Attacking the source or the supply chain are largely fruitless efforts because it will simply pop up somewhere else. Therefore, the real solution to this problem is to cut off demand for these knock-off products. Thus, the burden to stop this disreputable practice falls on paddlers who should only buy authentic products from reputable manufacturers, dealers and retailers. “Buy from a place you trust,” Bush said. Paddlers should ask questions of wholesalers and retailers about their process to ensure they only sell authentic merchandise. Paddlers shouldn’t be afraid to buy, but they shouldn’t be afraid to ensure what they are buying is the real thing. Just because it has a brand name on it is no guarantee it is authentic. I do agree with Darren Bush that selling counterfeit gear is stealing. Therefore, by definition, so is buying counterfeit gear. Let’s ensure we are not accomplices to this crime.

Germany’s Max Hoff

Highlights from the 2010 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships by Shaun Caven The 2010 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships were held Aug. 19-22, in Poznan, Poland, on Lake Malta. This is the third time that the Polish city has hosted the championships, having done so previously in 1990 and 2001. Paracanoe (formerly Paddleability) and the women’s C1 200 meters that were exhibition events at the previous world championships in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, became medal events at these championships. Hungary was the big winner, placing in all nine events including six golds. The big individual winner was Natasa Janics of Hungary with five medals (three gold, two silver). Her teammate Katalin Kovács, won three medals to bring her career total to 38, matching that of Germany’s Birgit Fischer though Kovacs did break Fischer’s

career gold medal count to 29, eclipsing Fischer’s 28. Japan earned its first medal at the championships with Shinobu Kitamoto’s bronze in the K1 200 meter event. Rachel Cawthorn became the first British woman to medal at the championships with her bronze in the K1 500 meter event. For the first time since 1975, a tie occurred in the finals, only this time it was for the bronze in the C1 200 meter event between Canada’s Richard Dalton and Ukraine’s Yuriy Cheban. Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe was also won the first gold medal in women’s canoe. After opening ceremonies on Wednesday night, the first round of events took place on a wet and windy Lake

Malta with the 1,000 meter heats and the semifinals. During the semifinals there were a number of notables who did not make the finals. The great unknown in our sport is mother nature who can often interfere with the pecking order. Paracanoe heats were suspended later that day due to high winds and weather conditions. The Paracanoe did restart early the following day. However, the times from the previous day were still being used to decide progression to the finals. This was not fair for all the athletes. The ICF Sprint Committee must ensure this competition is now run to the same standard as the rest of the regatta. This is the only

Continued on page 31 29

Racing Tips from

Wake Riding Two-time surfski world cup medalist Matt Bouman provides some insight on wake riding.

What are the most ideal conditions for riding wake? When do you get the most benefit? Wash riding is only beneficial when the water is flat enough. When there are any sort of decent runs, it becomes difficult and often detrimental to stay on another paddlers wash. It is much better to find your own rhythm and pace once the runs are involved.

Which is the best position: off the stern or bow wake? Unless you have a bunch of boats, at least three or four, side wash is better. Side wash is also a tactically superior position to be sitting, as you have time and space to counter any attacks. Sitting on the stern wash when paddling into a head wind is not a bad idea. If you are in a group of three boats, it’s nice to sit on the stern of the lead boat as you benefit from the side wash of the other boat, as well as getting a bit of assistance form the lead boat. Just remember, you have to be aware of what’s going on around you.

a stronger paddlers wake for a workout? If it makes you hurt, it’s likely to be making you stronger. Perhaps the best way to approach it would be to start in your own water and when it is clear you are losing ground and can’t keep up the pace any longer, go for the wash.

When training in a group, how should paddlers pack up to maximize wake riding? How often should paddlers rotate up to the front to pull? The ideal group is 4. Pull time depends on the strength of the paddlers in the group. If you are all of a similar strength, then the etiquette is to share the pull equally. Usual protocol is to allow the paddler who has just pulled to slip back into the diamond position after a pull, to recover.

What is your opinion on the etiquette of wake riding in a race? All is fair in love and war. Just don’t cut anyone off by pushing them into banks, pier’s buoys, etc. The polite method is to share all work, but this seldom happens when everyone is going for the win.

The ultimate wave is sitting “diamond”. This is when you are on the stern wash of a lead boat and there are boats on either side of the lead boat. This position is probably another 15 percent easier than sitting side wash.

Is wake riding a good way to train with a group? Can it be a more effective way to interval train by resting on another paddlers wake? At some stage, you do need to train riding washes. How else are you going to learn how to do it? It’s a skill which you have to develop if you want to be successful at racing. However, it can also be the lazy way of training, so you consider it a skill to practice instead of conditioning. You should always be trying to sit in open water when training. Of course it would be cool to train on the wash of someone who is a superior paddler, but be honest!

Can slower paddlers get faster buy riding

To learn more about Epic kayaks and paddles log on to 30

Matt Bouman

way to ensure progress in numbers and inclusion in the Paralympics in the near future.

Great Britain’s Ed McKeever

This was the first year that 200 meter racing was a medal event in the world championships as a future Olympic event. The two finals saw fantastic racing. In the men’s K1 final, Ed McKeever from Great Britain beat Ronald Rauhe proving that he is a real contender for the 2012 games in London. In the K2 the French pair may have caused a few countries to rethink crew boat strategy. They won the K2 200 meters and also dominated the K4 1,000 meter event, proving that if you have the talent you can succeed at both events. This crew had the performance of the weekend. It was a very powerful display that will have a few of their rivals concerned for 2012. Max Hoff had to go right to the limit in the K1 1,000 meters to win this year with the return of Tim Brabants. Brabants, the reigning Olympic Champion, returned to the podium after taking a year off. There will be a fantastic battle to win the K1 in London with Hoff, Brabants along with Canada’s Van Koeverden (500 meter bronze), Australian’s Ken Wallace (5,000 meter gold), Sweden’s Gustafsson (500 meter gold) and new talent in Yurenia, Gelle, Banassi all make for a fantastic couple of years. The reintroduction of the 5,000 meter events was good to

see and the racing was of the highest quality with most of the 1,000 meter athletes doing the event. Ken Wallace had a smart and fast race pulling away from Max Hoff to secure the win just after the final turn. Italy won the most Paracone medals with four though none of them were gold. Canada and Brazil each won two golds and three overall. All three of Brazil’s medals were the first in the history of the world championships. Tahiti’s Patrick Viriamu became the first medalist from his country.

Hungary’s Natasa Janics (inset) and Canada’s Laurence VincentLapointe


Want to know what’s going on here?

ling d d a P ide ar w d l Wor Calend e h t T Even at .com

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(You clicked ‘em on the map, right?) Then click the Compare Regionals Events button, next, here

Two minutes to the start. In the red leggings, Wally Werderich (IL); in the red shirt, Grady Reed (TX). © 2010 Paul Delcambre

Triumph on the Teche The emergence of a truly great new race Gareth Stevens, Editor, USCA’s Canoe News L to R: Sam Ritchie (PA), Amado Cruz (Belize), Andrew Soles (DC), Dan Hammer (PA), Andrew Stephens (TX), William Russell (TX)

© 2010 Gareth Stevens

127 miles ... straight through, for some From elite paddlers to rank novices, from cool-cat seen-it-alls to the more easily excited, the Tour du Teche – 127 miles through Cajun country on the Bayou Teche in 90º days and 70º nights – delighted and surprised all who took part (95 paddlers in 60 boats), and the armies of volunteers, and the many more who spectated.

Man-of-iron Steppe continues to race marathons despite chronic back problems, and was in some additional agony the last few hours of the race. He wrenched a shoulder on one of the Calumet flood gate portages, but he and Lamb still finished 7 minutes ahead of Wally Werderich (who came 2nd in the MR 340 this year) and Tave Lamperez. Werderich and Lamperez are from the greater Chicago area.

Werderich was new to the Teche, but The elite teams paddled non-stop, ex- Lamperez was on home water. He cept for (mostly) mandatory portages grew up in New Iberia, and started his and very short rest and refueling stops. canoe racing career with BSA Explorer Post 517 right there on the Teche in The six-man “Texas-unlimited” team (actually two Texans, a Belizean, two the mid 1970s through the mid 1980s. Pennsylvanians and a DC-ite) creamed This Werderich feller is a remarkable the race in 18:29 hours, arriving at athlete. His response to paddling 127 2:42 am in darkest Patterson, LA. miles was to immediately start remiThere wasn’t a huge throng of specta- niscing about his recent adventure, and the more he talked, the more animated tors waiting at that time of morning, and energetic he became. but the six paddlers were rewarded with a fine breakfast cooked up by Lamperez, however, had a differrace director Ken Grissom – and prize ent coping mechanism. He adopted money in excess of $5000. a zombie-like attitude and staggered In second place, and still before sunup, came the irrepressible veteran paddler Richard Steppe and his 25-yearold partner, Alan Lamb, hitting the finish line dock at 5:30am.

randomly with glazed eyes, repeating the phrase, “It’s time to go home, it’s time to go home ...” in an undulating monotone. It eventually worked, and off they drove.

A clash of cultures ... Adventure racers Laurence Cohen and Rusty Bernard surprised everyone in a heavier-than-sin double kayak. They especially surprised Texans Ginsie Stauss and Grady Reed. Until about half way, Stauss and Reed had been comfortably ahead of the New Orleanians, when Cohen and Bernard mysteriously appeared ahead of them at the New Iberia checkpoint – and by a big margin. Alarm and suspicion! Turns out they had portaged their behemoth kayak miles across the huge oxbow north of New Iberia in the late afternoon. And they did so again, in the dead of night, down by Franklin. However, Cohen and Bernard had checked carefully. There was no rule against portaging – and that fit right in with the culture of adventure racing, from which the pair had sprung. But marathon competition paddlers – in contrast to adventure racers – hail from a different tradition: no portages except at designated portages or around

otherwise impassable or dangerous obstacles: locks, dams, deadfall, rapids, waterfalls, and so forth. What in hell was going on? In the twenty-four hours that followed the race, steam started to hiss from cracks in the internet. Happily, however, both teams rose above their initial consternation. “We realized we came with different racing backgrounds but share a love of getting out in nature, of hardcore challenges, and especially a combination of the two,” Stauss said. Cohen concurred. “As they said in the movie Pulp Fiction, we are cool honey-bunny.” And, in classy acceptance of the new culture that he and Bernard had inadvertently invaded, he added, “I look forward to seeing everyone next year and giving them all hearty handshakes, and wishing them good luck as we paddle a full 130 miles!” Bernard joined in. “I can’t wait to come back! I promise to leave the running shoes at home!”

“Whatever you want, Dad. It’s your midlife crisis.” Some paddlers had experienced paddling 260 or 340 mile races before. Bo Lester had spent the summer with his father, paddling the entire length of the Mississippi, from Lake Itasca, MN to Venice, LA in memory of his brother Buddy, who had died in a car accident, and two family friends who had died in an aircraft accident. Bo, with 2,311 Mississippi miles under his belt, and his friend, Tyler Trahan, completed the Teche race at 5:17pm on Day 2 – in 33:04 hours. A good many of the 95 paddlers, however, had never before paddled as many as 10 miles straight, let alone 127 (or 2,311!). Yet they all set off with gusto at 8:13am Friday, September 17, from the blue pedal-and-paddle-machine duo to Les Feux du Teche (The Flames of the Teche). Many made it part way, then withdrew (while they were still having fun). They all had their reasons for starting (mostly a sense of adventure) and they all had their reasons for stopping.

Ben Usie and his father, Randy, pulled in to the New Iberia checkpoint at 1:31pm, Day 2 and 29:22 hours into the race. “What do you think, Ben?” said Randy, “Shall we keep going?” “Whatever you want, Dad,” came the reply. “It’s your midlife crisis.” They bagged it, and headed for lunch at Pelicans. Crisis over, for now.

Changes for 2011 The Tour du Teche is clearly here to stay. What a spectacular race! What an outstanding first year accomplishment. But the organizers and their legions of volunteers learned a lot from this first year’s experience. Next year’s race will be held a few weeks later on the calendar – the first Friday in October – in hopes for cooler temps. And the race will have a three day stage race format, with second and third day starts at St. Martinville and Franklin respectively. And there will be no unmandated portages! All good developments. The race organizers and the communities along the Teche are pumped.

Top: Richard Steppe & David Lamb portaging at Keystone Lock. © 2010 Loren Stevens Far left: Laurence Cohen & Rusty Bernard arrive at the finish. © 2010 Gareth Stevens Center left: Grady Reed & Ginsie Stauss take out at the west Calumet flood gate portage. © 2010 Gareth Stevens Above: Those crazy pedal & paddle guys, 28 minutes into the race. © 2010 Gareth Stevens


National Champions Lanier Canoe & Kayak Club


Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team

Washington Canoe Club


San Diego Canoe & Kayak Team

Hawaii Canoe & Kayak Team


Photos f 2010 USACK Nation


from the nal Championships


Photos f 2010 USACK Nation


from the nal Championships


Photos f 2010 USACK Nation


from the nal Championships


Photos f 2010 USACK Nation


from the nal Championships


Photos f 2010 USACK Nation


from the nal Championships


Photos f 2010 USACK Nation


from the nal Championships


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...