Still in shock – Na Wahine O Ke Kai

Sabrina Schwanebeck Jericho

A huge Mahalo to everyone who sent us a good luck wish and thought of us on our race day. To the ladies who paddled for us back home Sunday morning, we heard your blessings and prayers. We did pieces for you all. All your energy helped us cross the channel to a great finish and we are now basking in the glory of a 4th open and 6th overall finish.

It was smoking hot and there was very little wind. The seas were to our advantage,on average they were 2-4 ft and we could pick these up well. It is unfortunate the water wasnt bigger, because we get this at Jericho, but in the end we were greatful. Also to our advantage our primary steerswoman was Carol Shick from Santa Barbara Canoe Club.It was tough to look outside the club but it was agreed upon earlier on in the season. We were so pleased with her and she was very proud of the Canadian team that COULD!

We came out strong off the start in Jericho fashion and battled with Outrigger, Kai Opua Masters and Eyecatcher to be second reaching La’au Point. Still a great distance from Mooloolaba but second over all. Needless to say our coach Rick Nu’u was in shock that we were up so far with crews hunting US down! Some time after, Outrigger, Kai Opua and Eyecatcher passed us with different lines and we held fifth overall. Then Offshore masters gained on us and we were pushed back to sixth overall. We paddled hard hammering the whole way across the channel to stay with them and not lose any ground on the crews behind us.

Tahiti was way out south and we thought they would maybe converge at Diamond head and make things interesting, but they fell way back and that was that. Here we stayed for the whole channel keeping 6th over all and in the end finishing 4th Open. We were so dialed in and solid the entire way across that we never let up once. We had to stay tough and determined to keep top 10 and hopefull for top 5 that we way exceeded our own expectations. After the race we were in total shock until late into the evening. I think that in our minds we could always do this but it was still a shock.

During the race a pod of dolphins surfaced around us and we surfed together on the swells. They were playing around the canoe and so close Shannon could have touched one. They came up in pairs on either side of us and seemed to be leading us the right way for easy surfing. They stayed with us for about 5 minutes crossing in front and underneath and then disappeared as quickly as they came. What a beautiful sight to see and this gave us so much energy.

It sounded like Michelle was the driving force behind her crew Lokahi from Oahu. She had a great experience and came away with some excellent knowledge of what to expect for next time.

Rick Nu’u was a blessing to have with us and he didnt let us stray for a minute. He would tell us where all the crews were around us and let us know what we happening at all times. The whole race ran so smooth and his line for us was perfect. We owe him alot and thank our lucky stars he was on OUR team. Again thank you to everyone who helped with fundraising, sponsorships, and in general your support and belief in us. See you all soon then we’ll party!


Catalina – the big picture


Rather than explaining my phenomenal experience at the US
Championships Catalina Crossing, over and over again, here is a
quick synopsis of My experience this weekend. If you’ll notice, I
also titled this “The big picture”. I really think that this
international race has Opened my eyes to the true nature, culture
and excitement of the sport.

The local races are fun but they are only a drop in the pool
compared to the huge oceans of international races, and this average
sized in perspective.

Imagine taking a ferry ride on a fast moving Catamaran looking boat
across the ocean, following a similar course to the one you would be
racing the next day. Imagine blue skies, 27 degree temperatures and
an empty horizon until you see Catalina Island. Imagine palm trees,
green villas, small cottages lining the streets, no cars, just
commuter golf carts (like a little resort town) everywhere.

Imagine sun tanned bodies, a slow relaxed atmosphere and beautiful
clear water. Then you walk up to COCC, Catalina Outrigger Canoe
Club, with a huge backyard/ park as a backdrop with tents lining the
green grass like a city and a big patio area with a big bar and
clubhouse with people sun bathing and drinking colourful drinks with

Then you look to the beach and see row upon row of 6-man canoes
liningthe beach, with huge Samoan, Californian, Tahitian and
Hawaiian bruddas everywhere. Beautiful coconut tans everywhere, (Wahines) women with
Sarongs and Bikini’s, all strong and beautiful female paddlers
getting ready for a night of drinking and partying cause they just
paddled over from Newport beach 47KMs into the horizon.

Imagine the grin on my face as we prepare our own Bradley (the boat
we would race in) for the race the next day. Double check, triple
check the rigging, strap down the bailers, duct tape the
seams…everyone else doing the same thing.

Race day, the nerves are running wild, so our coach boat a good sized
speed boat with plenty of space for chilling out turns on the music,
how fitting that it would be “The Beach Boys…I wish they all could
be California girls…”

Imagine the sight from the ocean, with 46 crews lining the front of
Avalon, the resort town we will depart from. 28 degrees today, with
Blue skies. Team California is a crew with the biggest guys I have
ever seen. Huge Rippling muscles, gigantic reach and incredible
catch when they pull. Then in awe I get a glimpse of a team wearing
all black mesh with Excel logos on their shirts…its team Hawaii/
New Zealand, the number 1 crew in the world, with Karel Tresnick (#1
paddler in the world) steering. Incredible seeing them on the water,
timing, technique, catch, exits…like buttahhh. And for fun there
is even a canoe with only four guys, but two amas, one on each
side and outboard motor and a big sail…crazy fun!!!

I won’t go too much into the race as this would take forever, but
here are some of the high lights…there was a false start that
lasted about 1km before the boats were ordered to stop, way too much
bravado and testosterone on the water…but that’s how it goes.

From what I understand the lead pack was racing amongst a pod of
whales, how crazy is that, imagine doing a change, with men jumping
into the ocean and others pulling themselves up into a fast moving
canoe and next thing you know a whale surfaces and breaches spitting
out and taking in fresh air…how can I describe how this must feel.

Imagine water turbulence everywhere and canoes riding the wakes of
escort boats as they jockey for better lines and superior positions.

Imagine people straining with every fibre in their body to get the
canoe moving as fast as it can before they make the next change.

magine support helicopters flying overhead to watch for “men in grey
suits”…that’s Sharks for those who don’t know. Catalina Island is
famous for having the biggest shark population in the world.

Imagine the finish of the race, weaving through New port beach break
water, passing leisure boats, yachts and other recreational craft as
we race to the finish. Imagine all the tired faces, the exhaustion,
the elation and big grins when we finally cross the finish line.
Crowds everywhere screaming “great job False Creek, well done!!!

Then imagine the sense of camaraderie that occurs as guys from
differentclubs help you get out of the water, and trailer your boat.
Imagine all the stories we share about the race, can you see the
grins on theirfaces as well?

Now we move to the pig roast and awards ceremonies…once again,
coconut tans, bikinis, grass skirts and hats everywhere!!! big
smiles and laughter is contagious as we enjoy the rest of the
festivities. There are Hawaiian dancers honouring the racers with a traditional hula, live Hawaiian singers. Little booths with trinkets and souvenirs to remember the race by. Free beer all night long and friendly faces everywhere.

This was the biggest race I have ever been in. 46 men’s crews, 35
women’screws and 15 mixed crews. one of the people I met told me
that Kona had 130 men’s crews this year and that Molokai’ Hoe would
have 102 crews. I can’t even imagine a line of boats stretching
across the horizon for a km or more. Well, I hope this little email
has left you with the same taste in my mouth…a hunger for more.
More culture, more race, more good times…


Vernon Report

Calgary Canoe Club

Regardless of the actual paddling and the success on the water, and
even in the absence of John Roberts,

Calgary once again WON the party!!!!

Jon A. stepped into the breach and once the Hip Hop started it all
went good. There was not a soul not givin’ it up for the club.

Highlights: Lynda, Chris and Sarah attempting to steal the Mixed
Trophy; Sarah yelling out as Ginter- Jess’ paramour- danced his heart
out for us, “GIVE ME SOME MORE!!!”,

Jacque and Jon A locked into mortal Capoeria Dance Combat with legs
flying into the air, and finally some fool put on a country western
hoe down tune and it all went very, very werid…..

Actual paddling was secondary to the “in the club” action of the
party but included such highlights as a SOLID WIN by the Mixed team
for the gold…

Lotus made several pushes but the mixed team led from the first turn
with only a slight give of ground on the down lake leg. The crossing
to Bird Shit island was Kawaihae- or the fierce sea- as the Hawaiians
would say.

It was where the mixed put on the 1000 meters – Lotus trailed by at
the end.

The basis for the win was Kips’ awesome steering.

AND the fact we had SARAH IN THE BOAT!!! As she was the GOLD MEDAL
WINNER the day before in the womens OC-1 race.

With a pretty good field behind her Sarah, literally walked away. She
actually began to do syncro swim movements in the boat the last

A masked stranger appeared and jumped in a blue boat belonging to Pat
and walked away with SECOND PLACE in the OC-1 and once she finished
she pulled of her disguise and it was Seldom Seen Charlene!!!!

Another Calgary medal!

Pat and the litter were there to celebrate the moment.

Lynda and Jess took a THIRD PLACE in the OC-2 race in the same field,
and Jess made a grab at the winner’s prize bottle of beer, but it was
all good.

In the mens’ race a huge wave wiped out half the field in front of
Jacque…just kidding as Jacque hammered the field for a SECOND in
the Mens’ OC-1 competition.

Shane Martin was spinning his neck like a bobblehead doll and was all
but screaming “where is he? where is he?” as Jacque hunted him down
like a terrier on a rat.

Jon A and Pat took third in the Oc-2 race and were beaten by a couple
of male strippers who got a boat at the last minute- oh sure ‘good
race’ JEFF and MIKE proud of yourselves to beat two old men? Our
mens’ team finished fourth in the Mirage and were proud to say there
wasn’t one fight!

They did the math John R and Jon A weren’t in the boat Hmmm? The
second mixed team wasn’t last and that was a goal they had set. It
was a real learning curve as the wind and waves baptisized the boat
and crew.

There were rumours of mischief as Peter left the boat crawling and
howling in the water at the edge of the lake. Thank you mixed B for
you enthusiasm and the look on all your faces when you hit the
shore!!! Even Barney shed a tear…

Final thoughts: The MIKES’ tore a strip off of Jon and Pat for the
first 2000 meters in the Oc-2 race and then huli’d to make their
third place possible. Thank you children!!!

Pregnant women abounded and so we never feared if a fistfight might
break out at the party as these women were looking good and tough!!!

The Newfoundland Babes gave it up all the way around!!! THANK YOU
AMANDA for the “Berry patch”,

Barry hinself was a saint especially when Jeff and Mike’s friend
STEVE of the grass skirt made a move on his wife!!!!!

MARTIN and DON put three Calgary oc-2s in the top six finishers and
Lydia and Ralph jumped on an OC-2 and discovered what that meant the
next day.

As Tiny Tim said’ God Bless us one and all” John Roberts WE MISSED