View topic - Started an open canoe ww slalom race in BC

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PostPosted: March 26th, 2007, 1:09 am 
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I've whined and moaned here and elsewhere about the instruction, events and races that are available "out east" for ww canoeists...

So let me ask: If one were to try and develop a low-key slalom race for non-racer open boaters, how could that happen?

It wouldn't have to be slalom, a club used to do a downriver race of sorts, but I think slalom would be the most fun, and there seems to be a background level of interest.

The obvious things to do are to look for some organizational and/or financial support from folks like MEC, Rapid Media and local retailers and organizations. And to look to the slalom community for help. And to pick a weekend and then promote it early enough for people to buy-in and/or practice a gate or 2.

I think financial/sponsorship support isn't that important. More important would be the commitment and know-how. However, there isn't much overlap between race boaters and rec canoeists, so I'm not sure whether/why the slalom crowd would make the time to help out, they probably already put too much time into their own races and training.

Anyone know how a race like the Gull came into being?

Pros -
There are 4 or 5 canoe clubs within reasonable travelling distance that could participate. I don't expect it would be big, but even with just the locals, if key people buy-in, I'm sure we could get enough people/boats to make it respectable.

There are some gates on a central river, as long as we set an easy (class II) course during low water (when the kaykers race it, it can be class IV).

And there are even some local gates where people could practice.

Cons -
There's no recent culture/experience with racing for ww open canoes around here.

Supporters & participants are skeptical about new things.

I have no idea what's involved with race logistics, or anything related to racing or event coordination.

Pro & Con -
There are some regional races that include the odd canoe http://www.nwwhitewater.org/ and a racing group at the nearby Chilliwack River http://ccekayak.tripod.com/index.html, so we could look to them for help, but I believe they're serious racers/kayakers. And, it would be nice to have an open-canoe-only race, to keep things low-key; in fact, I don't think many casual canoeists would either attend, or be welcomed at, an actual racer's race.

So, any advice? What steps might one take to organize a race? In what order do you need what key ingredients for it to come together?

Thanks, Pat.

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Last edited by yarnellboat on August 20th, 2009, 6:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: March 26th, 2007, 8:44 am 
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Way to go big P!!!!!
from my very limited understanding:

finacial aid.....nice to have sponsors for door prizes....the Gull race doesn't have prize money...just very coveted bragging rights.....
it does have local gear manufactures and distributors donating merchandise for the door prizes.....every entered racer has a chance that way.

White water Ontario is the santioning body for the Gull.....nice folk there who could and probably will answer your questions......snationing by a body that can cover your insurance is probably the most important elelemnt (for a race, gates it's just a matter of making sure it's ok with whoever is responsible for the wterway you're on) the rest can be done through volunteer work. History of Gull is on the WO website somewhere I think? or at least I remember linking to it from there

Promotions are getting a handle on all the clubs, websites and crossover interests.....local papers gear and paddling mags... could be as simple as "letter to the editor" and I know you're good at that :D
NESS in New England runs some beginner coach/ race events....maybe pick their brains....slalom page on the Northeast paddlers message board
create an atmoshpere.....get a couple kwey paddlers to commit to being there and I bet you can pull it off
I probably didn't tell you anything you didn't already know....most improtant....I think it's fantastic you're contimplanting!

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PostPosted: October 14th, 2007, 1:55 am 
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Update: After looking-on once again at a nearby slalom race, with my clumbsy, plastic canoe on the car, watching all the skilled people in their pointy, fiberglass speedsters, :cry: I've started a wave rolling. If it stops, I'm sure that I'll try to push it upstream, but at least it's moving for now...

The Gull people were quick to respond and they'll be a great resource. Not sure we'd start out with that many classes, but I'd consider this a "sister race" to the Gull, in that it would be open boats only, and just a fun gathering for canoeists - the example of door prizes vs. 1st prizes is a great one, that's a model we'd like to follow.

I hadn't thought about insurance, but the local racers' club at the Chilliwack also responded immediately and with enthusiasm, we'd do it under them to use their gates and their insurance - so, unless something goes haywire, I think we can just put it on their race schedule, and that they'll show us the ropes of running a race for timing, judging, marshalling, etc.

This probably pre-mature, but I don't see why/how this wouldn't happen with just a bit of promotion and recruiting enough volunteers. I think we could get a respectable turnout. I'm hoping for the 1st annual Tamihi Open Canoe Slalom to be Sept 14-15, 2008.

Thanks to the Gull people and the Chilliwack Centre of Excellence for their enthusiastic replies so far! :clap:

Big P.

p.s. Any fun stories from the Gull this year, I don't think I saw any posts about it?

p.p.s. Sponsors - step right up, get in on the ground floor of this new event for canoeists! Send all your prizes to me now. :P

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PostPosted: October 14th, 2007, 9:17 pm 
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A few years back (while still in Ontario), we were thinking about entering the Gull slalom race, maybe the following year. We showed up to check out the paddlers on the way home from a different trip... we watched for a bit and then said, no way, these guys are way too good and we don't belong here. At that point we didn't know who Mike Yee or Andrew Westwood was and why they were tearing the place up like they were - and that the non-pro class would be less skilled.

What we ended up doing, just to get our feet wet and try things out, was the Credit River downriver race the following spring. We figured nobody would be watching, except for the fishermen, and we'd have a good time. We met a few good people and had a great time (except for the cold). If we were still in Ontario, we'd likely be at the Gull and at the Credit every year now.

From our experience, if you want to recruit people you need to have some sort of non-threatening type of hook to get them to come out and paddle - like a downriver race. Leave the slalom course open so they can try it out on their own at a slower pace. Once people see how much fun they are having, then they'll start showing up when you announce a slalom race.


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 Post subject: Canoe Race
PostPosted: October 14th, 2007, 10:00 pm 
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I have been involved with the credit river race since 1969 and I have been the Co-race chair for 25 plus years :oops:
The 50th year of the race happens next spring and we have been running the race on a shoe string budget for years.
Back when the sport was beginning there were a lot of open boats and There are many paddlers in BC who can trace their routes through the Credit race, including some from the early days.
Get the slalom people to help because they have the gates, equipment and knowhow to hang a course quick.
Keep the course beginner/itermediate friendly on simple water were sucess can be acheived.
If you have to buy your own wire (we use blue plastic covered clothsline) it can be used for many years.
The one thing that is missing in Canada are family friendly races such as those when I first started racing in the States.
The very first meeting to host and run a open canoe championship was at a race like this in New Hampshire,
Things were simpler back then....
Oh yeah!
Insurance
If you go through the slalom people they can help you get it through theri Prov. org.
There are a lot of good people out there, and I am sure they would help, I know because alot of them helped with races out here.
Jeff


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PostPosted: October 15th, 2007, 12:44 am 
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In Vancouver, we don't have any famous pro paddlers. I guess one or 2 could show up out of the woodwork, of course there are some who are much better paddlers than others, but at least they're not famous.

Isn't the Gull "family friendly" and fun for everyone? My goal here (and others in my club would definitely keep me in line on this!) is to have a course that's friendly for beginner/intermediates. Class II - II+.

We won't have a pro class, there probably won't be a class for glass boats - I only know 2 guys here with glass boats (and who cares if there's no prizes for finishing 1st), and there might be a class for "normal" canoes - say, tandems over 15'6". A "junior" class would be under 50.

I think the only reason to do any age, sex or boat classes at all is mostly for the sake of marshalling.

Keep any feedback or stories comin'.

PY.

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PostPosted: October 15th, 2007, 5:29 am 
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The Gull event is family friendly but portions of the river (the otter slide) are not.
The races I attended as a beginner a swim wasn't a bad thing.
You may not have any "pro" boaters that you know of, but there are alot like me tthat were very good and even great in their time.
Even now I have been contacted by older racers that have now find that life has given them time to get back in the boats.
Jeff


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PostPosted: October 16th, 2007, 12:55 am 
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I don't know know of many ex-great boaters/racers kickin' around Vancouver. One or 2 for sure, and probably some K racers that might be able to canoe, but I think if we don't even bother with a glass class, and just keep it normal stock/rec boats, that should keep the tone down.

I'm more worried about having enough people show up than I am about it been flooded by hotshot racers. I think we'll be dealing with - and catering to - river running canoeists who have never seen gates before.

PY.

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PostPosted: October 16th, 2007, 10:27 am 
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Hi Pat, this is great news, its people like you that really make a diifference and that is why the sport of canoeing is growing.

My dauthers have been moving in the slalom direction with OC1 and C1, my oldest Aliesha who is 13 is really starting to turn some heads, sweet!! I'm very proud of her efforts, she could make many adults blush with some of her moves and drive.

We have built a slalom course only 5 min. from our house, the girls even painted their own gates which really made a difference in their wanting to practice, the girls practice at every opportunity, they're progressing nicely.

So between Aliesha's modified ( cut down ) Zoom which is just over 8', in which she is getting her self ready for the US Nationals, which by the way looks like it will be at the Gull for 2008. She'll be competeing in both womans senior and junior OC1. She's also paddling C1 which is her main focus. Her slalom boat just came in from Europe, it was sized for her, as a small but with an extra small stern so she can pop her turns. Its a Vajad Lizard 350smxs racing pro. , she even designed the graphics her self..... pretty cool!!!! My wife and the girls will be moving to Ottawa for the summer next year so they can get even more advanced coaching at the National training facility.

What does this all mean...... I'm not sure at this point but the present World mens C1 Champhion and Olympic Champion became an Olympic Gold medalist when he was 17. Aliesha will be 18 when England gets the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. So who knows????

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PostPosted: October 17th, 2007, 2:55 pm 
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I've not much experience in organizing official events but I'd be happy to throw my charming personality into the mix, I also happen to know a few skilled WW paddlers on the Wet Coast who'd jump at any excuse to attend an event. Keep my e-mail handy if there's any way I can help!

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PostPosted: October 17th, 2007, 11:29 pm 
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It does'nt look like it would happen this year as the National Junior Qualifier and the Nationals are both on this side of the country. But I'm sure there will be races that will send us your way, in any event, if your Open Canoe race is within a week of either the above mentioned races I think we could try to attend. The only problem being boats..... we would be flying the C1's out there not OC1, so we would need to borrow? Anyone have any Sparks or Zooms out there?

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PostPosted: October 18th, 2007, 1:30 am 
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Monster - thanks for the interest, I'll let you know when it's confirmed.

Al - you and your daughters are not invited. 8) Too pro! I'm one the adults that would be shamed by your daughters ability and drive, and I'm not too proud to say it would make me mad! I can see how it makes you proud though, keep up the good work. I've enjoyed following their young "careers" on the Internet and the magazines.

Let me know when they have races at Tamihi, I'd go watch. And if you are out west around the time of an OC event (or anytime), I'm sure I could find you a nice XL 13 or something. :wink: (And, actually, no, ...nobody here does have a Zoom or a Spark, but there's an outfitted Spark on sale that somebody will probably pick up, as the local ww canoe shop is going into retirement. He sold one Zephyr, but not to anybody I know or have seen.)

Actually, if you are out here, let me know if you'd have time and be willing to give a solo ww clinic for class II-III boaters that are stuck there, but who'd like to learn to play more. Paul did some clinics once several years ago. I've suggested to MKC and other instructors that they offer a satellite clinic out here once in a while - makes more sense to fly out an instructor or 2 than to have 10-20 students get from Vancouver to MKC!

PY.

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PostPosted: October 18th, 2007, 9:23 am 
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I'm heading to Up State NY this weekend with Paul, Mark, Andrew, Eli, Dooley, Gigi and a buch of other great OC1 boaters to do the Moose and Independence. I asked Aliesha if she wanted to go, when I said Gigi was going that caught her attention..... If you don't know who Gigi is, she's by far the best female class V OC1 boater in North America.....she gives Mark & Eli a run for their money! :D Gigi is Aliesha's idol, she would sooner follow her down the river than Mark or Eli, thats saying something when both of those guys are World Champions! But she said she's going to practice on slalom this weekend.......thats dedication!!!! Sweet!!!! :wink:

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PostPosted: December 20th, 2007, 1:44 am 
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Still workin' on it, seems like it'll happen...

http://www3.telus.net/~soloboat/index.html


PY.

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PostPosted: December 20th, 2007, 8:33 pm 
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Thats way cool! I'd like to say that we'd be able to make it the thats the weekend of Gull Open Canoe slalom. :( Aliesha has now moved indoors for her training and has a personal trainer other than one more pool session she won't be back into a boat till after she comes back from France. At that point she'll start the season off with the Provincal Junior Quailifier on Mothersday weekend. Theres been some changes....from there its out to the Kananaskis for the Junior National Qualifier May 30, 31 & June 1st. But the big race for her will be the National Championship in Jonquiere QC in August. We'll be also getting a C2 for the girls, and Emily's new C1 has arrived from Europe.... what have I done??? :doh: Its going to be pretty cool.... a sister team paddling C2......sweet!!!! :D

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