They did it!
The women’s over-70s team from False Creek has won an historic gold medal at the Va’a World Outrigger Sprint Championships in Calgary, AB.
Both Canadian Kapuna teams joined for a V12 race—two outrigger canoes that seat six apiece, or OC6s, were tied together and the amas removed for this race.
The women competed against a Hawaiian team; some of them paddle at the club in Kona, Hawaii, where members of the kapunas (a Hawaiian word used for the over-70s paddlers) have vacationed for a few years. Mom has accompanied some of the False Creek paddlers to Kona for the past two winters.
The race kicked off at 9:36 a.m.; it was overcast, cool, and not too windy. The Canadians had a strong start at the green flag and leapt to a lead of about two boats lengths. Mom Judy Quinn can be seen in the race video in Seat 3 of the boat closest to the camera. Here’s a link:
Canada maintained its lead until approximately the three-quarter mark of the 500-metre course, when the push was on for Hawaii. They crept up on Canada until there were mere centimetres separating the two boats.
However, it was Canada’s double bow that crossed the finish line first, in a time of 2:47.40. Hawaii’s time was 2:48.16.
This was an historic race for the Va’a Outrigger World Sprints: never before had an over-70s category been included in the event. and Canada won in its own country.
The announcer had a great time calling this race (as he did with most of them. He did a fabulous job today), even saying he thought people should check the paddlers’ IDs because he thought they looked too young for being over-70s.
At the end of the race, the Hawaiian team got out of their boat first, and formed a paddle arch up the ramp from the docks. They waited for Team Canada to walk under their arch, cheering them up the ramp. The Canadians then formed their own arch for the Hawaiian team. It was a wonderful show of good sportsmanship and camaraderie, which has been evident at this event.
The women then had to wait until the end of the day to receive their medals at an awards ceremony. And they were the very last team!
Well done, ladies.
Judy’s team (Canada 1) and Canada 2 will compete against Hawaii 1 and 2 in a OC6 race on Monday. Because there are only four boats, this will be a final event.
On Tuesday, they compete in a 1,000-metre (3,280 feet) race comprised of four legs of 250 metres (820 feet) each, with three sharp turns.