Hamilton Island…the story Part 1

Lori Velesik FCRCC

Day One, Friday June 13th

The morning started off with OC1 500 M Sprints.
Sheila, Zoe, and Patti raced in Open and all placed well in their
heats which were highly competitive…”And here comes Lawson from
Canada….really pouring it on now !!!! (the anouncer was having
fun with us Canucks!!!!)

In the Masters, all 5 ladies from our team did very well with 4
making the final. Kathleen Kranenburg finished 10th.
So on the line, 4 out of 8 lanes were occupied by Scatterchicks in
the final…not bad for not training sprints!!!
In the end it was our “Seattle Housewife”, Tracy Landboe, who does
not paddle OC1 and has never sprinted anything in her life who took
the bronze medal!!!! Unbelievable.
Cheryl 5th, Lori V. 6th and Lori Jorgenson 7th.

All in all the sprints were a blast and we all did if for
fun…everyone was glad they did it.

Very shortly after our Maters final, Cheryl and Lori V. were on the
start line for the 8km OC1 race.
140 boats were registered for this event….staggering. Luckily,
they started the men first because the first corner of the race was
pretty rocky with huge current and rough water…. could have
resulted in a huge pile up of wrecked boats.

The race itself was pretty flat but very technical with big tides
and tons of current…like you are on a river. All your marathon
canoe skills start coming into play big time as you are in shallows,
back eddies, shooting out of ‘boiling water”, plotting your courses
to consider the currents and drift…trying at the same time to surf
anything that moved your way.

It was a tight race the whole way…I got a taste of “Aussie Rules”
paddling as I was deliberately driven into a big turning buoy at the
half way mark…no inside line right of way/overlap rules
here!!!!…take ’em out is the name of the game it seems.
Both Cheryl and I got the priviledge of paying her back by beating
her so it was okay!!!!
The last stretch proved critical fighting incoming flood tide and
wind. Both Cheryl and I hugged the rocks…like 2-3 feet
hugging…and ended up scooting past all the women we had fought the
whole way including some chicks from Kai O’pua and Mooloolaba by
working the back eddies and surfing the bumps that came off the
rocks..very exciting and technical.

In the end,me and Cheryl placed 2nd and 3rd in Masters and 3rd and
4th for women over all. We were both thrilled!
(times 51:22 and 51:56 respectively). We were both pretty stoked.

Zoe was the lone Scatterchick in the 16km OC1 race and she had a
blast with rougher conditions by doing the OC6 course in the reverse
direction. Zoe placed 2nd in Open!!! with a time of

Day 2, Saturday June 14th :

Okay…picture 85 womens boats on a start line…WOW. Because there
were so many boats, they started the Open women first and then the
Masters started about 3 minutes later.
We had decided to do this race as Open and Masters
Sheila, Zoe, Linda, Patti, Gena and Sue were the Open Team.
Lori V, Tracy , Lori J., Kathleen, Justine and Cheryl were the
Masters Team.

This recollection is from the “Masters Crew
perspective”because…that is where I was…., it was a fantastic
race with every condition out there to challenge you. It was not as
big as we had expected which was a bit disappointing but it was
still way bigger than home.

Starting 3 minutes behind the Opens was fantastic because we were
reeling in boats one after another the whole way…you knew you were
doing well when the teams became tougher and tought to pass. We has
a few costly boat collisions that locked us up for a while and ran
over a healthy sized rock with our hull unfortunately.
At the last turn, 10 minutes out we could hardly believe we were
passing Kai O’Pua’s Open Crew!!! We surfed passed them!!!
We had one more battle with a crew which we won and crossed the
finish line with about 5 boats ahead of us.
We had no idea who was who or what category they were out there.
We did not learn until the medal presentation that night that we had
not only won Masters but because of the 3 minute time gap inbetween
Open and Masters, we were actually the 2nd fastest crew out of 85
boats, behind Moloolooba Open Crew (who are so on fire and are going
to win Molokia this year easily!!!)
To top it all off with icing….we broke the course record for
Masters !!!!!!

Our Open Crew has a strong finish placing 11th in the Open category
out of 53 canoe!!!!. They had many good battles out there in a
really competitive field paddling our friend “Woody”….an older
training boat on loan to us from Outrigger Australia…the
It was a tough, hard, demanding race for both crews and everyone was
feeling it…it was awesome!

That is it for day #1 and day #2….
Day 3 and 4 to follow shortly I hope.

Lori Velisek

Na Wahine O Ke Kai

Sabrina Schwanebeck -Jericho

Longing to race Na Wahine O Ke Kai again this year I found myself absolutely miserable. The race date was coming closer and I came to the resolve that I would not be there. Jericho was not attending this year and I had been replaying the past years’ races in my mind.

Then as if by magic, the sun came out. One minute I was reading emails and
the next minute I was booking a flight to Maui. Oh my God!! Zoe
Norcross (formally from False Creek) now from Hawaiian Canoe Club was
trying to recruit paddlers to race! All of a sudden I knew I was
going to race in the World Outrigger Championships again and what
elation! Oh joy!! Oh rapture!!! Email to airport was approximately 5
days and so off I go…

The moment I got off the plane, the heat and smell of plumerias
filled me with excitement and relief that I was finally there. One
practice with the crew (mostly surfing) and I feel like I have always
paddled with them. They were all so nice and welcoming. Aloha
permeates our practice. Day before race day we ferry over to Molokai
and it is nearly flat!! Oh no, don’t tell me I’ve come for a flat
crossing! Apparently the trades weren’t due till Monday. The race is
Sunday. I had been missing the girls from my home club and was frantically
on email to Jericho women asking them to whistle us up some wind.
Well…it worked!! The trades actually hurried over for Sunday. The
Channel gave us solid 4 to 8 foot seas and averaged 15-20 knots.
Don’t know how that worked, but the paddling Gods were smiling on us.

We finished the race with a battle to the last second with Healani
and ended with a time of 6:38:32. Great finish to go with a great
race! I give much Mahalo to Zoe and the women of Hawaiian Canoe Club
and Coach Jonny Mac. They welcomed me into their paddling family and
I loved getting to know them all. Hopefully I will see you all again
one day.

Much Aloha,
Sabrina Schwanebeck

A Rookie’s Perspective On Molokai

by Shauna Halferty – Jericho

I’m home sweet home and getting back into the swing of school. I try to concentrate but I think I’m still in shock of what we just accomplished. Think about what we just did together- I know this isn’t the first time for all of us but it is a pretty amazing feat.

This race definitely has changed my life, and the physical, mental and emotional limits I have put on myself and on people in general. We have all trained very hard to build our bodies into paddling machines; early mornings, solos, the gym, cold water changes, you name it, pushing ourselves and each other to be the best we can be.

I was prepared for the physical aspect and I knew I had to be mentally focused- (As a wise, and large I gather, Hawaiian told Teresa and Gung-Ho “It’s all up here” tapping the head). I thought I was ready and all I had to do was race. That day changed the way I think about outrigger and about what we as people can do and overcome, physically, mentally and emotionally.

I am fairly new to this sport and to athletics in general, I have never experienced the emotion, the overwhelming emotion of love and support that I felt and still feel from all you girls, and I thank you for that. Keskula- You are a machine, and I know with your determination you’ll go where you want to go. Karen- you smarty pants with the huge lats(we newbies did it!). Sabrina- you are so focused and thoughtful- with studying and paddling, awesome. Miss Bell- you’re friendship and warmth and laughter have been a true happiness in my life. Jenn, I’m so glad to have had your strength in the boat and cheerful support- thanks also to Ken who supported you. Wendy- you tough cookie! Your bruises truly prove the dedication necessary in this sport- thank you for your work organizing over the year and your little pushes of encouragement to me- I felt them. Colleen- your experience and leadership is greatly appreciated, your calm and spiritual side has woke me up and thank you so much for your faith in me race morning! Sandra- you are amazing- your indispensable energy and positive encouragement are inspiring. Your children are very lucky. T- your words are always thoughtful and full of insight, thank you so much for your calm and soothing visualizations, advice and physical dedication you are an inspiration and I can see firsthand, a good mother.

I now know that paddling is about more than the sport, the training and the physical aspect, I think that the big wise Hawaiian might have sent the message clearer if he had said- “It’s all in here” (tapping the heart)

Thanks to all of you and hope to see you all soon, my family,
Love, Shauna