Finally the much anticipated “Hamilton Island 2003 Part 2”

Lori Velesik FCRCC

Aloha !

My apologies for the delay but work, training and racing seemed to
dominate my life since my return from paradise!!!

First of all, I neglected to fully recount Day 2…forgetting
entirely that we raced OC6 500m sprints about 1.5 hour after
finishing our 16km Iron race. (perhaps on purpose!) Everyone was
pretty pooped and excited after such a fantastic race and effort
around Hamilton Island that it was difficult to refocus, convince
yourself that you are “fresh as a daisy” and get back out on the
sprint course only to blow your wad !!!

We had previously decided to have fun with the sprints, because we
don’t train them, and that perhaps getting some intersquad rivalry
going might be a kick. Our Scatterchicks team was comprised of
exactly 6 Canadians and 6 Americans…Soooooo…Canada vs. USA !!!
(I think the Americans are still bitter about the Hockey !!!)

Both teams raced in the Open category and it was very competitive.
7 heats of 8 boats !!!
To advance, you had to win your heat or have the next single fastest
time to advance to the final.

The Americans were off first…with “Seattle Housewife”, Tracy
leading the Yanks (Gena, Linda, Lori J, Justine and Sue) at a
furious pace…the Americans, wearing their stylish US bandanas,
were no slouches, placing 2nd in their heat….but would there time
be good enough to advance????HHHMmmmm.

The Canadians get in their lane, next to (gulp), the very focused
and large Kai O’pua Open crew…(gulp).
The Canucks (Lori V, Zoe, Kathleen, Patti, Sheila and Cheryl) puffed
up as best as their tired bones could muster (also looking very
stylish in their maple leaf bandanas), only to place 2nd to a very
fast Kai O’Pua team. But how fast were the Canucks???? HHHmmmm

Well in the end neither team was fast enough to advance to the final.
Everyone was actually pretty happy (actually ecstatic !!!) not to
have to race again after such a big day…and it was fun…but the
distance stuff is cooler!!! A cool dip in the pool and food were
more welcome and appealing than racing again after all.

As for the national pride…the Americans bested the Canadians by
about 2 seconds.
Okay, okay…we’ll see ’em back on the ice and see who is top dog!!!!
(Personally, I think the Yanks were conspiring this victory…none
of the Americans raced any OC1 distance the day
before…slackers…saving all their energy…while us Canadians
were out there defending Team honor!!!!! HHHuuummpphhh !!!!

Anyway, back to our regular programming :

Day Three, Sunday June 15th

Welcome to a new event at Hamilton Island…”Total
Chaos” …ooops ” The Bolt Across the Bay” !!!!
Because there were so many teams participating in this 20th
Anniversary event, there was not enough time to run the regular 1000
m Sprint events…too many teams and not enough high tide… you can
walk on the race course at low tide!!!!!

To set you up…imaging a beautiful beach littered with as many 6
man outriggers as the eye can see…people everywhere, dressed in
the latest fashion of the islands….Zena Princess warriors, the
Flinstones, a team of green painted “Hulks”,
women in pajamas and hair rollers, a team wearing only a communal box
(?!?), Chinese princesses in an outrigger decorated as a dragonboat,
angels, Vikings, coconut shell bikini clad divas, men in tuxedos,
women in evening wear and yes of course…..a big herd of cows with
their trusty cowgirl wranglers that just try to keep ’em all in

We decided to do ‘young cows’ and ‘old cows’ so once again our Open
and Masters crews took to the water.
The Masters went first, because they are more experienced than the
young heifers.
It was a start from the beach…everyone is in the boat and guys
hold your canoe…at the gun (actually a real shotgun…damn Aussies
scaring the pies out of the herd !!!! ), the guys push and you are
off. EXCEPT our guy, who is holding our ama, steps in a hole and
pushes up on our ama as he is falling and almost hulis us!!!!

So we hear out on a course that is like a steep triangle…out…90
degree buoy turn…paddle 100m …90 degree buoy turn and then bolt
On this day, we had the biggest water so far…huge and
sloppy…in ‘yer face…hang on to your paddle…hold your breath
kinda fun. We blasted out and took an early lead….then we noticed
how loose the rigging on our front iako was…”what’s that
noise???…ooohhhhh…” woooopsie!!! ( So much for atteneion to
detail huh?!?)

It was a hard, intense race, but in the end the old cows were
victorious.!!!..beating out the Mooloolaba Masters for the prize.
The race was fun and actually served as a good thing to do to
recover from the 2 days of previous hard racing…everyone felt
better after doing this race….ready for the big one tomorrow!!!

So, the youngsters went next and kicked some serious hind quarters
out there!!! The conditions were apparently a bit flatter for the
herd which only seemed to drive them more (hahaha). They had
fantastic buoy turns and finished an impressive
5th in Open out of a competitive field of 45 teams!!! Yeeeehaaaw
girls !!!

All in all, a great day had by all. A fun race, a good recovery day
and great results on the water.
At the end of it all, we had to paddle the boats around to the
Marina side of the Island in preparation for the 42km race the next
day….a nice easy paddle, bashing through just a few more waves to
wind down the day.



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

Canada’s Sprint Legacy

2002 Women's Gold Medal Crew

Gold Medal Crew

2002 – 10th Annual World Sprints in Bora Bora, Tahiti

  • 5th overall
  • Rosemary Henry – Bronze in the Senior Masters V1 500m
  • Gold in Womens Masters V6 and Women’s Senior Masters crews.

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