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!


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