Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What a summer for Alberta Slalom!

What a summer indeed. Since my last post, which was a while ago, we have put 17,000km on our new van, paddled at least 7 different slalom courses, surfed on (arguably) the three best sites in Canada, several creeks and improved our skills at each step along the way.

National Team Trials in Ottawa in May were spectacular in several ways. The weather tore apart our poor little tent, and Alberta paddlers tore up the course. Jessica & Ben made the Senior National Team, while Marissa, Graham and Hayden did likewise on the Junior Team.

Not long after we took delivery of our new spaceship which has been a trustworthy transporter of delicate cargo across Canada since.Farmer Joe's campsite in Saskatchewan

The first three weeks of July saw a full load travel to Ontario for the Summer Series and Junior Olympics. I can't possibly count the number of medals that came from the 4 slalom races, two freestyles, boater cross and downriver races , but suffice to say the van was weighed down by all the hardware.

During the three weeks we stopped twice at Sturgeon falls in Winnepeg and ran the Ottawa giving us a well rounded appreciation for big waves. One of the best parts of the trip was seeing the improvement in Veronica and Levi, who on the way out, were out of their league on Sturgeon, but on the way back were tearing up the wave like they'd been born on it.

The largest congregation of Slalom boats the Ottawa has ever seen, over 30 in all!

Nearly immediately after the trip east it was time for us to defend our own turf at the Kananaskis. The National and PanAm Championships were a huge success. With top European paddlers competing along side our Alberta athletes, it was amazing to be able to directly compare where we stand. We had over 21 athletes competing and were able to finally get our name on the Brian Creer Trophy for the first time since 2001. Well done everyone for your individual efforts and selfless work on behalf of the team.

Fastest Team: Alberta Men's Kayak - Paul, Chris, Ben

Nationals would not have been possible without this wonderful Team of volunteers!

From Nationals, a 12hr turn around led us out to BC to the newly opened Rutherford Creek artificial course. Innergex has built an excellent paddling course that will take paddling in Canada to a new level. The course is not for the weak of heart. It's fast, narrow and with rough concrete, provides a serious element of consequence should problems occur. Alberta took it is stride and by the end of the week were quite at home on the most powerful course in the World. Roughly 20 racers braved the course which will be the site of the 2010 Senior National Team Trials. Jessica was on top of her game, while in men's kayak coach Mike had to uphold the reputation of the Alberta team (thanks for the coffee Paul).

Monday following the race was epic. We climbed The Chief in Squamish, and then proceeded to Skookumchuck for another memorable surf.

As the summer winds down for most, Jessica, Ben, Mike and the rest of the National Team are in Seu d'Urgell, Spain for the World Championships. Three weeks here and then back to the Kan for the Provincial Championships September 19,20.

Till then...

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