Friday, September 10, 2010

Alberta Provincial Championships

Alberta Provincial Championships were this past weekend at the mighty Kanbiezi River in Kananaskis Country. Despite the coming of the monsoon season, the event was well attended and everyone had a smile on their face. It's kayaking--you're wet already!!

The event was action packed to say the least. Eight competitive events, multiple clinics in Slalom and freestyle, and an overall title for the most points across all the events. And oh the food! I personally was in kayaking heaven! Special thanks to all the provincial clubs who brought out their volunteers, stoves, pots and pans and provided us with scrumptious breakfast and dinner daily! I liked the Keg of Grizzly Paw beer, the kids liked the Grizzly Paw Hand Crafted Sodas, and you just have to celebrate 5 types of pasta, steak, corn, pancakes, sausages, bacon and McMuffins!! As Greg Hunter would say "OOOOOOOO DOGGGYYYYY!"

Of course with all that food, you had energy to burn, and you needed it out there on the river. The Boater-cross was the first action-packed, exciting event with a perfect course that involved no shortage of strategy and paddling savvy. Western paddle hero Mikkel St. Jean-Duncan proved this wasn't his first rodeo as he stole top honours in the Open division, holding off five of Alberta's most trained and talented whitewater slalom paddlers-- Quite a feat! Mikkel followed up this win by taking the top spot in the Open Freestyle held on the Green Tounge of Death. Jordie Mackenize showed his bag of tricks to take the runner-up spot. In the overall title Mikkel was off to a big head start.

But the paddlers needed to reach deep-- way down to their fifth pancake and fourth piece of bacon-- to take the prize on this weekend. Next up was the Wildwater sprint-- a very fast and curvy course through the slalom rapids. This time the power of Paul Manning-Hunter shone through as he tackled the oh-so-tippy Wildwater boat class and bested Toby "Kanga" Roessingh and Connor "The Cannibal" Curson. With a strong finish in the freestyle event, Paul was crawling back into the picture.

There was also a novice slalom where some new faces hit the course to try their luck in the gates! The safety boaters were kept warm in the rain chasing swimmers, and I, as one of those safety boaters, got in all the training I need for next year's downriver sprint chasing waterlogged boats down the river! But I commend those brave soles who gave it their best try and hopefully had a fun introduction to whitewater slalom. It is always great to see new smiling faces after they did their first gate sequence in a race! Excellent job guys and hopefully we will see you next year!

The monsoon finally relented on Monday morning-- never has there been soooo much rainfall so late in the season. The B.C. coastal rainforest just crept a few inches closer to Alberta! But it was replaced with the Arctic Cold Front and all those wet tents and paddling gear turned to solid ice! Only in Alberta are the paddlers brave enough to face such climactic challenges! Nothing like drying your gear over the fire at 9 in the morning to head out on the course! Of course it wasn't only Alberta-- Saskatchewanians are pretty tough too, as Cadets Ben Lapointe and Kylie Zirk, and ex-Albertan Brendan Curson of Saskatoon proved by braving all events and showing the Alberta cadets that those flat prairies can still raise some champions. Thanks for coming out guys!

Monday brought the final two events where only the fast and the furious could contend-- Advanced Slalom and the Downriver Classic. In the hotly contested men's class Power Paul proved he had the chops. Mikkel put in an exceptional slalom performance, but it was not quite good enough to clinch the weekend's overall title. Paul ended up being crowned with the Champion's Tiara. Toby Roessingh took top spot in the DR showing he still has some guns holstered under that 9 to 5 suit. In the Cadet categories, Lissy "The Flying Dutchman" Methorst from Sundre stole almost all events in the Cadet Girls. Also from Sundre, Ryley Penner took the top prize overall in Cadet Boys. It is nice to see the resurgence of my old stoping grounds and the resurgence of Sundre in the Slalom game! Good work guys! In the Junior Categories it was the Southern Alberta sweep, as Veronica "Vern" Oczkowski iced the cake in the girl's class, and Adrian "Cookies" Cole took the boy's title (and then stole and ate Vern's Cake). C-2 was also a hotly contested class with more teams combining for the event then ever before. The Purcell brothers obviously won, but another brother duo, Manning-Hunter x2, proved the best of the rest! And let's not forget the decades long dominance of Mr. Greg Hunter, answering all comers in the Masters Class! It was a family day on the podium for the Edmontonion legends. Great job everyone.

So, a special thanks to all the volunteers for making the event one for the books. I'd say, that after attending 15+ provincial championships that this was the best one I've been too, despite all that rain and cold! And I didn't even win my races, so that's saying something! ;-) Thanks Chuck Lee at the AWA for spearheading the event and thanks to all the clubs for pitching in on the volunteering, organization, and food! Let's try to top it next year!!!


Anonymous said...

great summary Connor!

Joanne said...

well said Connor! I was an enjoyable weekend despite the forgot to mention the Catan Tournament were Toby reigned supreme! Perhaps we should have a Catan Crown!