Keith Major looked poised to continue the surf-ski domination of the Okanagan Small Boat Race Series in the last race of the season, held on Skaha Lake Sept. 25. Leading for two thirds of the 11.2 km race, a momentary lapse saw three outrigger canoes pass him coming into the finish. “I was doing great, the boat was moving well in the big waves, and then I started admiring what a perfect day it was”, said Major, “next thing I know I can hear these crews bearing down on me amongst the sound of the wind and waves. I just couldn’t hold them off. It’s okay, I still had a great race in some of the best conditions I’ve raced in for the Okanagan”.
Conditions for the race saw winds close to 30 km/h, gusting to over 40 km/h from the south. Race organizer, Andrew MacPhail, waited for the weather and wind forecast before deciding on the direction of the course, “this lake is perfect for a ‘downwind style’ race. The wind is almost always north or south. You just have to be patient”. In this year’s event, paddlers left Okanagan Falls and raced back to Penticton.
Leanne Stanley and Sandra Mowat of Kelowna crossed the finish line first in a two-person outrigger in a time of 56 minutes 46 seconds. Top one person outrigger was Mike Bernemann of Vancouver in a time of 57:24. Local paddler Don Mulhall finished second at 58:57, followed close behind by top junior Brian MacPhail with a time of 1:00:19.
Other locals to finish were Ron Pronger (1:01:35), Clara Schirrmeister and Brenna KacKinder on a two person outrigger canoe (1:08:27) and Bev Boden (1:17:56)
Penticton Racing Canoe Club has no more races this season. For more information, visit the CORA website.