When – Saturday September 17th.
Where – The Riviere St-Charles in Valleyfield, Quebec.
Saturday started with a sunny but brisk morning. Paddlers started showing up at 9:30 am to get registered and get ready for another fun boater cross. At 10:30 we had 3 categories of racers: The first was our women’s category. Cheryl McGregor, Sylvie Lebel, Emily Zwanenburg, Sabina Finnie and Shaunna Neil-Martin. The race was excellent. The course was intentionally made tough with a couple must make moves to ensure the challenge and add some excitement to the event. The first upstream gate was in an eddy set just above a retentive hole. This assures us a good show. It also reminded everyone of the importance of never quitting. Cheryl held the lead throughout but at the tough gate, Emily and Sylvie collided pushing both into the hole and missing the gate. Shaunna is a new paddler who came to us from Petawawa, worked super hard to keep up with the pack. She did great. The second upstream gate proved challenging but with some encouragement form her friend Graham she never quit and completed every gate assuring her a second place in the race. We were all proud.
The next 3 heats consisted of our men’s category combined with the Junior men. What a great show. The 1st upstream gate gave us the intended results. A big challenge and some good beatdowns. Our regular racers Zachary Zwanenburg, Sean Hakvoort, Zachary Hakvoort, Francois Bergeron-Proulx, Aimé-Jean Lavigne, Louis-Phillipe Legare and the rest of the kids from the Valleyfield slalom club ( 3 Sams, Max, Marc-Antoine, Charles, and Aaron) were joined by Simon LaChance, Graham Kent from Pembrooke, Frederick and Eric and Charles Davidson who gave us a great show pushing themselves and each other really hard The highlights were our new paddlers: Graham rocked his first race. Graham is a very new paddler (been a month!) and he got worked in the hole and hung on tight and finished the race. Eric Davidson and his brother Charles ran their first race too. Both these young men come from the CReW Youth Challenge Kayak Program and showed us that they were listening throughout the summer. Well done boys!
After the race and the race awards, Aime-Jean and Louis-Phillipe organized an impromptu mass start race without rules! I could not resist and jumped in the race. What a hoot. 11 paddlers start together in a tough mix of slalom and no rules boatercross. Manic is a hole that does not treat you well if there is more than one paddler in it. There were many. hehehehe. No one completed all the gates but everyone had fun.
Next up is the main event – Seaway Valley WK Hometown Throwdown. It seems that the last event of every year brings us the best crowd. This year was no exception. The morning race crew competed and we added Dany Trottier to the men’s group. The competition was solid. 7 paddlers did their rides on mini wave while the advanced group watched and cheered. The kids and new paddlers gave us surfs, spins and back surfs mixed in with some great old school shows (paddle twirls, air guitar and a tomahawk) So very cool to see these new paddlers take on the sport.
The advanced boaters gave us a good show as well. 4 women( junior and adults) and 12 men (Juniors and adults) stood up to manic and did their best. Loops, a few huge entry moves, massive air loops and aerial space gods, splitwheels, cartwheels and a felix were on the table. Was very cool. In the end the results were as follows:
Down River race:
1st Louis-Philippe Légaré
2nd Zachary Zwanenburg
3rd François Bergeron-Proulx
1st Cheryl McGregor
2nd Shaunna Neil-Martin
3rd Emily Zwanenburg
1st François Bergeron-Proulx 175 points
2nd Frederick 167 points
3rd Aimé-Jean 118 points
Junior men A
1st Zachary Zwanenburg 342 points He was also the 1st overall.
2nd Maxime Leboeuf 62 points
3rd Samuel Primeau 48 points
Women A ( junior and adults)
1st Cheryl McGregor 139 points
2nd Sylvie Lebel 17 points
3rd Emily Zwanenburg 15 points
Men and Women B ( junior and adults )
1st Charles Demeule
2nd Samuel Pharand
3rd Zachary Hakvoort
The only C-1 of the day was Zachary Zwanenburg, 23 points, no swimming!
At the end of the day, everyone had fun and walked away with a sweet reward from our sponsors too
The day ended with a BBQ for those who could make it. Food drinks, cake, coffee and fireworks were provided by the Zwanenburg family at our home. It was a great time and a wonderful way to end the freestyle season in our region.
Thanks to all our participants, family, volunteers and sponsors. Without you all my life would be a lot less fun
See y’all on the river soon,