The Kal-Classic was a tough race for us to miss this season and we were bummed not to cheer on our very own, Genna Flinkman but as a Guest Blogger, she gives us a great re-cap of the event and her racing. Thanks, Genna and congratulations.
"Saturday started early, as everyone wanted to set up so we could enjoy the amazing atmosphere and people. Myself and most participants were at the beach by 8 am to snag a parking spot and a prime location on the beach. I have been to many events in Canada but the Kal Classic was brimming with as much excitement and people as many of the bigger races in the US. It was exciting to run into the people that I have became friends with in previous events like Semiahmoo, Hood River and Endless Adventure. The day began with a quick meetings, a pep talk from Lina Auguitis and a group circle where we took a moment to appreciate the amazing community that SUP has created and our connection to each other and the lake we are so lucky to race on. There was a lot activity on the beach with families, racers and vendors out to enjoy the weekend. At any given time you could see people talking to CJC Sup Fins, testing out the new Werner Paddles, chatting up the Starboard rep and cheering on the contestants.
The Saturday races were comprised of the Eagle Dash, Kids sprints, Open Sprints and Elite Sprints. The atmosphere was amazing with everyone cheering each other on and giving it their all. The number of people that showed up to race was huge, their biggest yet! For me, the excitement of the day was during the Elite races. Racing against the likes of Shannon Bell, Avery Bridges, Leanne Stanley and others was both exciting and humbling. The Women’s Elite race took place with three heats each counting for points, the third counting as double points. However, there was a twist this year; the moment the first person crossed the finish line five minutes was put on the clock and after that five minutes was up the next heat started. Therefore, you had to go 100% in each heat so that you had time to recover. The heats were awesome, with buoy turn pile ups, passes and sprints to the finish. In the end I was lucky enough to finish 2nd overall. Shannon Bell took first and Leanne Stanley got third with only one point separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th. It was a close battle each heat. Everyone did amazing and it was probably the most fun I have ever had on a SUP.
The day slowed down for me after that. The Men's Elite race went right after the women's and put on an exciting 4 heats. Again, everyone did amazing and it was awesome to see the competitiveness but camaraderie between the racers. It was a great day of fun, races, demos, family and friends.
The second day the wind picked up for the crossing, shifting in our favour providing a tail wind. It was exciting to see the kids and open go before me and battle the wind and chop. The first 6km were a blast as I spent my energy connecting little bumps to gain glide. Then the wind died down and it was a grind the whole way to the beach. The 17km was much harder than I anticipated but then, distance was never a friend of mine. It was just a matter of grinding it out and enjoying the breathtaking views along the way. Crossing the finish line made it all worth it when everyone who had finished was there to cheer you on and congratulate you. Probably the best moment of the day was when Jennifer Lawsen came in as the first crosser ever on a prone board. Finished paddlers greeted her with a row of raised paddles and encouragement to congratulate her completing this huge feat. Everyone else trickled in with cheers and smiles as the day slowed down for awards.
All in all, it was an amazing two days. A huge thank you to Kalavida Surf Shop, Kevin, Lina, the volunteers, sponsors and vendors that showed up to spread the stoke.Congrats to everyone that competed and to the winners. I cannot wait for next year but for now I look forward to the PacificPaddle Games and the excitement that it will offer."