Flatwater paddlers compete at Yukon Championships

Two four-person kayaks race side by side during during the 2019 Flatwater Yukon Championships on July 27 at Schwatka Lake in Whitehorse. Four-person kayak races were a new addition for the 2019 iteration of the event. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Paddlers race during the 2019 Flatwater Yukon Championships on July 27. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
A tandem canoe races to catch up to another boat that lost a paddler during a race at the 2019 Flatwater Yukon Championships on July 27 at Schwatka Lake. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Adult paddlers race in a dragon boat to best the time set by youth paddlers. The adults emerged victorious by just over a second. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)
Paddlers performed a half-time show at the 2019 Flatwater Yukon Championships on July 27 that included renditions of Baby Shark and Cha Cha Slide. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Flatwater North hosted the 2019 Flatwater Yukon Championship paddling regatta at Schwatka Lake in Whitehorse on July 27.

Daniel Girouard, executive director for Flatwater North, said the annual event gets more and more streamlined each year.

“I think the championships went really well,” said Girouard. “The kids are just getting older every year and they’re more independent, so it makes our job easier.”

The day of paddling included solo, tandem and four-person canoe and kayak races, as well as a handful of standup paddleboard races and even a dragon boat race pitting the youth against the adults.

This year, the adults managed to narrowly beat the time set by the youth.

One of the new additions to this year’s event was the inclusion of four-person kayak races, now that the club has enough boats to allow for a race.

Girouard said turnout was similar to previous years, as the core group of paddlers has stayed the same year to year.

“The kids are pretty much the same kids that come out every year,” said Girouard. “It’s always a challenge for us to organize anything in the summer, especially on weekends. People are always busy and there are always things going on.”

In addition to the numerous youth and open races, the day also included a parent and child race as well as a halftime show featuring a dozen young paddlers performing choreographed dance routines on standup paddleboards to Baby Shark and Cha Cha Slide, which was every bit as impressive as it sounds.

Although the main event may be the youth races, Girouard stressed the championships are also an opportunity for paddlers young and old to come out, race and have some fun.

“It’s for anyone that wants to come out and just paddle and race and have a good time,” said Girouard. “We want to encourage anyone to come out and have some fun with us. It’s not just catered to those that take part in our programs.”

Next up for paddlers in the Yukon is the Chili and Beans Race on Aug. 6 starting at 6 p.m. Registration for that race is at 5:30 p.m. at Rotary Park and the finish is at the Tahkini River Bridge.

Fiver paddlers from the Yukon are also travelling to the Western Canada Summer Games in Saskatchewan from Aug. 8 to 13.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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