Gung Haggis paddlers compete at Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta: 1st in B Final 5th in A Final

AMAZING paddling Stories from today's races. 
Challenges and big leads…
Missed Opportunities and lots of boat collisions.

2009_Oct_Ft_Langley_cranberry_canoe_race 111 by you.
Our team's favorite photo from the weekend. Sheer determination of our paddlers as they paddle along the beach. Our lead stroke Tzhe really leans out to help pull the boat forward away from the beach. – photo Todd Wong

Our paddlers on the Gung Haggis Bacon Explosion and Gung Haggis Hot
Chili teams proved their competitiveness, team spirit and sportsmanship.

Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta
October 10th, 2009

In the weeks prior, our 2 rosters had filled to 11 paddlers per team,
so we had to recommend to paddler friends Remus Wong and Tricia Pang
(Gung Haggis Friends at UBC Long Boat), to paddle for Team Naluwan,
home team of Richard & Karen Mah and Oliver Wu who paddled with us
at Richmond races.

Then in the final week, we had 4 paddlers unexpectedly drop out or be
sick.  We are thankful to Marciel and Michael, and Johannes for filling
in for us at the last minute.  We are also happy that friends Lisa
Venables, Maggie and Harvey (Richmond) and Carolyn (former GH paddler)
could join us for Ft. Langley races.

Final Rosters

Gung Haggis Bacon Explosion
Raphael – Captain
Dave Samis (steer final)
Adam (steer first race)

Gung Haggis Hot Chili
Debbie Poon (captain)

2009_Oct_Ft_Langley_cranberry_canoe_race 008 by you.

 Gung Haggis Fat Chili leads the race in boat #2.  Todd is lead stroke, while Harvey steers. – photo Deb Martin

First Race (Right turn oval X ) 5 boats

GH Fat Chili

Good start… and we were 2nd going down the first stretch.
We caught up to the team on the 1st turn… taking the inside edge.
We raced neck and neck down the stretch.  Steersperson Harvey got us
the inside track and we entered the 2nd turn.  Coming around the 2nd
turn, the other team tried to hold us back… their lead stroke stuck
their paddle in front of our boat, trying to push us back…
But we stayed ahead of them.  As we cleared the last pylon, our front
paddlers tried to turn the boat… left… but the back of the boat was
blocked by that other darn boat… and a third boat, came into the
logjam.  We were pushed off towards shore and had to hold the boat,
while two other boats, turned behind us and down the 3rd stretch.  We
righted our boat, and headed into the 3rd turn trailing fast behind the
Pirates team.  We came down the final stretch hot on their heels and
and catching up… We placed 3rd.

Gung Haggis Bacon Explosion – (2X left ovals)
GREAT start… and BacEx is in the lead down the first stretch.  Other
teams get hung up in collisions.  BacEx makes the 1st turn with nobody
near them.  The final team has just finished the 1st turn, when BacEx
is making the 2nd turn.  They are 10 boat lengths in first place.  But
why is Tzhe drawing on the right side, when they are turning left? 
BacEx is on the wrong side of the buoy.  They paddle backwards, as the
2nd place team passes them.  They start paddling forward when the 3rd
place team passes them… they jockey for 2nd place along the turn…
boats colliding.  Finally they start to pull away out of the 2nd turn
and down the 3rd stretch.  At the 3rd turn they are 2 boat lengths
behind the 1st place team.  Down the 4th and final stretch they paddle
hard… creeping up to the tail.  They make their move in the final 1/4
stretch… gaining seat by seat… 4 seats behind… closer… 3 seats
behind…  almost there… one seat behind… will they make it?  So


We eat our Chilis…  Deb has made a cranberry/craisin chili.  Raphael
makes a bacon explosian chili.  Everybody is happy.  We mingle and chat
with our cheerleading squad led by Deb Martin, Jonas & Wendy,
Alissa & Ryan, Debbie's dad KK, Lisa's mom Peg, sister and nephew,
Remus' daughters Rebecca and Sarah, Brooke, Brooke's mother, and
niece.  We have enough cheerleaders to fill a boat.

The 1st race of the 2nd round of reverse ovals…
A team takes the first turn too sharply… people lean the wrong way…
people fall into the water.  The other teams are all racing down the
2nd stretch along the South Shore.  The small rescue boat goes to their
aid.  Race organizers are trying to tell the competing teams to stop
the race, but they can't hear.  They call the teams in, and boats are
sent out half empty to try to help rescue the wet paddlers.  But the
rescue boat has managed to take 4 people at a time to the South Shore,
while 2 paddlers remain helping to bail the capsized boat.

A meeting is held, and the races are post-poned because of the high
winds.  One woman is sent to the hospital to be treated for
hypo-thermia, but she is later reported to be okay.
Teams are told to reconvene at 1:30, and a decision will be made.  We go off to eat more chili,

At 1:30 16 teams remain to paddle.  4 teams have quit, gone home or to the beer garden.

Gung Haggis Hot Chili

Gung Haggis is racing against the other lower 7 finishers, including
Naluwan which contains friends Richard & Karen Mah, Oliver, Remus
and Tricia.

We go over the tactics needed to do good turns, and a good beach run. 
We change the start from a 6-6-6 to a 6-8-8.  We are lined up near the
North Shore at the start.  We tell our races to watch the red flag,
along with the air horn.  We think we hear an air horn… We feel a few
paddles take a stroke… but we don't start… yet… The flag goes
down/ hear the air horn… We paddle… hard… Eastwards… toward the
bridge…  I can see somebody on the bridge holding up a pumpkin… Our
boat steers a bit to the right where three pumpkins are thrown into the
water.  Steersperson Harvey wants to go where we have the best chance
of finding a pumpkin – not like last year's Gung Haggis teams – who
both missed pumpkins in the A final.

We are paddling hard towards the pumpkin.  There is another boat in
front to the right.  I am lead stroke… I keep paddling because it is
hard to pick up a pumpkin because of the raised bow in seat one.  Lisa
shouts “I've getting it!”  She is in seat two left.  While everybody
else is still paddling… she bravely bends down with her body to get
the pumpking bringing it to her chest.  I will ask her later
“Were you bobbing for pumpkins?”

She brings the pumpkin into the boat, and shakes the water from her
head, grabs her paddle and takes good hard strokes.  Our boat is the
first to emerge on the East side of the bridge because the 1st place
team missed their pumpkin and had to back up.  We are first all the way
to the 1st turn.  As we turn left, I call out “Take it easy”, I spike
my paddle to help facilitate the turn around the 1st buoy.  We have a
good sharp turn, we call a power series and race back under the bridge
towards the 2nd buoy. Another good turn, and we head North towards the
beach.  As we approach the beach, we feel our paddles hit the bottom of
the river, as Harvey turns the boat right.  Devon jumps out of the boat
to do the cranberry juice walk.  He has to balance a glass of juice on
his paddle and walk up the beach.  We try to push the boat forward, but
we are beached. 

“Back up!” I shout.  A few pushes, and we are free.  “Paddle forward!”
and our paddles scrape against the shallow shore.  Our boat moves to
deeper water and we move up the river.  Devon has finished his juice
walk, and he runs to our boat.  We draw left to bring the boat closer
to shore to pick him up.  He scrambles in, as we paddle forward, turn
right and cross the river.  The other boats have all finished turning
at 2nd buoy… Thankfully, because we now have to go around the same
buoy – but in the opposite direction.  It's a tight turn… So I spike
it hard, by turning backwards in my seat – pointing the paddle towards
the left front of the boat, to help facilitate the turn, as Harvey
completes the steering arc at the back of the boat.  We call a power
series and head Eastwards again towards the bridge and the finish line
beyond.  We can hear people chanting “Go Gung Haggis!”  We emerge on
the other side… and call another power series… heading to the
finish line buoys.  2, 4, 6, 8, 10… We call a finish and paddle
hard.  “More, More, More! 10 more strokes… we count them down 9, 8,
7, 6, 5… as we cross the finish line… 4, 3, 2, 1… We rest and
look back to see Naluwan battling it our with another team…. paddling
hard to the finish line.  Our friends finish 2nd.  We cheer on the
finishing teams.

Our friends and team mates congratulate us… and we exchange race
information.  Tony compliments us on a beautiful race…. the most
beautiful he has seen!  Our turns were tight, and we avoided any
collisions.  He is pumped up, and he tells the GH BacEx team to make
sure they grab the pumpkins (avoiding last year's fate)!

A Final 

Gung Haggis Bacon Explosion

BacEx had a good start.  They pulled away from the two team on their
left side.  But somehow they veered left and cut them off causing a
collision.  BacEx corrected and led the way to the closest pumpkin. 
Marciel grabbed the pumpkin, but lost his paddle at the same moment. 
Luckily, Raphael, sitting behind him, grabbed it with his left hand,
and a moment later Marciel was able to grab it back.   BacEx emerged
from under the bridge with four teams to their right.  The centre most
team was in the lead.  All the teams had to do a left turn around a
buoy.  BacEx made their turn behind the lead team,  they paddled hard
to go back under the bridge.  But they were still on the North side of
the bridge.  They had to race to the South side of the river and make a
right turn at the 2nd buoy.  Teams further south were closer to the
buoy.  They were in 5th place by the time they made their turn.

As BacEx approached the beach,  there were 4 boats already there… 
Raphael jumped out of the beach and held out his paddle for the juice. 
We walked quickly up the beach.  We had done this walk the previous two
years as well.  Two years ago, he had tripped climbing out of the
boat.  No tripping this year.  BacEx boat moved up the beach to pick up
Raphael, cutting off another runner from his boat.  BacEx paddled hard
towards the finish line going under the bridge.

Collision as they emerged under the bridge.  Oops, BacEx veers left. 
Another boat emerges colliding with the other boat.  Gung Haggis Bacon
Explosion turns tries to take the outside line, but the 2 boats are
pushing Northward off course.  BacEx slows down, waits for the boats to
pass, cuts right, and heads for the finish line…  Wheewww what a
finish.  One of the boats back paddles, then turns right to cross the
finish line.  The other boat does not finish.  Gung Haggis BacEx
finishes 4th or 5th in A Final for our highest ever finish in A Final.

Good races all around for everybody!  People on both our teams had big
smiles on their faces. Lots of compliments to our steers people Harvey,
Adam and Dave… and to our team captains Raphael and Debbie.  Thank
you to all paddlers for joining us.  It was the first Cranberry regatta
for many paddlers, and they thoroughly enjoyed it.  WARNING: Some are
even planning for next year already.

More pictures here on flickr:

Cheers, Todd


Here is a message from race organizer Cheryl McIntosh ( who paddled with Gung Haggis in Vernon 07)


What an exciting day – We never get wind like that in Fort Langley. 
But thank you all for being understanding and flexible in our day.  I
want to thank everyone for being to helpful when we had paddlers in the
water and let you know that the one that went to the hospital for
observation is fine and at home.  She phoned to thank all for your
help. Better safe than sorry. 

In case you did not hear the announcement at the midday meeting the
winner of the chili contest were
Best Meat – Cran-vores
Best Cranberries (and Veggies) – Canoe Yahoo

Here's the results from the final races

Final B
GH Hot chili 8:33.21
Naulwan 9:22.72
PP Apple blueberries 9:34.43
KS Chickens 10:03.87
Canoe Yahoo 10:17.18
DF Cranberry Kickers 10:31.76
Saints Preserve Us 10:45.15

Final A
FLCC Flatwater 7:00.49
Misfits 7:55.09
Cran-ivores 8:05.75
SOAR 8:38.81
GH Bacon Explosion 9:24.81
Sturgeon Bashers 9:25.79 DNF – outside of finish buoys
Crusaders 9:51.25

Great racing everyone and congratulations to Flatwater for placing
first overall. 
I am so glad we were able to have our last races and everything was
I ask each of your teams if they have any comments or suggestions for
next year please email me.
And of course thanks for helping put the equipment away after the last

I hope everyone had fun, enjoyed the festival and races, and that we'll
see you next year.

One thought on “Gung Haggis paddlers compete at Ft. Langley Cranberry Festival Canoe Regatta: 1st in B Final 5th in A Final

  1. Anonymous

    Love the dragon boat racing – it's gorgeous! I don’t know any other activity that mixes art, culture and sport so well (except in Australia, where drinking alcohol is part of the culture :-)). Such a contact sport as well, for the boats at least. Bobbing for pumpkins sounds like an interesting twist on the sport as well! There are enough cultures in the mix already, why not bring some random vegetables into it :-). You may have nearly come lasting that race, but for me the team name is a winner in itself. The rest were boring as – at least you gave the commentators something to smile about!
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