UPDATE: The annual Alki outrigger race, "Da Grind" to Blake Island returned this morning, Aug. 4, a real treat with some Hawaiian flare for West Seattle beach-goers to check out. Races continue this afternoon by the Beachhouse. The Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club sponsors the race. SLIDESHOW: Click on photo for more.
SLIDESHOW UPDATE: Alki outrigger race Da Grind to Blake Island returns
SLIDESHOW UPDATE & story:: SATURDAY 9:15 P.M. Click on photo for more
Melissa Swanson is the new President of Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club, the host of this annual race.
"I did a lot of leg work to get people down here," she said. "Fantastic weather. Should be another great course, a lot of fun. I got here at 6:00 a.m. so I got rockstar parking."
Malia McFatridge attended high school and college in Hawaii. She paddles with Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club. She learned the sport after high school.
"I moved here for work 12 years ago," she said. "The first week I Googled 'outrigger paddling in Seattle' and the Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club was the first result. I didn't know anyone here but met so many people through paddling."
James Jackman of Columbia River Outrigger Club, or CROC, the club that finished first place in the long race.
"You're a little more buoyant in salt water than fresh water," he said. "You move a little faster because less of the boat is in the water and you have less resistance. The Columbia River is fresh water."
One of his teammates, Woody Clark, owns Crush, a fashionable bar in SE Portland. He was wrapped tightly in a blue Snuggie, taking a nap on the sand before the race, which seemed to pay off considering their win.
UPDATE: SATURDAY 1:15 p.m.
Twenty-two outrigger canoes showed up on Alki Beach near the bathhouse this morning to be put to work in a variety of long and short races. The first race was long indeed as paddlers cut through the choppy water toward Blake Island, then circled it, and returned to the finish line, passing between two large inflatable orange buoys. Paddlers not only competed with each other, they had to share the narrow passage with other larger craft, including an enormous cargo ship loaded with automobiles, the Southworth Ferry, a variety of speed and sail boats, and a seal or two.
The team coming in first did so in about one hour and fifty minutes. The second place boat crossed about eight minutes later.
The winning team was the Columbia River Outrigger Canoe Club (CROCC), lead by Sabine Jessel, former president of the Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club, the club that hosted today's event. They borrowed a Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club canoe.
The Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club invites you to view the 2012 Da Grind outrigger race this Saturday, Aug. 4, scheduled to start at about 9:00 a.m. The 2012 races will include a long course and a short course:
The Long Course, open to OC6 Women/Mixed/Men’s crews, will be approximately 12 miles long and run from Alki Beach, west to Blake Island, circling the island counter-clockwise, and returning to Alki Beach.
The Short Course, open to OC6 Novice and Junior crews, and to OC1/OC2/SUP racers, will be approximately 4 miles long and run along Alki Beach, circling buoys at both ends.
You can view our article and slideshow from last summer's outrigger event here.
From the Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club website:
Friendship and teamwork are some of the most gratifying aspects of outrigger canoe paddling. Working together to make an outrigger canoe move forward, racing other canoes across the water, getting stronger and feeling fit, all make the sport of outrigger a wonderful experience. For those who are willing to commit, good fun, hard work, and much Aloha await!
Paddling an outrigger canoe takes more than just muscle. It takes coordination and focus, six paddlers working as one. When bodies and minds come together and the 40 foot, 400 pound canoe glides forward seemingly effortlessly, the feeling is one that can’t be duplicated any other way.
In the Pacific Northwest, canoe paddlers have the opportunity to enjoy the surrounding of unique waterways like Lake Washington, the Gorge and Puget Sound. Teams in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia compete regularly during the spring and summer and gradually start traveling to meet California and Pacific Island competitors as the season progresses.
Seattle Outrigger Canoe Club (SOCC) practices three times a week from April through October as daylight permits and twice a week throughout the winter.
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