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Canoe (kanu) Clubs

September 4, 2011

On an island where everything is laid back and people don’t worry or rush about, one thing that’s taken very seriously is canoe club racing.

Teams arrive at Mata’Pang  Beach long before sunrise and are out often after sunset to train for the races.

Clubs are sponsored by local companies; canoes are  well-maintained racing machines.

On an island known for high rates of obesity and associated disorders (a recent barbecue I attended featured a roast pork leg, a beef brisket the size of Delaware, a dozen chickens and about ten pounds of yellowtail and wahoo – 35 people made it all go away in less than an hour), paddlers watch their weight and work diligently to remain in peak condition.

Stretching and calisthenics are mandatory.

It’s not enough, however to do just that – one must run about 4km before hopping in the canoe.

Note one runs with their paddle.  They do relay races amongst teams, the keeper of the paddle sprinting to the head of the team, the paddle handed back to the end runner – repeat.

Then the real training begins.  When I first saw this, I was both dumbfounded and awestruck.

The tire is placed over the bow of the canoe,

creating drag equivalent to running with cinderblocks tied to one’s feet.

Paddlers then take their hobbled crafts for a full-on sprint through a 2 mile course.

Thus warmed up, the tires are tossed ashore and  real racing begins.

They’re fast, these paddlers.  Synchronized and smooth, a well-oiled organic machine.

The race over, time for cool down and a long drink of water and the pleasure of a tropical sunset.

While paddling looks to be a tremendous amount of fun, I’m not sure this middle-aged body would make it past the running part.  I guess I’ve reached the point where I’m relegated to beachside observer status.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2011 12:03 pm

    Awesome pics. Nice post!

    • dangerboyandpixie permalink*
      September 5, 2011 4:30 am

      Like to see you say that about the next one…

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