Laoyam Eagles victorious in Vancouver 

Pemberton Canoe Association enjoys busy spring

click to enlarge PHOTO BY RICHARD NOTT - FEELING GOLDEN The Laoyam Eagles react after realizing they won gold at the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver on June 23.
  • Photo by Richard Nott
  • FEELING GOLDEN The Laoyam Eagles react after realizing they won gold at the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver on June 23.

Several graduating Laoyam Eagles paddlers went out on top at the Concord Pacific Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver from June 21 to 23.

The Eagles won the Oddball Workshop Junior Mixed Grand Final in a time of two minutes, 4.168 seconds (2:04.168).

Pemberton Canoe Association (PCA) commodore Karen Tomlinson was impressed with what the team accomplished in the races.

"This year, they were a really committed group of kids. They've been together, this group, for a number of years. They were really focused this weekend and they just were on," she said. "They knew what they wanted to do and the follow-through in their races was really good."

Tomlinson added that the Eagles had the stamina to be strong finishers, finding extra energy at the end of the race to hold off the competition.

"What I've seen this season is they've been really strong in the second half of their race. They've been working on getting out faster at the start, and getting ahead at the beginning of the race and continuing to finish strong," she said.

The PCA's other junior team, the Laoyam Falcons, took fifth in the TransLink Junior Mixed B Final, made all the more impressive considering several of the paddlers were on the younger end of the 12-to-18 age category.

"There were seven Grade 7s in the boat. It was a young team. There were four kids who had only paddled a couple of times before the race, so they did so well," Tomlinson said.

Meanwhile, the Bald Eagles Women's Crew was fifth in the Sugarfina Premier Women's B Final, while in the AM1320 Premier Open C Final, the crew scratched, as the Eagles' championship race was immediately beforehand.

"The adults always go into the weekend, they always focus on their mixed team boat and I think they were happy with their results for that," Tomlinson said. "We've got an open and a women's team because we mix the kids in them for those events. Those are add-ons and with scheduling, sometimes it doesn't always work.

"Most of the adults are parents and they're saying, 'We want to go watch the kids race the final than race.'"

In other PCA news, members of the sprint group attended regattas throughout the spring, with two racers, Kieran Nott and Landon Drain, set to take part in the East Sprint Canada Cup in Ottawa this weekend before heading to Regina to do the West Sprint Canada Cup the following weekend.

As well, club members are preparing to try to crack the Canadian team for the International Va'a Federation's World Sprint Championships in Hilo, Hawaii in August 2020. The trials for the outrigger competition are set for this September in Calgary. Lastly, long-time coach Hugh Fisher is joining Heather Hellevang, Sydney van Loon and George McLeod in the Yukon River Quest, which started on June 26 and is set to wrap on June 29.

"He has been wanting to do that race for a number of years, and they finally got an entry in this year," Tomlinson said.

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