Competition & Recruitment
The club did not send any paddlers to the Nationals at Nathan Benderson Park this summer. This choice was made mostly because it’s an expensive trip to get an athlete to Sarasota, Florida. To go to Nationals, one must consider airfare (or gas & time), car rental, spending a minimum of five days in a hotel, money on race fees, and either paying to trailer/carry your own boats to the race or renting boats – it all adds up. Nationals is a costly, logistically challenged, trip and one we don’t take lightly, especially with our young athletes. We want their first Nationals to be a success.
Instead, we stayed in Ventura and focused on trying to get our paddlers faster and to recruit more club members. Sadly, our recruitment efforts for additional youth paddlers were largely unsuccessful. We had several youth come paddle for multiple sessions, but none joined our club. Sprint paddling is a difficult sport to pick up, especially if you don’t have friends joining you. We just have not reached that critical mass yet.
Fortunately, the squad of young paddlers we got last summer, and the group of adults who have joined in the past year, are improving and enjoying paddling more as their balance skills improve, too. We have a waiting list of potential beginners to bring down once we have everyone able to manage the more challenging boats.
We attempted to get some lightly used kayaks that are stored in Florida, but couldn’t get the logistics worked out during the Nationals. We may still purchase one or both of these kayaks eventually, but we did manage to get a used marathon K1 for masters. This is exactly the kind of boat the club needs as we get our new members learning to balance and paddle the highly unstable sprint boats. Many thanks to Debbie Page for this great boat and to the San Diego Canoe & Kayak Team for the transport of it back to California.
We will also be storing and using from time to time a boat owned by Ian Ross, a US Team member for the past decade. Ian wants to have a boat on the west coast for regattas here to avoid the hassles and costs of getting boats for Team Trials or Nationals on this side of the continent. We’re very happy to help out.