Hey Pals!! Our boy Carter Johnson is at it again! Not only training his butt off for a Guinness World Record 24 Hour Flatwater Kayak record attempt at the end of October (I’ll be going for the women’s record at the same time), but winning 3 weekends of races as the #1 kayak overall. The kid is on fire. :). Go Team Merrell/Akali! See his recap below…. Xoxo r
P.S–re his reference to Europe below, I’m in London for the second time in two weeks doing keynotes for Lloyds of London Bank. Good stuff!
Robyn, how’s Europe? When do you get back? Just wanted to send out a few Re-caps and photos from the past few weeks. 3 Races, 3 wins in the beautiful orange!!!. I have been racing the new flat water ski and have been having the time of my life. All of these races were particularly cool events due to the fact that mixed in with the competitive crews were a significant number of weekend warriors who have never seen racing kayaks before. It’s wonderful to open their eyes to the amazing world of Kayak racing.
Race1 – San Joaquin River Race. This was a new race this year that mainly attracted recreational paddlers from the Fresno area. I had never been to that section of the river though so it seemed like a must do. After a short conversation with my friends Wane and Ann it was set. We woke early Sat Morning and made the trip down south. The race was absolutely brilliant and the river reminded me of many sections of the Avon Descent in Australia. Winding rapids and log jams and getting lost in mazes of trees. I was out of the boat just about as much as in it. Coolest part of this race was the eye popping stairs of most people (about 60 total) who have never seen a surf ski before, yet alone a 16 inch wide missile. Wane and I ended up fielding questions for hours afterwards at the awards banquet. Think we may have gotten a few people sold on it!!! I easily took up first place and Wane was able to slip on in for a strong second place.
Race2 – Bridge to Bridge. This one came across my eyes on a news group. It is an actual rowing (sculling) race put on as a head to head battle between two of the premiere open ocean rowing clubs right on the Waterfront in San Francisco. Trying to up attendance this year they casually opened the doors to kayaks. To me this was the perfect opportunity to again show off exactly what a “Kayak” can do. Rowers are amazing athletes but they seem to have the perception that nothing is faster than a Scull. It was my absolute pleasure to take the First place single in the heavily contended 13 miles race by over 2 minutes. I managed to average over 8mph on an open ocean course that looped around both the Bay and Golden Gate bridge in the new Huki Flat water ski (in a course that had sections that were nothing but flat). Only the lead Double Maas 30 was able to slip in ahead of me and only by 30 seconds. There were some gaping jaws at the banquet when the awards were given out. The funny part was they never in a million years expected a kayak to win so the trophy was a large oar, which they insisted would need to go to the Lead rower vs. first place single. Probably a good move on their part but I must admit I was looking forward to taking that one home with me.
Race3 – Support for strokes. – This one is a bay area classic that is put on by California Canoe and Kayaks to raise money for Brest Cancer research and survivors. There were 3 courses and hundreds of kayakers that showed up in Jack London Square on the 90degree day to help in the cause. The long course was a 16ish mile loop around Alameda island. The day was prefect and water was absolute glass. I managed to complete the circuit averaging over 8.3 mile per hour. I’m still in disbelief with how fast this was. I was able to make it back to the starting line before the Final 2 mile course even started. Eager to help out I was giving the job of safety boat for them. This was very slick as I was able to spend some excellent time meeting hundreds of eager outdoors people all while our getting our team name and positive attitude out there in association with a very cool venue.
Other Stuff – I did finally hear back from my host family in Australia. The Avon Descent aired on national television in Australia. Apparently I was one of the few people smiling which made me prime time!!! I’m hoping to get the video soon.