Lake Samish Salmon Roe 2011
After having my forward stroke fine-tuned by Greg Barton himself on Friday, on Saturday morning Brandon and I raced the Sound Rowers Lake Samish Salmon Roe.
We had decided to race the 5.5 miles together, in a tandem Stellar surfski. (Thank you Drew and Stellar Kayaks for the boat!)
With over 150 racers, and almost every type of human-powered craft you can think of in attendance, the Salmon Roe is THE local showdown. Brandon and I have in the past raced solo surfskis, tandem outrigger canoe, tandem kayak with Hayden riding along, and so this year we decided to see how we stood up amongst the powerhouse tandem surfski teams.
Among the top competition was Don Kiesling and Juraj Osusky in a 2-man flatwater sprint kayak (K2), Eric Moll and Ludovit Tatos (tandem surfski) and Joost Zeegers and Paul Clement (tandem surfski)… all with race resumes as long as their boats.
In the solo division, Greg Barton himself and Gabe Newton were the men to beat. Beyond that would be a sea of surfskis, outrigger canoes, a 4-person kayak, war canoes, big rowing boats and sleek rowing shells, SUP, pedal craft and sea kayaks all ready to throw down!
We lined up on the start with Greg Barton directly next to us. When the start gun went off, we burned rubber off the start line like a friggin’ Indy car!
Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be racing side-by-side with Barton, even for a minute. But in the back of the tandem, as we fell into a comfortable race pace we could maintain for the next 5-miles, there he was!
The pack immediately thinned. Don K and Juraj took the lead. Eric and Ludo second with Barton and Gabe hot on their heals.
We were next, with Joost and Paul right behind. As we neared the half-way point, we were racing our own race. Don and Juraj had secured their lead. Eric and Ludo and Barton were next. Gabe had fallen behind, as had Joost and Paul.
I focused on following Brandon as closely as I could. Barton in his clinic had said when paddling tandem, you not only follow the front paddler’s entry, but every single part of the stroke. So I tried to match Brandon’s exact paddle angle, his exit, his posture, his rotation.
After 38 minutes and change, we crossed the finish first mixed tandem, and 3rd tandem overall. Stoked! Barton maintained his position behind the two tandem skis and was the first solo.
Racing aside, Salmon Roe has become the end-of-summer party for paddlers and their families. Spectators follow the race on bikes or in their cars cheering the racers on. It’s a giant play-date for kids who run in the lake-side grassy fields and play on the beach while their parents race.
The post-race salmon/potato/salad feast is Pacific Northwest outdoor dining at its finest!
A few ‘paddler favorite’ vendors appear to offer use of demo boats. JD Davies from the Gorge and Drew and Lee from Stellar Kayaks came this year.
Mark your calendar for next year, and we’ll see you on the water!!!!
Click HERE for race results!
Click HERE for race photos by Michael Lampi!
Click HERE for Bellingham Herald race photos!