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Dozens turn out to do the Dash
After a one-year absence from the Whaling Days festival, the Dyes Inlet Dash organizers werent about to let a little problem get in their way.
After realizing the tide was too far out to get their safety power boat in the water at Silverdale Waterfront Park on Sunday morning, event organizers decided to try to dock the boat in Bremerton. Unfortunately, the tide was still too far out.
The only thing we had was our power safety boat had to be lifted off the trailer by a group, Patrick Rammel, organizer of the Dash and president of the Hui Heihei Waa outrigger canoe club, said.
The crew returned back to Waterfront Park and decided to enlist a little help, as a group of volunteers was needed to lift the boat off its trailer and into the inlet.
But once it was in the water, it was smooth sailing for the third annual Dyes Inlet Dash. The outrigger canoe race didnt take place last year.
With 16 teams in the three divisions, the competitors ranged from 73 years old to high school students.
In the womens division, Stewart Title topped Pualani in the field of just two. The mens race featured six teams, with Team Jennings topping Team Spiros in a close finale. The co-eds, which had the largest turnout of eight teams, also featured a neck-and-neck title race, with the Hawaii Surf Paddlers edging the Lockheed Martin Marlins.
Along with the range of diversity in the race came a diversity of experience.
Its kind of like anything with a new skill or hobby, Rammel said. Everybody feels uncoordinated to start with. Its fun to see somebody really have fun and get with it. With any sport, if you enjoy it, you want to be able to spread it.
Racers had two weeks to practice with the club, which provided experienced steersmen for each of the teams. Rammel ended up steering for Team BAE.
They came out and practiced two weeks before, he said. Theyre getting pretty good at it.
For 42-year-old Seabeck resident David Danford, a member of the Lockheed Martin squad, the weekend offered a chance to take on a new experience.
Everything is a new challenge when you start getting older, Danford said. Its kind of cool. I cant feel how fast were going because Im focused ahead, but its cool.
Danford said hes now considering joining the club after getting a taste of the sport.
Actually, I might join the club, he said. If youre not a paddler when you get started, by the time you get out there you will be.
Rammel said the club usually adds a few new members after the Whaling Days races.
We usually pick up a few paddlers, Rammel said. They can finish out the season with us and start out full next time. A lot of times theyll see the canoes and say, What do I have to do? Just come on down.
Thats what Ron Lund, the oldest competitor and club member at 73, did eight years ago.
I wanted the grandkids to get involved, Lund said. So I brought them down and said, Hey, how do we get started? My grandkids started. Well, my grandson went a couple of years and my granddaughter still paddles.
So does Lund, although he served as a steersman in the Dash. Lund, used to paddling, said it was a challenge to keep from helping his team more than allowed.
This is my first year as a steersman, Lund said. I paddled for all those years in the past. They needed some steersmen, so I decided to try it. Ive steered ever since.
I like paddling best. I feel like I can contribute more paddling.
Club members are not allowed to participate in the race as paddlers to avoid an unfair advantage over more novice competitors.
We have to fight the normal way we paddle, Rammel said, sharing Lunds sentiments. Because we want to help the team as much as possible. If theyre a regular club paddler then they cant compete except as a steersman. If theyre novice, they can paddle, but they cant stack a team.
Even the Whaling Days planners got involved in the race, forming the Whaling Days Execs.
Weve done it in every one. Its kind of a cross promotion thing, Whaling Days president Barry Iles said. I love it out there. You get wet, you get sun. It draws businesses together. And its multi-cultural.
And it gets me away from my radio and phone. Thats always nice.
Iles said he was just honored to be a part of such a community event.
Absolutely; thats whats fun about it, he said. The bonding, the community building. Win or lose, its just a lot of fun.