Paddling OC6 In Washington, DC
The Wrightsville Beach Outrigger Canoe Club is a major factor in the growth of the OC community in SE North Carolina and a leading force behind the club is Emily Deisroth. The club recently sent a team up to the Monumental Outrigger Canoe Race in Washington, DC, held on June 17th. The race is billed as one of the largest races of it’s kind on the East Coast. We caught up with Emily to ask her about the experience of racing in our nation’s capital.
How many WBOCC folks went? Number of Boats? Total number of boats?
WBOCC was represented by three women crews and three mens crews..18 women and 18 men. The total number of crews in the women’s race was 15 and the men’s had 12.
Were you all excited about racing in D.C.?
This was an opportunity we did not want to miss. Not only was the race in our nation’s capital and the course went by several monuments…but some of the best clubs on the East Coast were there. This was our chance to see where our novice club stood in comparison to other East Coast outrigger clubs that have been around for years, some for decades.
What was the most interesting/exciting part about the race?
The most exciting part of the race for the women was the turn under the Arch bridge and coming back past the Washington Monument. In six-man outrigger racing, you have been trained to keep eyes ahead..but we did peak!
How was the competition?
The competition was fierce.. Both the mens and women crews battled against at least one other canoe for the entire 12 mile race.
What did your team do just exactly right?
My crew was focused and gave 100%. They supported each other throughout the race with encouragement. They knew they had to paddle as one and be a crew as opposed to six single paddlers in the canoe. They had to work together. This is spirit of outrigger, to not focus on the individual, but the crew and the club as a whole.
Areas for improvement?
The areas for improvement are typical of racing,..adrenaline control, nutrition, hydration and as always…more training!!!!
What did the crew learn from this race?
We are a novice club, and for 80% of our members, this was their first race. For some the commitment of time to the canoes is surprising (unrigging, loading and trailering canoes, re-rigging, racing, trailering back home etc.). I think most paddlers learned what an outrigger race was all about. From the beautiful opening pule’ to the Ohana represented across clubs. It’s unlike any other race experience.
Many paddlers pushed themselves longer and harder than they thought they could. We had one crew lose a paddler to illness and they completed most of the race with only five paddlers. They finished strong.
You have to have a passion for outrigger and be willing to give something of yourself for others. You paddle for your crew and your club, not for yourself. I tell my paddlers to paddle for the person in front of them and it always makes them paddle harder! Most people who try OC6 become hooked..so commitment and passion are not a problem!
We learned that our little novice club is on track to becoming the most competitive OC6 club on the east coast. Our women crews place 5th, 8th and 14th (after finishing with only five paddlers) out of 15 canoes and the men placed 2nd, 3rd and 8th out of 11 canoes. The competition was fierce. I am very proud of all of our crews and paddlers for this achievement this early in club history (we formed in August of 2016.)
Would y’all do it again?
We will definitely do it again!
What’s next for your team?
We have a crew of nine women preparing to do the Catalina Crossing in September and a crew of nine men preparing for the Molokai Hoe Mens race in October. Both races require a high level of paddling skills and physical fitness. Many of our members also participate in races on their OC1s and SUPs. We have large contingent going to Chattajack to compete on OC1.
Photos: Adam Kennedy