Fairway Gorge Paddling Club (FGPC) hosts its annual WetDashe outrigger relay race on Nov. 16 and 17 in support of men’s health initiatives through the B.C. Cancer Agency and the Island Prostate Centre for Movember. Registration is open on FGPC’s website and closes on Nov. 1.
Registration costs $35 per paddler, which goes toward a high-tech WetDashe racing shirt and the cost of running the race. Teams must be made up of nine to 12 pre-registered paddlers and may include a maximum of 18. Each paddler additional to the 12 allowed must pay an additional $25 to cover the cost of extra race shirts.
There are three racing options available to paddlers. Chevron teams commit to either 12km or 24km, paddling four or eight 3km laps over one heat on one of the days. Walrus teams paddle 48km over two days, participating in one heat a day for a total of 16 3km laps. Imperial teams will paddle 96km over the two full days and all four heats, paddling eight 6km laps each day with breaks. Races start at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. both days.
FGPC General Manager, Erik Ages, said he is optimistic the club can raise between $5,000 and $10,000 this year with a raffle of brand-name paddling equipment such as life jackets, paddles, and specialized paddling safety kits. “It’s the first year we’re doing the raffle, and we’ll really be pushing it,” said Ages.
Prizes will be drawn over lunch both days and all registered paddlers are eligible to win. Tickets for the raffle go on sale at the end of the week online and at FGPC’s front desk at 2940 Jutland Road.
Currently, there are 32 crews registered from across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland made up of more than 500 paddlers. “We expect the crew registrations to max out at 44 crews with between 600 and 700 athletes,” said Ages.
Despite this event’s focus on men’s health, Ages said women will make up at least half the paddlers on each team. “Getting men involved in paddling has been more of a challenge, but numbers are better in outrigger than in Dragon Boating,” said Ages. “This was partly inspired by our first Movember event years ago.”
Ages said some experience is necessary for this event, so he doesn’t recommend novices sign up. He said some recreational experience at least is required for a race of this nature as the boats are tippy and it takes some skill.