May 18th, 2015

Seaway Valley WK and CReW HTTD #1

Sunday, 17 May 2015 Riviere St-Charles, Valleyfield, Quebec. Twas a warm Sunday morn. and all through the house not creature was stirring not even a …. why ? cause everyone was heading down to the river banks on the Riviere St-Charles with the gang from CReW and the CEEVV. :) That’s right CReW, The CEEVV and World Kayak are at it again for the fist of 5 throwdown events in Valleyfield, Quebec. Mixing it up on a long weekend, while there are other regional whitewater events drawing the high performance athletes (Neilson River Creek Race in Quebec and the Ottawa XL on the Ottawa River) is always a challenge but we had an awesome turnout of new (to freestyle) paddlers for our first event of the season. We opened registration at 12:00 and by 1:30 we had a group of 9 enthusiastic paddlers ready to take their shot at freestyle and boatercross comp. At the event yours truly offered a 30 minute kayak surf control clinic for the newer paddlers looking to clean up their boat control and situational awareness. Joining were Felix Tourigny, Colin Robineaud, Marc-Antoine Dubois, George Abou-Atme, Mathiew Lapierre,  Emily Z, William Plourde, and Marc-Antoine D’Avignon and Mathiew Pockes. A lot of the fun in our throwdowns comes from encouraging the young and new paddlers to ham it up. If you are you’re not having fun you will not stick with it so let out your inner monkey. Points are awarded during the freestyle part for traditional moves from the basic front surf to the more advanced moves (loops, McNasty, pistol flips etc) but of equal importance we award points for best effort, biggest smiles, old school paddle twirls, flirting with the judges (yes Sylvie got blown a lot of kisses with big smiles from some of the kids and even a flirty adult (perhaps I should be jealous….)), best beat down, best swim, etc etc.the end result was some good skill improvements, and a crap load of fun for everyone. We were lucky to have a lot of parents of the young group come out to encourage their kids and ask a lot of questions. Who knows, maybe we will see them out there this year too! No pressure mom and dads…. (well maybe just a little….) The boatercross followed right after the freestyle and we had enough paddlers for 2 heats followed by a final of 1 heat (4 boaters.) Gotta say, I really love seeing the stress on new paddlers faces as they sit in the start “gate” waiting to go… Puts life in perspective a bit. No matter how friendly the event, experienced the paddler (or not) or complex the course, racers all have the same look of anxiety and anticipation on their faces. :) The final results were as follows: Remember these are for fun but ar ea great way for the new paddlers to measure their improvement through the season. They asked for the scores so here they are: Freestyle: Marc-Antoine Dubois (13 points) George Abou-Atme (11  points) Felix Tourigny and Colin Robineaud (tied with 7 points each) William Plourde, and Marc-Antoine D’Avignon (Tied with 5 points) Mathiew Lapierre (4 points) Mathiew Pockes (3 points) Emily Zwanenburg For the boatercross we ended as follows: George (1st) Felix ( 2nd) Colin (3rd) As always everyone had fun and the fun will just continue through the rest of our season. Thanks to our awesome sponsors from World Kayak for helping us to ensure that everyone one who participated was able to walk away with cool prizes from one of our great supports, Jackson Kayak, Mountain Khaki, Smith Optics, Stoney Boater, Kokatat, Chaco. Our next throwdown is on Sunday June 14th and we are looking forward to seeing everyone there. :) Peace. Robert Z.  

July 27th, 2014

Seaway Valley’s WK Hometown Thowdown #2: Christmas In July

July, a funny month for freestyle in Valleyfield. :)

Every year we have some events that are high turnouts and others not so much. July is the funny month. Right in the middle of everyone’s planned vacations you just never know who is going ot be around.

This year we decided to round it out with the Quebec Camping traditions and mixed it up with Christmas in July event from the CEEVV in Valleyfield. Christmas decorations and music gave it a slightly surreal water event and it brought in a couple extra locals :)

Adam Chappell and Brandon Fasan, 2 of our Canadian Freestyle team members came out and joined our local Canadian Team Members (Zach Zwanenburg) to play with us and take advantage of Manic (the hole feature) to work on their skills and encourage new paddlers. The only request we had from them was a change in our ussual format and add a finals. So we did. :)

The comp started with the new freestyle and younger paddlers showing us that the could surf and control their boats on Mini Wave. We were really excited to have on of our Junior Women Slalom Team members with us. Kylie is an awesome young lady and just starting to play around with freestyle. She was joined by 3 of our favorite young CReW paddlers, Andrew, Zoe and Charles. THese 3 kids have really put it together now. In the last weeks their confidence has shot up and it showed with the dedication to getting themselves out onto the wave.

Junior results: First place went to Kylie followed by Andrew, the Zoe and Charles.

Thanks to our National Freestyle Team members and adult competitors for helping with Safety and ‘in eddy coaching” and encouragement. Could not do this without you guys :)

Next up we had intermediate to advanced comp. This was great. The Junior group worked with Sylvie and I as Scribes and Timers (Always awesome to see the kids helping out and learning at the same time)

2 heats of competition in hole where you can go big but set up and patience is key.

I guess having the team members show up lit a few fires under some of our local paddlers and we watched our locals work hard to dial it up a notch. It was awesome.
There were a few boaters that are new to the freestyle scene in Valleyfield and we were proud to see them come up, ride, beat down and hang in there. George, new to playboating hung in there and scored a few point.

Will, a young man visiting all the way from Ireland put on a good show. Sime, a local boy, worked out a couple spins.
Dany, wearing a santaclause hat and beard and  seems to have decided that he like competition (I think with more time and training he would rock) pulled up a fair score. Watch for him at our future events on the river.
Aime-Jean (Old timer from the vallefield club and just an awesome dude and instructor) and Louis-Phillipe (National Slalom Coach and yea, another great dude) battled it out between each other and had a lot of good smiles.
Brandon Adam and Zach worked out their business and gave tips to the others along the way.

As requested by our National Team Members, we scored this using ICF rules and a finals. The results at the top had we not done so would have been slightly different for Adam and Zach. A lot can change with finals.


Zachary Zwanenburg: 599
Adam Chappell: 395
Louis-Phillipe: 184
Aime-Jean Lavigne: 161
Brandon Fasan: 133
Dany Trottier: 60
Simon: 17
Will: 9
George Abou-Aime: 6

the spectators had a good show and we had a lot of fun.Everyone who participated walked away with great memories of Christmas in July,  a good work out, in some cases new friends and even a cool prize from our sponsors

Thanks to all our WK sponsors for helping make this possible. Chaco, GoPro, Jackson Kayak, Mountain Khakis, Immersion Research, Shred Ready, Smith Optics, Kokatat, Astral, Stonyboater  and Local Sponsor: KiwiDezignz.




September 5th, 2012

Pigeon River event

So we left Rock Island Tennessee for Hartford Tennessee, not too far, about 1:30 of driving. What made it long is that we had to go back to Nashville first to drop off the bike. Yes, you read right, I said the bike :) Robert rented a Harley for a few days, he could not take the time off work to drive down with us so he flew to Nashville and then met us in Rock Island by bike. He took Emily for a long promised road trip and as it turns out, the mountain roads were perfect for them, they had a great time while Zachary was still training and made it back in time for his first competition run. Zachary finished 11th, he only needed a few more points to make the cut to the semi finals (they take the first 10) but he learned a lot and mostly is figuring out a way to relax during competitions so he paddles as well as during his practice runs.

We were set up very close to the feature on the Pigeon river which was great, the kids could just paddle down to the feature for training and walk back up whenever they were done. For the spectators, we got a ride by raft to the other side of the river as it was a better viewing area and we were in the shade all day, which was great!

We also took the time to run the river twice, not a stressful run at all, actually pretty small for the most part but enjoyable none less. We found a few good waves and holes to play on and also a jumping spot on an eddy line in which Zachary was trying to get the most down time. 11 second I think was is best. He also made me jump but my goal was the least down time :) The water was warm and the weather perfect all week except the last night so we packed up 3 wet tents :(

On the Friday, before running the river (the water only turned on at 3) we went to Pigeon Forge for some go-karting and tried indoor skydiving! That was a lot of fun and Robert is hooked!!!

Zachary finished 6th there and again was only 20 points behind 5th and they take 5 into the finals but he paddled better than at the last event and we are all very happy with his results!

We took our time to drive to the Nantahala, stopped in Pigeon Forge so Robert and Emily could go indoor skydiving again, made it in time for the kids to paddle a bit while Robert and I went to set up camp. As we were finishing the first tent, it started pouring so the wet tent just became soaked. The next day, we found a campsite with tent platform covered by canvas tents, we set up camp underneath and it is perfect! We are trying to stay dry but it is raining a lot and when it is not, it is so humid that everything is in a constant state of dampness!

We have a training schedule, we get one hour every day on the feature, there is some open time slots as well and Zachary is taking full advantage of every minute he can get on the feature, it is a nice feature and they are having a lot of fun while training! The whole Canadian team filmed their session this morning and had a video session after with lots of tricks/advice from the more advanced paddlers, they also help each other a lot on the water. Robert was timing so paddlers would not spend more than a minute each on their practice rides, the feature is very retentive and you can very easily paddle back into it and spend a great deal of time in there. He forgot his whistle at home or maybe I forgot ( I packed everything, he was in Toronto) so he bought one for the job and has he got excited watching the paddlers towards the end of the session he threw it in the water by accident :( We’ll see what happens to whistle # 3.

Competition starts on Friday, we’ll keep you posted. You can also find the results here:


September 4th, 2012

Road Trip ( Emily’s point of view)

                             Road Trip!!!                                  .

We left Monday morning to go to Minden to train for the Canadian Freestyle Team Trials. As usual, it took us like three hours to pack (I might be exaggerating a little but probably not by much) but once we were finally done and on the road it went well. It was a long boring drive but I had all our pillows next to me so I pilled them up and fell asleep for like, an hour. When we got here the water was off so we set up camp then followed Cheryl and Sydney (the only other junior girl so far) to the river to see what it looked like at low water (there is absolutely nothing there unless you like scraping rocks with your boat, then you’d love it!). Tuesday morning, I was up at six and I just sat by the river for an hour. When I came back up my mom was just getting up so we had a very complicated breakfast ’cause I didn’t know what to eat. Once everyone was ready we did like, the weirdest warm up ever. When that was over we got geared up as fast as we could and went to paddle. It was awesome! I can semi on purpose cartwheel and I have my spin down. During the afternoon training did NOT go well. One, there was a huge line up. Two, I was tired and kept getting trashed. Three, I kept missing the eddy and had to walk back up all the time. So I have decided to train in the morning because I paddle better then.

Wednesday morning, Billy Harris made me try to loop and I got it!!!! And a few rides after I got it again!!! So that was the best day yet since I looped TWICE!!!!!!!!!! In the afternoon we did a workout with Frankie, which was fun (mostly because Frankie laughed at Zach the hole time).

This morning I ate breakfast really fast and went running for maybe twenty minutes even though I hate running. Then we spent the next two hours watching people paddle. By eleven, we got in at the top to do our flat-water warm up, and then we ran the river to Earls. My training went really badly. For one, there was a big line up. And then I kept getting window-shaded. I’ve still got to do my workout later.

Tomorrow the competition starts. There is Prelims for the Junior Girls but since it’s just me and Sydney, it’s pretty much just more training except we have the entire eddy to ourselves (which is amazing). Then Saturday, we have finals. Wish us luck…


See ya on the water!



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