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Learning to race at Squamish

Aug 21, 2010

Author: Jessica E.T. Sickinger

 Here I am in Squamish, British Columbia site of the 2010 West Coast Regatta/Canadian Nations for Racing. When I first decided, a few months ago, to try my hand at racing I thought "how hard can it be"?   Well I think I'm about to find out that answer, very hard!   After a few weeks of trying to figure out my raceboard I have scrapes, bruises and two very sore legs.  BUT the time has come to compete my first race so I packed my bags and boarded a plane to Vancouver.  
Having done a fair bit of traveling to kite I thought I had developed a pretty good system of packing and sneaking all my gear onto the flight without extra fees or dirty looks from the check-in desk.   
Lesson 1: no amount of smiling or pleading can sneak a 6' raceboard past the check-in lady.
Lesson 2: no one who works for an airline knows what kiteboarding is or where to find the rules in the baggage policy.  Say "surfboard", hand them your credit card and keep moving.
With those two lessons under my belt I arrived in Vancouver only to learn one more very important lesson.
Lesson 3: the rental car is TOO SMALL.  A bigger rental car is too expensive.  What would have held kite gear minus the raceboard does not want to hold kite gear plus the raceboard, better make it fit!
Thank goodness for high school geometry and some creative packing.  You don't really need to see out the back window anyway, especially when confronted with the view on the Sea to Sky highway from Vancouver to Squamish.
After an amazing drive along the coast and through the mountains I arrived at the spit in Squamish.  Squamish has to be one of the most breathtaking spots in the world to kite.  The spit is a little piece of land that juts out into the river estuary where the Squamish River meets the Pacific Ocean.  Imagine a little slice of rock and gravel in the middle of a river valley with snow capped mountains as a back drop.  I even saw a baby seal come up for a breath a few metres from the beach.  By the time I arrived it was getting a little bit late to head out on the water, but there was plenty of time to catch up with some good friends and chat about the weekend's racing.
I'm crossing my fingers for some wind tomorrow and little bit of time to warm up before Saturday's first race.


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