The Outrigger Canoe Championship was won by team that practises in a war canoe
A team from Tsartlip First Nation won the 2016 Canadian championship for outrigger canoe paddling — despite not owning such a boat and having to borrow one for the race.
Len Morris Jr. and others from the Geronimo Canoe Club in Brentwood Bay won the Canadian Outrigger Racing Association's open men's team race last weekend in Gibsons.
"A lot of strong paddlers on the water at the same time. It went good," Morris said.
The boat his team used for the race was borrowed from friends in Washington State.
"We practise in our own traditional war canoes," Morris said. "Really, that was our first time in an outrigger all year."
In addition to his team win, Morris won the open men's solo race, and with that win, qualified for the 2017 World Distance Championships in Tahiti.
For Morris, the win is the culmination of generations of paddling.
His grandparents founded the Geronimo Canoe Club in the early 1970s, and his father was a paddler as well.
"I'm pretty fortunate to have a strong family to keep the paddling going in our traditional ways," Morris said. "My dad is, like, 60-something years old and he's still out there givin' 'er, [he's] probably the oldest one in the circuit right now."
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