Longboat 2015 – Another Fabulous Experience for UBC IM Alumni Teams!

Alumni Heat Racers.

Alumni Heat Racers.

On a spectacular clear and sunny day at Jericho Beach, in early October, Alumni teams from UBC REC gathered in the early morning. Several hugs, “high fives” and laughs ensued.  All were excited to be back and be part of the annual Day of the Long Boat, an event that has become the world’s largest canoe race and a marquis event at UBC.
For TEAM VINTAGE, this was to be their year to reclaim a win from 2014. They were super pumped from last year’s “come from behind” to claim first place. For STROKING IN PUBLIC, this was their first race in the event as new alumni and they did not appear a credible threat to the more experienced, (much) older and wiser TEAM VINTAGE.
When Jeff White of STROKING IN PUBLIC, REC alumnus from 2010-2012 and past member of the Events crew sent out “some obnoxiously competitive comments”, he assembled a crew of 10 he had yet to meet. His “mates” included key student leaders from his era – Fred Kim (past Event Director of Storm and DLB), Olivia Yung (former Marketing Director and Program Development Staff), Marcus Yu (active participant/official in the REC program), Camille Esquivel (Director of Media and Officials Development), Kolina Kretzschmar (Events Assistant Director), Ally Anderson (Marketing Assistant Director and Digital Media Director) and others, busy with successful careers after graduation. They had some serious commitment to this newly formed team and fantastic memories of having led in REC.
And so, at 10:30am, 6 teams gathered in the boats and the Alumni race began…….
TEAM VINTAGE bowman, Mike Tan, didn’t let up on a fierce pace and kept the team in sync all the way to midpoint to retrieve the baton.
Team Vintage

Team Vintage

Jason McManus, ably steered the canoe (strapped with a Go-Pro on his head), as team mates, Kavie Toor, Rob and Brad Lindsay, Shantal Cashman, Leslie Beleski, Natasha Corrie and husband, Toby gave it their all!! Joanie (Pilcher) could be heard to yell “We’ve got this”!!
Then the unthinkable happened! At the midpoint of the race, Mike returned from the beach with the baton and the team set off, again, with a tremendous push. Then, a rogue wave caught the boat at its side, turned the boat over and tossed its paddlers into the ocean. In other words, they “dumped”.
After 3 minutes and in shock, the paddlers had regained composure, jumped back into the boat, and began the race again…”We can catch them…” was the rally cry, but they could not. Meanwhile Nestor, like a proud papa, was on the beach cheering all the boats back to the finish line.
STROKING IN PUBLIC put in a nearly flawless performance and returned in first place in under 15 minutes.
TEAM VINTAGE had an amazing time of 15 minutes despite a 3 minute half time break!!
Back at the beach, amidst more “high fives” and laughs, all Alumni teams were treated to a spectacular lunch at the water’s edge. Pictures were taken, stories exchanged and all agreed that they couldn’t wait until next year to do it all again!
Stroking in Public - Alumni Heat winners. Photo Cred: Bronwyn Davies

Stroking in Public – Alumni Heat winners.
Photo Cred: Bronwyn Davies

***For 30 years, now, this event has registered up to 3,500 participants, annually. Student leaders continue to do an outstanding job to stage this event. Alumni are encouraged to put a team of 8-10 people together and be a part of this spectacle.
Written by Joanie