Hello again from the Big Blue!
I never did tell y’all about the big kayak race, did I? Shame on me. My excuses include but are not limited to:
a) I’d just returned from my trip home and was overwhelmed.
b) I came in dead last in my heat and didn’t want anyone to know.
c) I was very drunk before, during and after the race and honestly can’t remember it.
Reason C falls on the shoulders of two people: Miss Willow and her “Hey, it’s happy hour and the gin & tonics are cheaper than just buying a bottle of tonic !” and our friend/bad influence Jason from Ultra Fancy Resort Inc (you all know him as Mr Buff). Actually, I’m only writing about this race because Jason made me promise to mention him in the Coconut Chronicles and I’m afraid if I don’t he’ll come over and drink all our beer or threaten to light our house on fire…again.
But back to the race…
It was a perfect day for a fun fundraiser. Jim and Jo-Ann, from Etu Moana, organized a kayak obstacle race at O’otu beach, in front of Samade on the Beach bar and restaurant, (home of the famous cheap gin & tonic happy hour). I was still under the weather but felt like some silliness, plus the event was to help raise money for the local sailing club Jim runs, so Prez and I both signed up and dragged The Fiancés, Joe & Willow, along to spectate and cheer us on. We met Jason there and began a series of pre-race warm ups, mostly involving the consumption of alcohol and a lot of trash talk.
Because of the number of competitors, the race was divided into three heats. Jason would be in the first, Prez in the second and me in the third. The top two finishers from each heat would race for the prize – a $150 gift certificate for the Boat Shed Restaurant. At the beginning of the race, kayakers had to pass underneath a low string, then they were funneled through a narrow gap, after that another low string, and finally a buoy to circle around and the race, back through the course again, to the finish line. It would be a grueling course, requiring skill, strength, guts, and two or three stiff gin & tonics. I was up for the challenge!
Jason put in a fine showing in his race, finishing in one of the top spots (sorry can’t remember if he was first or second, see: “two or three stiff gin & tonics”). Next Prez was up. Well, I kind of felt a little sorry for the other racers. Maybe we should have mentioned that he used to instruct white water kayaking? I don’t think “mopped the lagoon with them” is too strong a statement to describe Prez’s performance.
Prez takes the lead…
…and cruises to victory!
I was up last and in fine, fine form I might add.
Princess lets out her war cry, striking terror into the hearts of her opponents.
OK, look, it’s not my fault everyone one else cheated! The rules specifically said that racers had to go between the two orange buoys – not around them, not to one side of them, but between them. Maybe the less ethical among us don’t mind breaking such explicit rules but, dear Nutters, I am not one of those people. I have my integrity. (And there was also the matter of the two or three stiff gin & tonics). After being, unceremoniously pushed outside the buoys, then circling back to go between them, (as per the rules), it became quickly apparent to me that I was not going to end in one of the top two spots. Never one to give up, I decided my new goal should be to sabotage the race by throwing my kayak in the way of the oncoming competitors. This strategy was not as effective as I would have liked. So, in the end, I decided to simply go for a “Best in Show” kind of performance by striking a lot of dynamic poses…which resulted in an unplanned swim but still garnered significant applause. Thankyouverymuch.
Winner: Best in Show.
Now it was time for the highly anticipated final race.
The finalists prepare to battle. (L to R, Some guy who’s name I can’t remember, Jason, Prez)
To support my husband, I drank a few more gin & tonics, (I cheer more loudly when my throat is relaxed, it’s a scientific fact). He had some tough competition as one of the other final racers was also a hardcore kayaker and the local, island boys were not going to let some Papa’a out paddle them in their own ‘hood. But I never doubted my Prez for a minute. The gun went off, (not sure if there was a gun but I like to imagine there was), and the paddlers dug in, visions of sweet victory, (and a free meal), driving them on. Prez wasn’t the biggest guy there or the strongest but he had something no one else had…the Dufect Turn!
Yeah, I don’t know what the hell it is either but we had a lot of fun calling it the “Defect Turn” for the rest of the night and driving Prez absolutely mental.
OK, OK, the Dufect turn is basically a maneuver you perform with your kayak paddle that makes your boat turn very sharply. So, while the other boys were struggling to get around the final buoy, Prez just did a little Dufect and, pow, he was well in the lead. Ah, sweet victory for ClubFred!! This called for a celebration and so Willow and I ordered several more gin and tonics.
Jim presents the Duke of Dufect with his prize.
Our friend Jason had no Dufect and came in last. Later that evening he threatened to burn down our house. (Hey, you asked me to mention you in the Chronicles and I’m mentioning you so quit your whining!). Actually, this is just my revenge for all the times Jason has made me spit up various beverages with his elephantitis jokes…but that’s another story. (Skateboard wheels indeed! Crazy Tasmanian.)
We saved Prez’s prize for the visiting Ripsters and had a lovely evening out. So, here’s a very belated congratulations to my Prez, King of the Kayakers, Duke of the Dufect Turns, and overall wonderful husband! Hug, hug, kiss, kiss.
Jason, we’re going to miss you buddy. If there are any big kayak races at your next job, be sure to drop us a line. (I’ll bring the tonic).
QUESTION: Come on, you would have called it “Defect” too, wouldn’t you??
Until next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy & lovin’ life!