Saturday, June 22, 2013

Kayak Explore 2013 at Anvaya Cove

Last May 1, 2013, I blog about my very first Kayak experience in Ceylabne Bay, Ternate Cavite, courtesy of my friend Ms. Arleen Lindo of Chris Sports. I had the opportunity to learn first-hand kayaking 101 from the father of Philippine Kayaking Mr. Val Camara himself. For me it was an experience that is worth learning for a relaxing cross-discipline whenever I’m not running. Little did I know that this short kayaking stint will bring me to a whole new level in this new found skill in water sport.

After one month from my first Kayaking lesson, I was invited by my friend Mr. Joey Cuerdo to participate with him in a Kayaking Competition. Joey is the business owner of Mojo Outdoor sandals and Power-Up Climibing Fitness which happens to be two of the major sponsors of the recently concluded Kayak Explore 2013 at Anvaya Cove, in Subic, Zambales. This kayaking Competition is being held annually and it is being organized by the group of Mr. Val Camara himself.

I was also fortunate to bring my wife, Ruth of to cover the event for her blog-site. When we arrived at Subic, I was introduced to my kayaking partner Kat “Jai” Pablo (a seasoned Dragon Boat paddler and climber) and we will be kayaking together for the very first time. At the registration area, Joey took the liberty of signing us up to compete in the 25 kilometer race. I was excited but at the same time felt a little apprehensive, because the 25 kilometer distance is, I should say a little above my league, since both my partner and I are considered novice in kayaking. Nonetheless, our adventure spirit overcame our apprehensions and  tried our best to be confident since both of us are well-rounded athletes in our own field.

At the shore, as Mr. Camara announced some final instructions, Jai and I took the liberty of picking our kayak and paddles and positioned ourselves at the shoreline. At the sound of the gun start, we along with other 22 other kayaks cruised the open waters of Morong Bataan and Subic, paddling the first leg of the 25 kilometer kayak race. Our target destination is to reach the Lighthouse Resort by lunch time to complete the first leg which is 12.5 kilometers long. 

The first few kilometers was a breeze, I positioned myself at the tail-end of the boat and I get to be the one to steer the kayak and make sure to keep it just along the shore line. Jai, my partner was really hitting hard on the paddles much like the style she knows when paddling a dragon boat. By around 12nn, the finish line was in sight and we were able to cross the buoy signs finishing the first leg at 2 hours and 40 minutes. Apparently, we finished the first leg 4th from the last kayak. This didn’t bother us at all since this was our first kayaking marathon race. For us, just finishing was an accomplishment.

After finishing our lunch courtesy of the Lighthouse Resort, everyone was prompted to take the position on the water and as soon as the gun started, we were off again to finish the 2nd leg back to Anvaya Cove. At the resort, Mr. Camara told everybody that the tide will work along with us, so it won’t be as difficult going back. Apparently, his forecast did not realize because the tides were actually against us and the effort was tripled and it became much harder for me to steer because the waves kept pushing us in the open sea. After almost three hours of laborious paddling, we realized that we were just only half way back and the fatigue was constantly kicking in.

In the last three kilometers, Jai was already too tired to paddle so I tried my best to paddle by myself move us forward on a very slow pace. Race marshals were already circling us to check if we wanted to stay on or self declared as DNF (Did Not Finish). At first, my pride ruled over and kept on encouraging Jai that we can finish it even if we are the last one to arrive. But in the last kilometer, my abdomen began to tighten and I knew that it will be cramps. I was trying my best to manage it by giving it a stretch by leaning backwards but the space in the kayak was not enough to give me a full stretching. After a few minutes I can’t paddle anymore so I told Jai to paddle us to the finish line. I thought that a few minutes of rest will lessen it but after a while, breathing became difficult as well. 

 At this point, both of realized that this was where we can draw the line and to accept defeat. We waved at the boat marshals and they towed us to the last kilometer of the 2nd leg of the race. As we about to dismount from our kayak, my abdominal cramps worsen and any movement was an excruciating pain. The medic hurriedly came for assistance. After the pain subsided, I tried my best to roll over to my belly and gave it a good stretch. After several repetition of stretching, the cramps subsided completely.

I loaded myself with water and electrolytes to replenish all the minerals that were lost resulted by fatigue and lactic acid build up. It was good thing that I was able to recover immediately and gained a little strength, at least to clean myself up, cool down and shower up. For any consolation, the food at dinner time was really gastronomic.

After the short program, we immediately load up and drive back to Manila. The long drive was enough for me to recap my experience and some of the lessons I learned from this adventure. Even with the slight injury experience, that didn’t deter me to try it again in the future. It was a challenge for me to really develop myself in this new found skills, so that coming next year’s kayak event, I’m more prepared to paddle the waves  and enjoy it more. 

All photos are taken by these three talented photographers
Harvey Tapan, Harold Tapan and Al Benavente

Kayak Explore 2014, I’m ready for you! 

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