Foyle Paddlers make waves at the Mourne White Water Race!
Sunday past witnessed a slight increase on previous year’s entries. At least 56 paddlers from North and South competed in a range of boat categories over the usual 6.5 mile Newtownstewart Bridge to Sion Mills weir course. The participants, who represented clubs from throughout Ireland, ranged from16 years to a sprightly 75 years of age.
River levels were low this year – which resulted in a slower race, with more rocks and boulders providing an obstacle to a clean line. The race competitors were released in two separate groups. The faster White Water Racers, Wave-hoppers, Sea Kayaks and General Purpose Kayaks were set off first. These were followed by the Canadian Open Boats seven minutes later.
By the time the paddlers had reached the grade 3 ‘Fisheries’ section they had started to thin out. There were few capsizes this year, due to the low river levels and the reassuring sight of the numerous FPCC safety crew in their conspicuous orange bibs.
When the weary paddlers reached the finish line at Sion Mills Weir, they were treated to the customary FPCC hospitality. Following the presentation of medals to the top paddlers in each category and the obligatory photograph, everyone returned home, tired but content and looking forward to next years event.
When all of the finishing times were calculated, young Daniel Mc Ivor was the sole medal winner from Foyle Paddlers with a time of 1hour 20 minutes and 20 seconds in the U18 General Purpose category. This event has become an annual pilgrimage for many paddlers, with a few new competitors emerging this year.
The fastest boat overall this year was a White Water Racer, paddled by John Ringwood from the Dublin based WWKC, who completed the course in an impressive 54 minutes 31 seconds.
Foyle Paddlers Canoe club, who organised the event, would like to thank everyone who competed or assisted in any way, including Derry & Strabane Council for helping fund this event. The club were delighted with the turnout and hope to make it even bigger and better in 2019 – perhaps expanding the format into a two day multi event.
A full list of results and lots of photographs and video coverage are available on the Foyle Paddlers Canoe Club website and club face book and by clicking the link below.
A big thank you to all competitors, club members, safety marshals and everyone who helped make this a great event.