One of 41 teams that competed in the first round of the Canadian Outrigger Racing Association’s 2019 Cup series in Langley. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

PHOTOS: Outrigger canoe racing series comes to Fort Langley

Teams from as far away as Calgary and Vancouver competed for top honours

Run-off from melting snow up in the mountains made for a faster-running Fraser River and more challenging race at the first round of the Canadian Outrigger Racing Association’s 2019 Cup series, held Saturday in Fort Langley.

Jonathan Wilkins, one of the organizers, said the freshet or spring thaw makes it harder to steer the six-person canoes.

“It’s great fun,” Wilkins said.

“The speed of the river gives the steersman more of a challenge.”

Wilkins was also a competitor, who said his team lost time when they had to steer around an unexpected obstacle of a log boom.

“We’re all racers,” he said.

“That’s what we do. Many of us are cross-training for the dragon boat races [as well].”

Hosted by the Fort Langley Canoe Club (FLCC), the event drew 41 teams from as far away as Calgary and Vancouver island.

There were eight teams from Langley.

READ ALSO: Dragon boaters paddle home with medals

This was the first round of the premier Canadian race series, featuring various age groups from juniors to 70 years and over, with separate classes for women’s, men’s and mixed crews.

Wilkins said during the past two seasons, FLCC has hosted several training camps for members of the national team.

“The Canadian association loved the location, the hospitality and the organization,” Wilkins said.

“Several individual FLCC members have also represented Canada at the world championships — in previous years in Australia and Tahiti — with some on the team again this year in Australia.”

Results from the race were not immediately available.

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One of the event organizers, Jonathan Wilkins, said run-off from melting snow made for a faster river and a more challenging course. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

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