French and English came together on the Callaghan Creek on July 16.
Whistlerites Raphael Boudreault-Simard, who originally hails from Quebec City, and Ric Moxon, of Manchester, England, teamed up to capture the Callaghan Creek Race by 15 seconds. The pair bested 25 other teams for the win.
Moxon said the best thing about finishing first was that it guaranteed they were faster than all their biggest rivals.
"It wasn't so much about winning. It was about beating your friends," Moxon said with a laugh.
That drive helped them keep going even when they started aching a little later on in the competition.
"Keeping the lines whilst exhausted (was a challenge). It's not hard hitting the lines when you're fresh but when you're super gassed out, it's challenging," he said.
Boudreault-Simard said he and Moxon spent the two days before the race game-planning their route before executing it to near perfection when they needed to do so.
"We went down here two days ago and then we just played around. We did everything we could that wasn't fast and we just explored the river. We went around those different rocks and tried a lot of different things because we get stuck in our different habits and do the same thing all the time," he said. "Out of that exploration, (on Friday), Ric and I did a lap together and decided (on) all those different tricks — left of that rock, right of that rock. We just basically decided our lines based on all that exploration we did the day before."
Much of the teamwork, he explained, comes in the preparation, though they certainly do play off one another on the course as well.
"Once it's time for the race, it's a lot of cheering each other up. We're looking back all the time and Ric's like 'Yeah, boy! Keep going!'" he said. "Of course, if something goes sideways, then we're there to help each other out."
The race was their second together after winning the Gordon Creek Race on Vancouver Island back in March.
"Me and Rapha raced this spring on the Gordon and did pretty well there so we'll keep the team going. We go the same pace, we can hold the same lines and keep moving at a good speed," he said.
Boudreault-Simard explained while many other competitors hoped to see a little more water in the creek to make brawn more of a factor, he was glad to see a run that emphasized shiftiness and strategy.
"I like very technical (runs), going around rocks and snaking my way around rapids," he said. "It was low and technical and not very pushy, so it wasn't requiring much strength."
He said Quebec City is underrated as a kayaking venue, but noted its varying water levels make it worth paddling for only a couple months. He was back earlier this summer for the prime months, racing a different venue each week for eight weeks and setting himself up well for the season.
"It's good for May, June and then it goes down," he said.
While the race is all fun and games, its raison d'être is more serious as the paddlers look to bring in visiting racers and highlight the waterway's tourism value. With Innergex holding the licence for an Independent Power Project (IPP) on the river, Moxon noted having the biggest race yet was a good step.
"(The race is) an international attraction. It's the biggest event yet and draws people from all over — Seattle, Bellingham, the Kootenays, up north, people from Terrace came down here for this," he said. "This river is threatened by a run-of-the-river project, which in effect is going to stop this from happening. It's going to draw all the water up the river so it's totally un-runnable and this race is here to draw attention to it."
Boudreault-Simard, who is the director and the pilot at Flow Motion Aerials, also shot the race via drone. It is streaming online at vimeo.com/175345693.