Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 29, 2007
CHESTERFIELD INLET - A boisterous crowd lined the shores of Police Lake to watch the fifth annual cardboard kayak race in Chesterfield Inlet earlier this month.
Victor Sammurtok teacher Glen Brocklebank said 13 kayaks took part in this year's event.
Racers paddle to the finish line during the 2007 cardboard kayak race on Police Lake in Chesterfield Inlet earlier this month. - photo courtesy of Dave Penney
He said the race marked the first time that two Grade 5 and 6 students were allowed to paddle their own craft, although their inexperience showed when they hit a sandbar and sank.
The first four races only allowed students in Grade 7 or higher to paddle a kayak.
"At first, the students in our Grade 1-2 class were a little disappointed because they had built a boat but couldn't find a paddler for it," said Brocklebank.
"But one of the kids sank their boat right at the start line and then ran to get the Grade 1-2 boat, so it ended up in the race after all."
One highlight of the race was new school principal Mike Pickles guiding his kayak to a third-place finish.
However, there were a few observers who suspected all was not as it seemed with the principal's performance.
"The bottom actually fell out of the boat and it appeared as if he, technically, walked across the finish line rather than paddling across," said Brocklebank.
"He tried to maintain a paddling motion to the end, but he was holding up the kayak as he crossed the line."
Levinia Tanuyak and Savannah Issaluk took top spot in the race, while Tyren Sammurtok was second overall.
As in the four previous years, the kayaks were all built by Victor Sammurtok students.
Brocklebank said building the cardboard racers was more challenging this year, due to a shortage of duct tape.
He said a strong wind during the race also forced a number of kayaks into shallow spots, grinding them to a halt.
"We haven't received our supplies for the year yet, due to some barge and cargo problems, so we had to ration out the duct tape we had left from this past year.
"We also had a couple of boats that a few of our senior students wanted to build, but not paddle in the race.
"That resulted in our RCMP detachment sponsoring a kayak and their summer student, Rebecca Sammurtok, paddled it in the race.
"She actually came in fourth, which could have been third if the principal hadn't managed to walk across the finish line."