Launch of the Quebec Extreme Whitewater Series 2017
The Quebec Whitewater Federation (Eau Vive Quebec) launched an extreme race series called the Quebec Extreme Whitewater Series (Série Eau Vive Extrême Québec) in 2015. We are very proud at Kayak Session to be partnering with those fabulous races in the Series’ 3rd edition. We met with Trevor L’Heureux, director of education at the federation to know more about this race series.
KS : What is the idea behind creating this circuit ?
TL : The original idea for the race series was twofold. Firstly, to help increase a steadily growing sense of community between Quebec paddlers through races across the province. The five races stretch across over 800 kilometers and represent 4 different regions in the province, with ongoing conversations to expand it even further. The second reason was to give other paddlers from outside of Quebec and around the world, more reason (as if they needed it) to spend time visiting and paddling what we have to offer in la belle province.
KS : What are the races involved in the series ?
TL : For 2017, the Series kicks off with the Neilson Race on May 13th, followed by the Rouge Challenge the week after on May 20-21st, the Hollywood Head-2-Head on the Kipawa river June 24th, Montreal Eau Vive August 12-13th, and finishing up with the Seven Sister Slalom August 19th. Each race has a different format, giving the Series a unique and varied quality, including team time-trial, individual time-trial, playoff style knockout elimination, boatercross and giant slalom.
The second reason was to give other paddlers from outside of Quebec and around the world, more reason (as if they needed it) to spend time visiting and paddling what we have to offer in la belle province.
KS : Are those open to Quebec boaters only, or is it meant to attract as many paddlers as possible ?
TL : The hope is that it will attract as many foreign paddlers as possible, and is therefore open to anyone who can safely compete in any race they are around for. I doubt anyone can consistently outperform Quebecois on Quebec rivers, but the big names around the world are welcome to try!
KS : How does the series work ? Do competitors have to be at every race to win ?
TL : The organizers agreed upon a best 4 out of 5 race results format for 2017, in the hopes that it would promote increased participation universally. This way, if a competitor can’t make a race, or has a less than hoped for result, they are less likely to be out of the running for the race Series title. Other than that, each race is worth the same amount of total points; 3rd place in the Rouge Challenge is the same as 3rd place on the Kipawa.
The hope is that it will attract as many foreign paddlers as possible, and is therefore open to anyone who can safely compete in any race they are around for
KS : Was it easy to convince the organizers to be part of this race Series?
TL : It was, organizers and competitors got motivated and excited by the idea really fast. They idea had already been floating around at existing races and festivals for a couple years before any attempt was made to string them together. Heading into the third year of the Series, it was great to see each event’s organizers step up to the table when it came time to work on publicity and refine the general format and point distribution for the Series as a whole.
KS : What is the federation’s role ? Do you help finance the events ? Get the administrative issues and insurance sorted for instance ?
TL : The federation’s mission is to promote the practice and development of the sport on behalf of our province and members, which only really happens through the strength of clubs, outfitters and volunteers. When it comes to competitions, we help navigate the paperwork with the provincial insurance provider, search for funding, provide materials, publicity, volunteers, safety, etc., but the organizers of the events are the heart of the sport and it will hopefully stay that way.
KS : Where would you like to see this Series be in say 5 years from now ?
TL : I would really love to see it grow in terms of numbers of participants from all of the regions in Quebec, especially an increase amongst female competitors. Seeing races get established out in Gaspe or Lac St-Jean would really help create the provincial community we hope to solidify, and become established as a race circuit that competitors from all over the world put high up on their yearly to-do list.
Stand by for more on the Quebec Extreme Whitewater Series (Série Eau Vive Extrême Québec) on kayaksession.com in the coming weeks as we will cover the serie before, during and after each stages.