Bowen Islander Bruce McTaggart, paddling a double surf ski with partner Ian Lowe, earned bragging rights in the gruelling Round Bowen Challenge Saturday, after the duo circumnavigated the island in just over two and a half hours.
Cloudy skies in the morning made for comfortable temperatures for the 100 participants from all over B.C. and Washington state who took part in the 16th annual Round Bowen event.
Challenge record holder and third-time champion Wes Hammer came across the finish line at 2:36:26 to win the singles category, meanwhile, Norm Hann took the paddle board category with a time of 3:35:41. The 19-kilometre Half Island Challenge was won by a 12-year-old and her dad paddling a double surf ski and crossing the finish line at 1:37:59.
The clockwise direction of the race took advantage of the 12 knots of wind blowing from the east. Only one racer was pulled from the race, at his request, due to a leg cramp that impeded his ability to stand on his paddle board.
“The conditions were certainly more favorable than last year when more than 13 racers were pulled from the water,” said Brent O’Malley, owner of Bowen Island Sea Kayaking, which hosted the race along with a variety of sponsors.
No records were broken this year. The fastest time recorded for the 34 km Round Bowen Challenge remains at just under two and a half hours.