The Kelowna Paddle Centre’s Leanne Stanley is racing for Canada this week at the World Outrigger Championships on the Sunshine Coast in Australia.
Stanley is competing in the women’s single-person outrigger against 46 paddlers from many countries including Australia, Tahiti, New Zealand, and the U.S.
The favourites in her event are Hinatea Bernardino from Tahiti and Marama Elkington from New Zealand but she will also be racing up against another challenge.
Stanley, who has Type 1 diabetes, needs to constantly monitor and control her blood sugars during the competition.
“My biggest challenge will be managing my blood sugars with multiple short intense races in a day as I’m used to at least hour long events or longer,” Stanley said. “This year I am armed with my Continuous Glucose Monitor for the first time at a World Championship so that will help keep my blood sugars in the range that will ensure I can perform at my best.”
Stanley first came to Kelowna in 2009 to train for the 2010 World Championships because of warmer winters compared to Ontario. And because her roommate from the 2008 World Championships, Sandra Mowat, offered her a place to stay and became her training partner.
After winning bronze in 2010, Stanley didn’t want to leave Kelowna, as the paddlers in the area were supportive and fun to train with—not to mention the natural beauty of the area.
She managed to find work in Kelowna, moving permanently to the area in 2011 and has never looked back.
“The people at Kelowna Paddle Centre (formerly Kelowna Outrigger Club) make paddling that much more enjoyable,” she said. “Paddling for me is not just about the stress relief and physical challenge anymore, it’s about the connection to people, the ohana (family).
“Helping people get on the water and have a more enjoyable time (going fast means more fun) on the water is one of my greatest joys. “