The races at the rowing meet I covered in this post tend to overlap from what we saw. The length of the course and the time to complete it is such that the next race was started before the last was finished. Consequently, there is not a way for the crews to return up the cut as the next boats are heading towards them. Apparently, they all wait in the next bay. Then, when it is clear, they all row back up together. The cut was full of crews rowing back to take their boats out of the water. It made for an impressive sight!
It was purely by coincidence that we happened to be at UW when a rowing meet was taking place. We had read much about UW rowing in The Boys in the Boat (well worth a read if you have the opportunity) and were planning on walking down to the Cut to see the Shell House but there were plenty of boats and crews in the parking lot when we came through. We actually got there almost at the end of the meet. I guess they row early to get the calmest conditions?
A few final races came through as we walked along the cut. The crews were working hard but still had some way to go when they came past us. By that distance, the strongest crews were showing themselves clearly. We watched them disappear up the cut and towards the finish line. As the last race past by, you could see the course boats start to disperse so we knew it was done. What we didn’t know was that we would get a nice finale. That will be another post.
Not far from where we live in Woodinville, there is a skate park. It is always popular with people hanging out be there skaters, scooter users, BMX riders or just people enjoying the park. I have been meaning to walk down and watch some of the skaters but have not got around to it before. However, last weekend, as we drove home, there was clearly something going on at the park so I decided to walk down and see what was going on.
I got there just in time for the beginning of the 15th annual Woodinville skate competition. Loads of skaters had turned up to compete and they were warming up when I got there. Indeed, the competition started shortly after I arrived. They had a bunch of age categories. The first to go was the 10 and unders. They grouped skaters into pairs or threes and they had two runs of two minutes each in which to put together their based performance making use of as much of the park as possible and varying the tricks.
We had a brief downpour so, once the group had finished, they had a prize giving for the winners while we waited for the weather to improve. This wasn’t the only weather interruption but, on the whole, conditions held out and the team did a good job of drying the park out when the rain stopped so that the competition could carry on.
Next came the 11-15 category. The same format of competition with two runs each and there were a lot of competitors to get through. The skill levels varied a bit but the nice thing about skating is that everyone is very friendly and supportive so they were all willing to not only do what they knew they could land but also to push themselves to try and get better tricks in.
There was a single group for the female contestants that came next. Again, a mix of skills on show but again an enthusiastic approach to the competition and, with the conditions looking better, the weather was heating up as much as the competition.
Last to go where the 16 and over group. Here you had adults in against the older kids (and one kid who was clearly not sixteen but was skating at a very high level. The advantage that size brings in carrying speed and in athleticism showed itself with the competitors really making some impressive runs.
The finale was the best trick competition. First the rail was used and everyone took it in turns to have a go at pulling of something cool on the rail without causing themselves unfortunate damage (although a couple came close to straddling the metalwork!) Then it was over the car for the second phase. By now the weather was beginning to turn so it was a race against time to get everything in. When all was done it was time for prize giving. Scoring for the runs was for the main prizes along with side prizes for best tricks during the runs and then the best trick competition itself.
It looked like a great time for everyone and I thoroughly enjoyed watching and shooting the event. For those that were there, I have a larger gallery of shots taken throughout the day which can be found at the link below. At the bottom of the page are pictures of the winners after receiving their prizes.
I will freely admit that I am a lucky guy. There are plenty of times when I can say that things have worked out well when there was no good reason for them to do so. One such occurrence was a recent trip to Santa Cruz. This was not intended to be a long stop but I was heading by en route to something else and I wanted to pay another visit to the overlook to Natural Bridges State Beach which has a large colony of pelicans. I had been there before as described here and was hoping to get some better light for another chance to get some shots. As it worked out, the weather was not to clear when I arrived and then I discovered that the pelicans were amazingly absent and the rocks were covered in cormorants instead. (No bad thing if you like cormorants as I do but that wasn’t why I was there.)
So, we turned and headed along the shore for a while and what should we come across? A surfing competition. We had watched the surfing here before but having a competition combined with a decent swell from recent offshore storms meant the there were a lot more surfers out and they were of a pretty high caliber. The plan was not to be here too long but we couldn’t resist catching a bit of the action. Finding a parking space was a bit harder due to the popularity of the event but we found a spot and walked along to catch some action. Some of the juniors were competing while we were there. The commentary from the event organizers was hilarious as they discussed the “squids” and some of them were surfing very well. Meanwhile, a lot of the locals were also out enjoying the conditions. I liked the idea that passersby could be in there with the competitors. It seemed a bit like playing football on the side of an NFL game!
The surfers could go either left or right the way the waves were breaking so we sometimes had them coming right at us which was cool. Watching them all trying to catch the wave as it came through and seeing who actually got up was good fun. One guy was out on his paddle board and he really did get some speed up as he surfed back in. As a lucky add-on to the day, this was certainly worthwhile.
I shall be a touch self-congratulatory here and celebrate something good that happened to me. Rotor Magazine held their annual photo contest and I entered a picture in the category Helicopters at Work. I am happy to say I won the category. The picture was in the edition of the magazine for Heli-Expo and was on show at the event itself. Many thanks to the guys at Midwest Helicopters. It was one of the shoots with them that the shot came from. I hope they are as glad as I am!
What we hadn’t bargained on when heading to Pleasanton was that the town’s main street was closed for a parade of high school bands. Some sort of competition was obviously underway with different stops along the street with judges checking out various aspects of the bands. If you were at one spot, you would see some of the band doing their thing while the rest of the band members were hanging back behind them. It all made sense when you realized that this was happening at various places along the street.
We hadn’t come for this but couldn’t resist watching some of them perform for a while before we got back to doing what we had come for. Nice to have a town so close that has things like this happening on a regular basis.
I have been gradually working my way through a bunch of old shots from the days when I didn’t delete anything. These days such carelessness with storage cannot be tolerated so I am a lot more aggressive about culling out the weak. Anyway, during the review of older stuff, I came across this shot and it made me chuckle and seemed like a great candidate for a caption competition. In the previous shot the guy inside is not in the doorway so he miraculously appeared as the other guy went out. Feel free to make your own comments below!