World StandUp Paddleboard Championships with Maddi

Friday, December 7, 2018
TEam CanadaOn October 24th 2018 Maddi received a phone call from one of her friends that totally changed her life. Ariel Amaral is a member of the Team Canada SUP team for 2018, and she had called to inform Maddi that a spot on the team had opened up for the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships in Wanning China. She had asked Maddie to apply for the spot.
“I could not believe what I was hearing. I could not believe that she had thought of me to come and represent Canada on the world stage. I was able to work out my school and financial situation, and was able to say yes to this unique opportunity. I was on my way to China!”
Maddi spent two weeks on Hainan, a major island off of China’s southern coast.The first week consisted of a lot of training and resting. Maddi was supposed to compete right away, but the schedule was changed due to weather and ocean conditions. The swell was rising and the event kicked off with the SUP Surfing events first.
Maddi loved that her team got to show the world that Canada can surf too! During their off time, the team paddled in a river that ran beside their hotel and this short paddle was very eye opening. Maddi was so sad to notice lots of garbage in the waterway amongst so many beautiful palm trees and grasses. She wanted to pick up every single piece to make the river beautiful.
During the second week, it was finally time to compete. Having had fun watching the world surf, Maddi was getting anxious and ready to race. She was in the first heat for the women’s technical racing on Tuesday November 27th. Standing on the starting line was so nerve racking but humbling at the same time. She was lining up beside her idols in the paddling world and felt very grateful to be where she was in that moment. The horn blew and it was time to go!
“I learned how to paddle through waves and practice pivot turns earlier in the week, and so I was able to apply those same skills during the race. I placed 9th out of 12 ladies in my first heat, and 12th out of 18 ladies in my second heat. My body was hurting but my spirit was strong after a hard day of racing. I had left everything I had out in the ocean and was super proud of my first international performance.”
Her next race was the distance race on Saturday December 2nd. The conditions were tough because it was extremely hot, and the wind and swell in the ocean had picked up. When the race started, Maddi ran to the water as fast as she could and got a fantastic start. She paddled as hard as she could against a cross wind, and then turned the second buoy into a downwind section of the race. Unfortunately, this is where her back gave out and she had to pull out of the race. She was devastated that she had to leave the distance race only 4 km's in, but when she got back to shore, her team was waiting for her with open arms. They were nothing but encouraging.
They had told her “you didn’t give up mentally, your body literally couldn’t take anymore and that’s okay! You’ll be back!” In that moment it was hard to accept those words, but Maddi says they could not be more true. “China was absolutely incredible and I cannot thank everyone enough for supporting me and allowing me to go and experience such amazing competition. This trip has only motivated me to work harder, train harder and be my best self each and every single day.”
Canada flag
A message from Maddi:
Thank you to the University of Waterloo for allowing me to go, to all of the staff at St. Paul's University College, my friends and family for your encouragement and for watching and cheering me on! Lastly I’d like to thank Team Canada for taking care of me during the trip, and especially Lina Augaitis for allowing me to go. You will never know how much this trip meant to me and I cannot thank you enough for giving me this incredible opportunity. I’d like to finish this story with some last words of encouragement. To whomever is reading this, do not be afraid to chase your dreams. Go out there and try! I’ve learned that there is so much support surrounding you everywhere, and do not be afraid to ask for it. Experience the world, live kindly and have fun because you will learn so much :)
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