Local athlete makes national canoe/kayak team

September 8, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Godbout going to Brazil for international competition

For someone who’s been involved in competitive canoeing for a relatively short time, Marc Godbout has made some big waves in the sport of freestyle canoeing.

He recently made the Canadian Freestyle Canoe / Kayak team with a third place finish in his first competition.

This isn’t some lazy paddle across a lake.

Freestyle canoeing is a wild ride on either a wave or in a ‘hole’ in a fast moving current.

Competitors enter the river then must remain in the designated spot for a minimum of 45 seconds, all the while doing flips and turns in the fast moving current.

Marc attended Centre Dufferin District High School then went on to Carleton University in Ottawa where he is now entering his third year.

Although he as been canoeing and kayaking for most of his life thanks to his parents who also share a love of outdoor adventure, he only began competitive canoeing three years ago.

“This is my third season in canoeing,” Marc explained. “I switched from kayaking after seeing a friend of mine involved in it.”

Marc attended a kayaking school in Minden and three years later he was already the head instructor.

He later became a rafting guide on the Ottawa River – a river well known for white water rafting tours.

Freestyle canoeing is similar to kayaking but has a different design that is open and the competitor uses a single blade paddle.

Marc earned his place on the Canadian Freestyle Canoe / Kayak team during competition in Valleyfield, Quebec on August 6-7, in the C1-OC1 category – OC referring to ‘open canoe’.

He was considered a ‘walk in’ entry in the national event having no previous

experience in competition in this category and up against more well known

people in the sport.

“This was my first competition. Most of the people had competed before. I had been training and decided to give it a try,” Marc said.

He finished in third place to win a spot on the national team.

He said his kayaking experience made for a smooth transition to open canoe.

“Almost all the tricks are transferable (from kayak to canoe). I practiced for two years, but it was an easy curve from kayak to canoe.”

There are two features in freestyle canoeing where competitors perform. They are either on a wave where the water crests, or in the hole where an obstacle such as a rock sends the water over and down creating a ‘hole’ in the river.

“There are national competitions and international competitions in canoeing. The Ottawa River has some beautiful waves. Ottawa is one of the big meccas for freestyle paddling,” Marc said.

Gaining a place on the National Team means Marc will be travelling to Rio, Brazil in 2017 to compete in the World Championship Canoe / Kayak Freestyle competition.

“It’s going to be a blast. I get to travel and compete,” He said of the adventure that most athletes only dream about.

Marc is a well rounded athlete.

In addition to freestyle canoeing, he has played hockey and soccer in both Orangeville and Shelburne and taught Alpine and telemark skiing at the Caledon Ski Club for four seasons.

He also enjoys swimming and rock climbing as part of his cross training to keep in shape.

With the International competition in Rio still a year away, Marc says he still has a lot of training ahead of him to get ready to represent the country in when the time comes.

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