Taking a dip in the tub is supposed to be a relaxing event, one with a rubber ducky and maybe even some suds, but who’d have even thought you’d see one shooting across the salty waters off Centennial Beach?
Saturday, Aug. 18 marked the beginning of what the Rotary Club of Tsawwassen hopes will be an annual event in Boundary Bay.
“This is what we, the community here and the Rotary Club, have been wanting to have for a long time,” said James Latheron, event coordinator for the Tsawwassen Bathtub Race and Festival.
“It’s a celebration of where we live, the beauty and the wonderful people who make up this community,” he said.
The idea was two years in the making, Latheron said, and not without it’s hurdles, but it’s great to have the support of so many coming together to make the event possible.
“Somehow we made it to today without any major issues and I couldn’t be more proud of the work everyone put into this,” he said.
The bathtub racers spend much of the two hours between noon and 2 p.m. racing laps around Boundary Bay before making the final dash for the finish line. Hundreds watched as the racers leaped from their soaker tubs and sprinted up the beach to ring the Rotary bell.
The racers were cold, wet, tired and at least one, Matt Leonew, was just happy to make it to shore.
“It was awesome out there, especially since I didn’t go for a swim this time,” he laughed.
Saturday’s event marked only the second time Leonew had ever raced a bathtub, and his first attempt ended with him taking a cold dip in the ocean. This time around he made it the end, collapsing after ringing the bell and laughing in the sand, having given everything he had to finish the race. Finishing, he said, was more than enough for him to call the day a success.
Not all the participants were so new to the sport. Two bathtub racing veterans, Brian Stoochnow and Chris Glenn, brought a combined 77 years of experice with them, having faced off against each other many times over the years.
Both racers bore full steam ahead into the shoreline for the finish, and as they hit the shore it was Glenn who was first to leap from his boat, taking a spill face-first into the water.
But Stoochnow stopped and gave his competitor a hand up, and they finished the race arm-in-arm, happy to tie for first.
The fun, friendly finish reflected the spirit of the entire event.
The Rotary Club of Tsawwassen hopes to turn this year’s success into an annual event bringing music, good food and fun to the Lower Mainland for years to come.
“So stay tuned,” Latheron said.