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Bathtubbing is back as Nanaimo hosts another world championship race

Just six tubbers make it back to beach in rough conditions

A veteran tubber achieved a goal two decades in the making and became a bathtubbing champion.

Jaime Garcia won the Great International World Championship Bathtub Race on Sunday, July 24, making it back to the beach in two hours, six minutes and four seconds.

This year’s great race was an endurance test, with only six of 25 tubs officially completing the great race and only two finishing in less than three hours.

“It was rough,” Garcia said. “It was probably six, seven-foot rollers and then you get the breakers coming at you.”

Being hit by dozens of crashing waves had him seeing stars “like Tweety Bird,” he said.

But his Securiguard No. 006 tub was up to the conditions, stayed together, and the sea started to calm down as he rounded the Winchelsea Islands checkpoint. His escort boat was gesturing to him that he was in first place, and he wasn’t planning to “pin it,” but the waves were working in his favour and he was “surfing” all the way back.

As he rounded Protection Island and entered Nanaimo Harbour, Garcia started crying.

“I’m bawling my eyes out and I’m just praying to God and I’m like, ‘thank you for giving me the strength and courage to endure this pain and to finish,’” he said.

Roehlen Anderson, piloting the Johnson Family Tub, was second to the beach, but wasn’t an official finisher as he didn’t make it around all the checkpoints. Terry Learmonth was the official runner-up and the stock winner in 2:54:58 and Drew McDonald was third in 3:13:31. Curtis Skipper was next in 3:21:14, Chantel Nelson repeated as first female finisher in 3:32:17, and Monty Biggs was the final tubber to ring the bell at 3:33:09.

Skipper, another veteran tubber, said the tubs were getting pretty beat up for the first part of the race.

“Going out to Winchelseas was probably some of the roughest conditions in a race that I’ve done,” he said. “Pretty big waves – I just took it slow.”

He said he was happy just to finish and was glad to see Bathtub Weekend back after a two-year absence.

“It’s great to keep the tradition going,” he said. “It’s good to do it again.”

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About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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