SEMANA NAUTICA: RACING WITH CARDBOARD
As the Kardboard Kayak Race defending champion for her age group, 8-year-old Saige Tappeiner was confident she was going to take the title this year, too.
The News-Press spoke with her Saturday afternoon on West Beach, where the competition was taking place as part of tje Semana Nautica Festival. An hour later, she proved that she was right.
Using only cardboard and duct tape, Saige’s grandfather helped her build her vessel, the Great White, on which she paddled out into the ocean like an experienced captain. Her best friend, Olive Mognis, 8, was not too keen on losing to his best friend.
“I was right behind her!” he told the News-Press.
Oliver and Saige were not the only friends to duke it out on the sand and water of West Beach. Oliver’s sister Lucia Mognis, 10, and Saige’s sister Jasmin Tappeiner, 11, were also competing as best friends.
Jasmin, assisted by their father, won her and Lucia’s age group by a landslide, but it was Lucia’s second-place victory that stole the show.
Between Jasmin and Lucia out on the water were two boats, paddling neck-and-neck. All of a sudden (the wind? Lucia’s force from within?), Lucia speeded up and barely passed the other two boats that were trailing Jasmin. Lucia secured her victory by jumping out of the boat so quickly that she tripped, landing in the water with a huge smile.
The four kids were taking part in the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum-hosted Kardboard Kayak Race. Organizers are unsure exactly when the event started.
“I think it’s our 16th or 17th year,” said SBMM Executive Director Greg Gorga.
It was not just kids participating in the race. Kathleen Spinelli took home first prize in her division, with her two teenage sons videographing and photographing the sweet victory. Her husband, Matt Spinelli, picked the winner up when she stepped out of her ship, the Paper Porpoise.
Following closely behind Ms. Spinelli in the race was UCSB student Anna Ogden. Her ship was assembled with experienced team members: Steve Nichols, Blake Monson and his daughter Erica Monson, three of whom have won the Kardboard Kayak Race in the past. Out of the total times they’ve participated, today’s second place was the third for Mr. Nichols, Mr. Monson and Ms. Monson.
A mother-daughter duo was present too, and were returning for their second consecutive time with a vengeance. Quinn Williams, 13, maneuvered the Revenge. The vessel is so named “because last year it went bloop,” Quinn’s mother, Alex Williams, explained, showing how it tipped over with her hands.
More than 30 teams participated in Saturday’s event.
Semana Nautica Festival continues today with a six-mile ocean swim starting 9 a.m. at Goleta Beach, a swim meet at Los Banos del Mar Pool from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the final day of the 83rd Santa Barbara Tennis Open, which starts at 7 a.m. at the Municipal Tennis Courts and Pershing Park.