Ellashani George can now unequivocally say she’s one of the best paddlers in the world following a fifth place finish at the IVF World Distance Outrigger Championships in Samoa on Aug. 13.
It was a bit of a whirlwind experience for the Duncan paddler as she’d only returned home from the 2023 North American Indigenous Games in Halifax in time to turn 19 before heading out again, this time to the central South Pacific to represent Team Canada at the IVF World Distance Outrigger Championships.
At NAIG, George took gold in the 19U female MC2 1000m and 19U female MC2 6000m, silver in the 19U mix MC2 1000m with Noah Gray, and bronze in the 19U female MC2 3000m and 19U mix MC2 6000m, also with Gray.
At the Worlds, George was looking to continue her success, racing as a member of Team Canada in two events.
“I think I did good,” she said upon her return to Cowichan. “In my U19 race, I placed fifth. My canoe flipped over in the first four minutes of the race, so I got back in my canoe and continued the race. I ended up passing five other competitors and placed fifth. That race was 16km and really difficult, but I’m so glad I completed it. “
In the open V6 24km race, her team placed 13th of 19.
“It was such a long difficult 24km race with very different waters than we’re used to,” George explained. “But we were so happy we completed the race together.”
Canada placed fourth overall in the medal count behind the paddling powerhouses of New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawaii.
Á’a Líya Warbus, a teammate of George’s in the open V6 24km race, said she was proud of the team’s race.
“It really spoke to our experience and ability that we finished the race within the time cap and did as well as we did in the heat and this large of a competition,” she said.
As for their boat’s youngest paddler, Warbus had nothing but praise.
“Ellashani was absolutely awe inspiring to watch in her category and then a few days later in the V6 race with us,” Warbus said. “She proved her training and commitment was at the forefront of her mind and a priority. At her age it’s so awesome to see and be a part of because she has years left in the open women category of which I’m sure she’ll prove to the world that she is a contender to watch.”