A couple of years ago, Andrew Pickrem was ready to give up paddling for good.
“I packed it in,” said Pickrem, who was one of Canada’s rising kayak stars when he went to the junior world sprint canoe-kayak championships in 2005.
“I almost sold my boat.”
Luckily, Pickrem didn’t. Now 21, the Waverley native is attempting to paddle his way onto the national team and earn a spot at the senior world championships in August.
He said his time away from the sport helped him “realize how awesome it is.”
“You get to see the world and do things nobody else gets to do,” he said. “I realized I paddle because I love it.”
Pickrem was competing on Lake Banook on Thursday as part of the inaugural Canoe-Kayak Canada Atlantic Division international invitational.
Although he just missed the national team for the spring World Cup tour, he just got back from winning a K-1 100-metre open men’s knockout in France, where he bested a field of 98 athletes from 10 countries.
“I’ve slowly been working my way back up,” Pickrem said. “Each year, I’ve gotten better and better, and either this year or next year, I’d say I’ll be right back up there.”
His next stop is Montreal next weekend. It’s the final set of national team trials and his last chance at this year’s world championships.
“I’m right on the edge,” he said. “Hopefully I can make it in.”
Doubling up on the lake
Wes Hammer, Adam Tenwolde and Jason McCoombs, all of Banook, and Mic Mac’s Eddie Spriggs were double winners on Thursday’s opening day of the Canoe-Kayak Atlantic Division international sprint canoe-kayak invitational on Lake Banook.
Hammer won the under-23 K-1 and K-2 1,000-metre races; Tenwolde the junior men K-1 and K-4 1,000; McCoombs the junior men C-1 and C-2 1,000; and Spriggs the open men C-1 and C-2 1,000.