Deaf mute since birth, Vincent Dion is now 32 years old and has been residing in Brome-Lake for six years, after having lived in Australia where he was a keen surfer. Deprived of waves here, he moved over to board paddling, also called SUP. He liked the sport so much that five years ago he launched Aloha SUP to introduce Brome Lake residents to this discipline.

In late July, he competed in an international meet in Hawaii and covered the 51 kilometres separating the islands of Molokai and Oahu. Given the physical intensity of this discipline, he underwent intense endurance training to get ready. Readers may have spotted him crossing Brome Lake in its entirety. He also trained on greater distances, including a 35.5 km stretch on Lake Magog, which he covered in 5.5 hours.

On racing day he was quite on edge. Up before dawn at 4 a.m. he had to ingest copious amounts of food to pack in enough energy to fuel long hours of paddling. At the 8 a.m. start the waves were five feet high. That was tough, but he was determined to reach the finish line. Throughout the race, his sister helped give him sustenance. Since he was not allowed to touch her boat, she would jump in the water to reach his board and drop food on it. Six hours in, fatigue and frustration were getting at him, muscles were aching and a knee screamed. When he closed in on Oahu island, he thought he had been disqualified because the time limit to reach the finish line was eight hours. Since he had already passed the island’s tip, he was allowed to continue and reached the line in a time of eight hours and eighteen minutes. Proud to have completed the course, he only found out a few minutes later that two sharks had shadowed him part of the time. Would this have given him wings? One will never know!

He would dearly like a re-run next year and maybe participate in the Maui2Molokai, a shorter 45 km race. Meanwhile, drop in to see him at Aloha SUP, housed at the Knowlton Marina.

Translation: Jean-Claude Lefebvre