I was lucky enough to get on the chase boat for a few of the distance races this year at the US Gondola Nationals.
It was a down-and-back trip;
first to a buoy downriver,
next was a tooth and nail fight
against a strong headwind to get back upriver.
Another buoy turn, and then a mad dash downstream to cross the line.
Here are some photos I took from the water as Hunter Mitchell took his turn and put all he had into it.
Starting his run with the wind at his back.
The American flag serves as a great "windicator".
Approaching the buoy,
beginning the turn,
and fighting to finish that turn with the wind conspiring to prevent it.
Suddenly having to work much harder just to keep the gondola moving.
Passing a gazebo full of shouting gondoliers and spectators.
After the second buoy turn, making the mad dash to the finish.
And here's the post-finish "struggle to keep standing" shot.
This was Hunter's first time competing at Nationals.
He came home with several medals,
including a bronze in the Solo Distance event.