Local Olympics promise hilarity and thrills

POULSBO — The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat have never been quite so entertaining as at the Dock Boy Olympics on the Poulsbo waterfront

Sept. 5.

“Wimbledon, the Super Bowl, none of them match winning the Dock Boy Olympics,” said John Kuntz, president of the Olympic Outdoor Center in Poulsbo, keeping almost a straight face.

This year marks the event’s 10th year of kayaking craziness.

Kuntz said the competition began as a friendly wager between the business’ dock, program and store employees but has become a feisty scuff that usually draws crowds to the waters in front of Olympic Outdoor’s kayak rentals area next to the Marine Science Center.

A few of the Olympic events have changed over the years, but four tried and true ones have remained. The events include a kayak slalom, where kayakers race around pilings trying to earn the lowest time; the kayak roundup where competitors wrangle three small kayaks that have been set loose in Liberty Bay; and the kayak death walk (or log jam for those faint of heart) where daring individuals step cockpit to cockpit along a row of moored kayaks and try not to tumble into the water before reaching the dock.

Of course, the favorite event is the kayak drop where competitors in kayaks are hoisted by their co-workers onto the dock and dropped 15-20 feet into the water below. They get points for aerial stunts, as well as landings.

“There are some pretty spectacular wipe-outs,” said Kuntz.

Besides bragging rights around the office, winners get their names on a plaque and a chance to wear the coveted Dock Boy Olympics medal (a Reno ashtray on a ribbon). Two time Dock Boy champ Benson Isley will reportedly be trying for a three-peat this year, but close on his heels will be a number of other Olympic Outdoor employees, including one of last year’s winners Connor Inslee, whose favorite competition is the death walk. Inslee said the only practice he needs to wipe up the competition is the tips he gets from the kids in his kayaking classes.

“Some people go to the gym a lot and for others it’s sheer talent,” he said with a laugh.

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