Paunch hits again-The Bocas Team Brings Home the Gold!

By: Tereza Harp

Bocas’ own cayuco team, Paunch, dominated at the race on the 21nd in Panama City, winning first place in the female category. Once at home in Bocas, they described the event:

“We paddled out at the same pace with the top teams of the open male category, obtaining first position in the open female category, and we maintained that position all the way to the finish line.”

How did you push through the mental blocks in the race?

When it comes to endurance races, especially like the Ocean to Ocean race, it’s all mental. The body will tell you it’s tired, it will scream and yell at you to stop paddling and take a break. And you won’t, you can’t, it’s not an option. You learn to ignore pain. You learn to accept it.

How has living in Bocas helped you?

“This year we are fully powered by local business from Bocas del Toro, so we are 100% Bocas Represent. Bocas Dive Center, Divers Paradise Boutique Hotel and Bocas Dive Academy! Cayuco Paunch would not have existed this year without them. We receive so much support online and positive response from the Bocas community, that it’s hard to describe the feeling of achievement when we crossed that finish line and got news of our time score. It’s truly like Vikings going out to open sea’s and bringing home the treasures (gold medals!) to their families and friends.

How did you train for such a physically demanding event?

“We train 6 days a week in different aspects, each morning at 8 am you can find us at the Bocas Fight Gym where we work on our strength and conditioning. We aim to paddle 5 or 6 times a week in the open waters around Bocas. We have a recovery training at least once a week, we love to go to Bocas Yoga to follow Laura Kay’s class so we really stretch the muscles and keep them from tensing up too much.”

“A lot of our time goes into this and we feel very tired from time to time, but that is the commitment and sacrifice that we put in exchange for the ever so rewarding feeling of breaking time records!”

How does “Bocas Life” influence your lifestyle in preparation for these races?

We love the water, the ocean, we all surf and Julie even lives on a sailboat. We are all very aware of how we live and compassionate with the planet, animals and our surroundings. We want more than anything to motivate others to become more active and make responsible and healthier choices for their daily food options and usage and impact on their surroundings (especially when it comes to the ocean). 
Esther is a self-imposed Wellness Warrior and eats mainly unprocessed foods and is 95% vegan, she also rarely drinks any alcohol. Romaine follows a similar diet being a vegetarian. Angie and Julie still eat fish and chicken, but really make healthy food choices all through the season. We all feel great doing so and want to share this with others. The healthier the body the happier the soul!”

These Vikings definitely brought home the gold! Looking at them, they are strong and tough women with an infectious confidence about them. Somehow these Bocas girls still manage to stay humble and focused in their improvement as athletes and as individuals.

“We might not be the best each time, but we sure are better as a team and as individuals, after each training and each race. That’s what really counts. That’s what life is all about.”


The Bocas Breeze is a digital and print newspaper proudly serving the Bocas del Toro community since 2004; reporting news, advertising local businesses and promoting tourism in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

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