Gator Bait Race ---Elmore Homes

Good competition in the Deep South

Racers gathered yesterday morning on the Pelahatchie Bay portion of Barnett Reservoir for the annual Gator Bait Race.  This weekend the eyes of most North American surf ski enthusiasts might have been on a couple of higher-profile events including the East Coast Championships up in Connecticut, but I consider this race in central Mississippi one of the more underrated events of the entire year.  It's not a splashy day-long event with a big post-race party full of live music and adult beverages and so on, but the race itself--the part that counts, after all--is meticulously organized and I have never been disappointed with the level of competition.

 

Starting and finishing at Pelahatchie Park, the course makes a big loop around Pelahatchie Bay that takes paddlers across a couple of open-water expanses and through a narrow lily-pad-ridden channel behind a couple of islands.  The course is advertised as 5.5 miles (about 8800 meters), but modifications to avoid some problematic shallow sections made it quite a bit shorter than that yesterday.  The absence of the usual turning buoy at the beginning of the home stretch made it perhaps a full mile shorter.  One of my fellow racers measured it at around 4.5 miles (7 km or so) on his G.P.S. device.

 

The race always starts right on time, so we got in our boats and warmed up and settled onto the starting line.  At the gun I sprinted hard to establish good position, and the boats who matched my speed were exactly the ones I'd counted on.  On my left were the 15-year-old Pellerin triplets from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  Carson and Conrad and Peyton Pellerin were paddling their Spencer "Patriot" boat as a K3, and as such they had already beaten me twice this season, but I was hoping to repeat last year's narrow Gator Bait victory and provide a benevolent reminder that they haven't quite seen the last of me.  Over to the right, meanwhile, was Shane Kleynhans of nearby Brandon, Mississippi, a newcomer to the sport who has made significant improvement in the last year.

 

I hopped on the Pellerins' stern wake, but they were moving so fast in that first kilometer that I couldn't hold it.  It seemed, at that moment, that their teenage bodies had matured right out of my league.  So I moved over and tried my luck on Shane's wake, but he was sprinting so hard in pursuit of the triplets that I had trouble holding that, too, and I feared that September 17, 2016, might be the day that I ceased to be relevant in the top ranks of canoe and kayak racing in the greater Mid South and Gulf South region.

 

Mercifully, this blistering starting pace didn't last.  As they approached the entrance to the "back stretch" channel the Pellerins had to back off a bit as they sought the clearest path through the lily pads.  Shane slowed down quite a bit as well, and I found an opportunity to sneak up into second place.  As we advanced into the narrow channel I found the pace much more manageable and I began to think there just might be hope for me yet.

 

Work crews had made a valiant effort at lily pad removal, but we had to pick our path carefully nevertheless.  A couple of times I thought I had snagged a hunk of vegetation on my rudder, but in the end my weed deflector proved equal to the challenge.  The Pellerins and I and Shane stayed single-file throughout this part of the course to avoid any race-ruining mishap.

 

As the course began to open back up I sensed that Shane was falling off the pace a bit, and to press the advantage I sprinted up onto the triplets' right-side wake.  That created a small gap and the pace began to nudge upward.  We might have opened up the pace even more if we hadn't been searching for the buoy that, as I mentioned above, wasn't there this time.

 

We finally realized what the situation was when we saw race official Tom Taylor directing traffic from his position on a motorboat.  We went left of a couple of islands and entered the final 2000 meters, and from this point on the race was remarkably similar to last year's in the way it played out.  I held my position on the triplets' side wake, occasionally throwing in a surge to see how they would respond.  Meanwhile Shane was hanging in there just a couple of boatlengths back and I knew better than to count him out.

 

With some 400 meters left I sprinted for the lead, but the Pellerins responded with a withering sprint of their own and I knew they had the upper hand this time around.  I dropped back on their stern wake and tried my hardest to stay there.  As the course veered left toward the finish line I made one last attempt to cut inside and slip by them there, but to no avail.  Clearly the triplets have developed a top speed I can't match and they reached the line seven seconds ahead of me.  Shane held on for third place, and a little while later Nick Kinderman of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, used a strong finish to claim fourth place overall and third in the men's single race boat class over David Dupree of Rayville, Louisiana.

 

The full results are posted here.  Conrad Pellerin and Carson Pellerin are listed in first and second place, but they were in fact in the same boat along with their brother Peyton.  So I was second, Shane was third, Nick was fourth, and so on.


After a good hard-fought 40 minutes or so of acing we were happy to unwind and start the rest of our day with a nice catered lunch in the Pelahatchie Park pavilion.  Some rain moved in as the last finishers were completing the course, but there was no lightning and I would say the weather was nearly ideal overall.  I expect the 2017 Gator Bait race will be about this same weekend and I hope more racers will consider attending this fine event.

Read more from Elmore here:  http://mytrainingblogbyelmore.blogspot.com/

Chucktown Showdown ---Chris Hipgrave

Mims and Costa on the rivet.

The Cough-Town Showdown

Beautiful and historic Charleston again played host to a fantastic paddle sports event this past weekend. The 4th edition of the Chucktown Showdown would take us along the famous Charleston Battery, around Shutes Folly and into the heart of Charleston Harbor before returning to the start/finish line at Brittle Bank Park 9 miles later.

Although largely marketed as a SUP race, the race has seen increasing surfski participation despite a busy weekend of races else where. This year saw 16 surfski paddlers tackle the 9 mile Harbor Course. Even before the gun when off, there was plenty of talk in the starting area. Mark Volkmann debuted his new carbon Epic V14 GT and was sure to challenge for a medal in his speedy new ski. Flavio Costa was visiting from North Florida and was a bit of a dark horse, but like me, was suffering from a summer cold. Between us, we sniffed and coughed our way to the start line with the help of some great drug store medication.

Race favorite, Eric Mims knew of his sickened competitors and as the flag dropped the pace was thankfully relatively mild as the lead group of Mims, myself, Volkmann and Costa dropped in behind every boat and fixed object to get a little relief against the incoming tide. Upon reaching the Battery wall, the rebounding waves started to slow the pace a little and Volkmann had to drop to the back of the group before we rounded the Battery and headed across sloppy conditions out to Shutes Folly Island.

Mark Volkmann, Waylon Willis and Kata Dismukes establishing positon

Mims rounded the top of Shutes Folly with a little lead as we turned downwind and started surfing towards the 150ft cell tower in the center of the harbor. On this downwind leg Costa started his attack to close the gap on Mims leaving me to just keep my pace controlled and stress-free for my already suffering aerobic system.

After rounding the cell tower, it was another slog thru sloppy and difficult conditions before reaching the leeward side of the Battery and relative protection from the conditions. Costa continued to close the gap to Mims and I watched the battle unfold in front of me. Mims and Costa choose a line in the middle of the river while I took a more sheltered line closer to the marina in an effort to minimize my losses

Mims leads Hipgrave shortly after the start.

 

By the time we reached the Ashley Bridge, Costa was neck and neck with Mims as the final stages of the race unfolded. As they rounded the last buoy, I had a ring side seat to watch the mad sprint for the finish unfold, with Mims coming from behind to take the win by a small margin. I rolled comfortably in for third and then watched Richard Carter lead Mark Volkmann in to the last buoy. I was so proud of Richard who has been working hard on his technical skills, only to watch his lead evaporate as he inexplicity fell out of his ski in the flat water around the turn, allowing Volkmann to claim 4th.

Behind us, the difficult and sloppy conditions had shattered the field apart with folks rolling across the line for the next 90 minutes. The race had also created additional drama especially to the women’s race favorite, Kata Dismukes who just a mile from the start had hit a submerged object and broken off her rudder. In disbelief, she paddled back to the start with her husband where they swapped out the rudder and then re-started, eventually completing the race course but obviously massively disappointed about how the race had evolved for them.

Winners from left: Flavio Costa, Eric Mims, Chris Hipgrave

Fun race and a great crew of surfski folks makes Charleston a great destination. Looking forward to heading back for more.

Results:  https://paddleguru.com/races/ChucktownShowdown2016

Xavier Comelli

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2016 Blackburn Challenge---Ted Burnell

It is somewhat typical to be exhausted after a 20 mile open ocean race like the Blackburn Challenge, but I was exhausted as I lined up at the start line.   This was going to be a rough day.

The Blackburn was the culmination of a week-long road trip.  I had driven from my home in Chattanooga, TN to the Finger Lakes Region of NY for a reunion and some Finger Lakes paddling.  From there I drove farther north to my original stomping grounds of the Adirondack region.  There I paddled the tannic acid water of the Saranac River, and completed an incredible solo downwind paddle on Lake Champlain.  The downwind paddle,  23 miles from Burlington VT to Plattsburgh NY, was a total blast with incredible long glides but, was a poor choice four days before the Blackburn.  In addition to frying my core, I re-injured a previous neck  strain.

From Plattsburgh, I drove to Hollis NH to stay with friends and proceeded to not sleep one minute the night before the race.  Nerves and a strange bed conspired to keep me WIDE awake all night, despite having several pints of premium microbrew the evening before.  

But alas, no matter about being tired and worn out, this was my first Blackburn, and I was just here to experience the race and learn the course.  This has always been a bucket list race for me, so I was just glad to be here.

After packet pickup, boat safety inspection and getting my bleary act out on the water I was lined up with a collection of old friends, new friends, a few Southerners and a whole bunch of Yankees!   I had decided to go out slow and allow the jacked up neck muscles to warm up.   I watched as my normal “hang with” pack went rocketing down the river.   This river/inlet wound its way around the backside of Gloucester and was choked with moored boats.  Careful attention was required to avoid snagging an anchor line with your rudder.

After a few miles we finally rounded a point and we were in the ocean!  This is always a big moment for us inland paddlers.  As I weaved through the lobster buoys  I was a little shocked at how calm and flat it was.  That turned out to be oddly misleading due to the “BOBBLES!!”

“The BOBBLES”

Having warmed up and woken up thanks to the fairly hard push out of the river, I started to really overtake a lot of paddlers out on the open water.  Up ahead I could see two targets that I REALLY wanted to reel in, Wesley Echols and Richard Carter.   As I gained on them, I could see the occasional low brace or stroke adjustment to counter some unseen wave. Knowing that they are both experienced coastal paddlers, I thought “hmmmm, that’s odd??”     Then WAM!! I got hit with a bobble.    A strange little disturbance that completely threw my rhythm off and made me do a little hip check to straighten the boat.  These odd, out of nowhere bobbles seemed to be due to a combination of gentle swells, small boat wakes, current, shore reverb, and some odd celestial misalignment.   No one bobble seemed like an issue, but over the next 20 miles they got worse and more frequent, and it turned into death by a thousand cuts.

Ted with game face-on---Thanks to Lindsey O'Shea for make-up.

Before the bobbles got too bad, I managed to overtake Richard Carter.  Normally this never happens (or at least not easily), but he dropped his legs over his ski and looked like he was about to die.   A respiratory infection that put him in the ER the previous day apparently didn’t miraculously go away.  While he was attempting to wash out his lungs with cold seawater, I thought “never kick a man while he’s down, it’s not sporting.  Unless it’s Richard.”   So with that bit of sportsmanship I took off and thought “it’s a ploy, he’s plotting something”.   Apparently he wasn’t, because I didn’t see him again until after the race.   And he looked like something the dog would drag out of the sea.  Which I think is exactly what happened.

A few miles after abandoning Richard and his infectious issues, I finally managed to get by Wesley Echols.  But this wasn’t going to be so easy.  As the water got more squirrely and “bobbly”, Wes would keep surging up alongside of me.  Sometimes I couldn’t even see him if I looked back, and then he would re-appear alongside of me in his neon green Stellar.  

Wesley Echols---Photo Leslie Chappell

Throughout the race we were passing rowing craft of all sorts.  Open ocean racing shells, skiffs, whaleboats and working row boats of every class and type.    The race is actually a commemoration of the incredible survival story of Howard Blackburn, a Gloucester fisherman in the 1880s that lost his vessel in a winter storm.   He rowed for 5 days with no food or water and his hands were frozen solid to the oars.  I kept reminding myself of that as I started to “suffer” in my 3ish hour journey on a stunningly sunny and gorgeous day with a PFD, pocket full of sports nutrition and a 100oz bladder of water.  

Not being familiar with the course and not carrying my GPS, I had many “false summit” moments.  I kept thinking “This bay has got to lead me into the finish”……nope.   I would be crushed to find out that the line of boats in front of me wasn’t turning into shore.  This happened three times and my spirit, my core, and my energy levels all fell to shambles at the same time.   The last 3 miles to the turn into the Gloucester Harbor I was struggling to keep form, and struggling to stay with or ahead of Wes and Peter Kahn.   

My last thought coming up to the light house that signified the turn into the harbor was “Once I’m in that harbor, it will be flat and I’ll try to open it up with anything I might have down deep.”   After a rough turn around the lighthouse, I was dismayed to see a harbor full of boat chop.   Gigantic whale watching boats were zipping back and forth throwing monster wakes.  Usually, I’m ecstatic to see wakes like that, but I was devolving into survival paddling, and just wanted to be done.  Wes and Peter went by and I didn’t have a prayer of responding.  I was just trying to keep moving and upright.  Approximately 1/4 mile from the finish, I pass a ski paddler who has stopped to vomit.  Barely glancing at that poor soul, I keep myself slowly grinding to the finish.  I was done.   I was too weak to get my boat up on the beach.  I lay in the water for 5 minute before finally dragging myself and my boat onto the beach.  Once there, I struggled with nausea.  I recovered after 20 minutes of lying on a warm giant boulder like a harbor seal.  

The post-race beach party is a fun mix of racers, beer and BBQ.  Wait, BBQ????   I drove 2000 miles roundtrip from the Bible Belt for BBQ in New England?   I dodged lobster traps and maniacal lobster boats for 20 miles and they are going to feed us BBQ?    I was expecting clams, corn on the cob, and lobster casserole.  So sadly, all by myself, I walked down the block and had a lobster roll at a local restaurant.  But back at the party, the beer was great and the New England hospitality was excellent.   It was so good to see those northern paddlers that I only see occasionally or just on Facebook.

Eric Mims---Photo Leslie Chappell

I guess I should mention the top ski paddlers here.  Eric Mims from Charleston SC took first in his first ever Blackburn.  This is impressive given that he edged out some incredibly strong paddlers that knew the course very well.  Local Greg Lesher took second and Craig Impens from New Jersey was in third.

Greg Lesher ---Photo Leslie Chappell

This race was an incredible and grueling event for me, but I hope to return and hope to be at the start line rested and familiar with the course and its challenges.  Of course, if I do make that long journey back up there, I sure hope there is a clam bake afterwards!

 

photo---Leslie Chappell

Photo---Leslie Chappell

Photo---Leslie Chappell

Photo ---Leslie Chappell

Maraamu 2016 ---Rachel Clarke

It wasn’t till a week out from the race date until I decided to make a late entry into the Maraamu Surf Ski/ World Series Race in Bora Bora! With the help of Mosole, Sam and work letting me take 2 days late notice leave I was able to make it to the race!I hadn’t really done any paddles over 25km since Molokai so I wasn’t really sure how my body would react to the distance but I was hoping my pre Molokai base training could get me through!

I left NZ on the Thursday afternoon flight and landed in Tahiti late on Wednesday afternoon. I stayed Tahitian Johaan which was pretty much in the city of Tahiti. The Next morning we had a causal hike up the nearby hill to get an awesome lookout over the city and water. Johann then took me around a few iconic Tahitian landmarks and I got to see some of the cultural side which was awesome! That afternoon it was time to fly to Bora Bora, about a 50 minute flight on a tiny plane! Upon arrival I was greeted by Mosole and he took me to the accommodation I was staying at for the night. I arrived late in the afternoon so just unpacked and had some time to relax. On Friday we all jumped on a catamaran and headed over to the island of Taaha where the race started. Upon arrival our boats were all ready for us to get set up and go for a nice light paddle! We all slept in a huge open hall for the night which was definitely a new experience and I think I must have woken up every hour!

Race morning arrived and I was feeling good besides the woken sleep. Race start was 8:30am from the reef pass about 4kms from where our accommodation was so I had to make sure I got on the water with enough time to paddle out to the start! I managed to catch a ride on the race of a boat wash for the majority of the 4km which was great to conserve some much needed energy! Bang on 8:30am and the hooter was off! I went out reasonably hard but didn’t want to blow out in the first 30 minutes. There was a large ocean swell coming over our right shoulder with a light wind heading directly to Bora Bora. I was unsure weather I was on the right line or not but stuck to my gut and headed to the left hand side of the island. In this time I felt really good caught some awesome runners getting a max speed of 20.1km/h and felt like I had good rhythm. With about 15km to go I sighted the huge white lighthouse we had to pass around so knew I had taken a pretty good line. From the lighthouse to the finish it was a gruelling 10km headwind paddle into current. Probably one of the worst 10km paddles you could ever imagine! My hands were full of raw blisters and I was hitting low speeds of 9km/h from this point on I knew it was all mental strength! I paddled strong to the finished and managed to pass a few people in that home stretch! i was so happy to cross the finish line and knew I had done the best paddle I could have done! It took me 3hrs 26 min which was 28 minutes behind the Men’s race winner, Hiromana Flores.

Thank you so much to Mosole for putting on an incredible race, I will definitely be back for another year! Congratulations to all 64 paddlers who put themselves out there and gave it their best shot as it wasn’t an easy paddle!

Also a massive thanks to my sponsors for continuously supporting me throughout my journey! Epic Kayaks, Vaikobi, Bennett Paddles, Balance Sports Nutrition, SOS Rehydrate, AUT Millennium & Orewa Massage Worx.

Next up for me is a local NZ race – Cambridge to Hamilton, a down river 23km race which is this coming Sunday! Check out the details here:http://theboatshed.net.nz/cambridge/race-info/

Read more from Rachel here:  http://rachelclarke.co.nz/

Rock Island Rampage --- Elmore Holmes

Elmore, Justin, Bella and Myrlene

It was a sunny day in Middle Tennessee for my race on Center Hill Reservoir yesterday.  The reservoir is part of the Cumberland River system: it was formed by the construction of a dam on the Caney Fork River near Smithville.

 

I arrived at the race site a couple of hours ahead of the noon start time and prepared for a rematch of my USCA Nationals race back on August 12: the distance for yesterday's race was approximately the same, and Scott Cummins of Louisville, with whom I'd matched wits for most of the USCA race, was registered.

 

Even the course layout was similar to the one we raced on up in Massachusetts: from the starting line we would paddle a few miles to a buoy turn, then paddle back past the starting line and continue a couple of miles to another buoy turn, and then come back and finish at the same place we'd started.

 

I was determined not to repeat the mistake I'd made at the USCAs, where I'd pushed the pace too hard in the first half of the race and paid dearly for it in the second half.  And so once I'd sprinted off the line to put some distance on most of the field, I settled into a comfortable wake-riding pack with Cummins and Ted Burnell of Chattanooga.

 

We cruised along for several miles before Scott started throwing in some sprints to try to break up the pack.  I covered each of his moves, but eventually we opened a gap on Ted.  For the next half-hour or so I did my gentlemanly duty and took the lead from time to time, but I was careful to spend my share of time on Scott's wake.  I was hoping he might be getting tired from the sprinting he had done earlier and maybe I could make a breakaway move in the late stages of the race.  Meanwhile, Ted held his position just a few boatlengths behind us.

Leading group: Holmes, Cummings and Burnell

 

As the course brought us back by the start/finish line, it appeared that my chance had arrived sooner than I'd expected, as Scott suddenly fell off the pace.  Years of racing with Scott have taught me that he is not a guy who gives up easily, and I couldn't quite believe the race was falling into my hands like this, but I began to surge to press the advantage.  As we passed the start/finish line we supposedly had four miles still to go, so I knew I couldn't go too whole-hog with the surges.  But it was hard not to say to myself "This race is mine, baby.  All mine."

 

The race wasn't all mine.  I glanced back and saw Scott moving back up onto my stern wake.  The story, as Scott would tell me after the race, was that Scott had dropped back with Ted hoping that he could ride Ted's wake as Ted worked to reel me in.  Ted didn't give chase, however, and Scott decided he needed to sprint back up onto my wake.

 

As soon as I realized I had not, in fact, broken Scott, I knew the race would come down to the last mile, if not the last hundred meters.  By this time I was plenty tired myself and knew I would have to conserve what little energy I had left.  I slowed way down and almost forced Scott to take a couple of shifts in the lead.  In doing so, I allowed Ted to rejoin our pack.

 

I took the lead into the last buoy turn--two miles from the finish--and after rounding the buoy I stole a glance over my shoulder to see if I'd achieved a gap on Scott and Ted... and I almost ended up in the water.  My motor control in my core muscles was failing and it took a solid brace to keep my boat upright.  I decided to keep the pace slow until we came within sight of the finish line.

 

That moment finally arrived as we rounded a bend and saw the finish buoys less than 800 meters in the distance.  I threw in a surge to see how much my competitors had left; they responded well and I backed off a bit.  Then, with maybe 200 meters left, I knew it was time to put up or shut up.  I began to sprint but Scott's bow stayed right there off my right hip.  I let him take the lead, hoping to ride his port-side wake as long as I could before letting it rip for a photo-finish victory.  With 50 meters to go, I let it rip... but Scott held fast and I couldn't move my bow ahead of his.  I was running on fumes and my body was screaming Concede!  Concede!  My brain almost obeyed, but with 15 meters left I decided to dig in one last time.  But I couldn't climb out of the trough of Scott's wake and his bow beat mine across the line by inches.  The results would show a 0.29-second margin--one hour, 56 minutes, 53.81 seconds for Scott and 1:56:54.10 for me--and that sounds about right, I guess, although I don't know how the timing could have been that precise without any electronic eyes in place or anything like that.  Let's just say it was a tight finish.  Ted held on to take third place just six seconds back.

 

Myrlene Marsa led all females with a time of 2:20:07.65.  She lives a few miles outside Chattanooga in Rising Fawn, Georgia.

 

Scott recorded the total distance at about 13.4 miles on his G.P.S. device. My time was almost identical to my time at the USCAs, at which the distance was reportedly just over 13 miles.  In that race I had died with about two miles to go, whereas in this race I had paced myself much better and had something left at the end, if only just barely.  My legs throbbed like jelly in that last mad dash to the finish.

 

The results are posted here.  You have to click on "Results" at the top of the page, and then when you get the "Select an Event" menu, choose "14 Mile."  Scott is listed as William Cummins.


I'm tired and sore today but generally feeling good about how yesterday turned out.  It's easy to be disappointed when you've fallen just short of winning, but I honestly don't think there was anything I could have done to produce a better outcome.  As the ever-gracious Scott said afterward, "We can chalk this one up as a tie."

Read more from Elmore Holmes at:  http://mytrainingblogbyelmore.blogspot.com/

September Racing Heats Up

With the warm season coming to a close, the racing is beginning to heat up. September looks to be one of the busiest months on the calendar, with races going off all over the region. After a long year of redlining, competitors are hitting their top form and punching out fast paces, making for some lively match-ups. 

Current World Surfski Series Leader Michele Eray leading the L2L.   ---Photo Vadim Lishchuk

The big event on the right coast will be Lighthouse to Lighthouse, which is marked as the East Coast Championships. Back after a hiatus last year, L2L has enjoyed burgeoning attendance and looks to be one of the biggest races of 2016.  Seven and fourteen-mile options are available for the open water course.  

Further south, The Chucktown Showdown will be lighting up beautiful Charleston harbor.  The Chucktown is rooted as a SUP race, but is seeing growing numbers of surfski attendance and this year looks to be continuing the trend.  The following day ski paddlers will be heading out to open waters for an unofficial bare-knuckled downwind race.  

In the Gulf region, the family friendly Gator Bait race will occur on the shores of Lake Pelahatchie outside of Brandon, Mississippi. The short 5.5 mile course enjoys good turnout and always follows with a good post-race barbecue. 

Further North, the Louisville Riverthon returns with 7, 22 and 50 mile downriver options.

And in the Northwest, the Budd Inlet race will keep things moving for the fast lot in the area. 

This weekend's action will include the Great Peconic Race in New York, The Ocean Warrior Challenge in Jupiter, Florida and the Bainbridge Island Marathon, in Washington.

The Maraamu Ocean Race will return this Saturday as the next stop on the World Surfski Series after hosting the ICF World Championships last year.

Featured Race: Riverthon 2016

The Annual Riverthon Race is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 17.  The deadline for registration is THIS FRIDAY, September 7.

Gerry James is the Director of PR and Communications for Riverthon==

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for our 2016 event. On behalf of our board and sponsors I am inviting you all to test your skill and endurance as you race on the Ohio River into the heart of downtown Louisville on  race day, Saturday, September 17th. Register at Riverthon.org. Our registration deadline is September 7th.
Our longest running event is the Mayor's Cup, a 22-mile Race where both the first male and female solo paddlers to cross the finish line get the honor of having their name permanently engraved on the Louisville Mayor’s Cup trophy.  For those seeking more of a challenge, they can take on the Louisville 50 Race, a 50-mile race that spans the entire Ohio River shoreline of Jefferson Countyu from Westport to West Point, KY,requiring a portage around the Falls of the Ohio.  This year we have a major change in that the Ohio River 7-mile race from Captain's’ Quarters to Louisville's Waterfront Park is now open to all paddlecraft.
The 2016 Riverthon: The Ohio River Challenge will conclude with an awards dinner and ceremony at the Doc's Cantina, an amazing fine dining venue located in Louisville Waterfront Park.  In addition to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies for each of our boat classes, in each of the three races, the grand prizes will be raffled off to all participants. Check out Riverthon.org for race classes, award rules and a complete list of prizes.  
The Riverthon races would not be possible without our sponsors which include:
  • Admiral Level sponsors: Stellar Kayaks USA and Stellar Kayaks River City (SKRC), our local Stellar dealer. Pat Dour, owner of SKRC, explained his decision to support Riverthon 2016 and launch a performance oriented paddlesports company in Louisville, " I had an amazing time participating in the Riverthon 2015 Mayor's Cup race and wanted to find a better boat to improve my performance in 2016. I spoke with several of the top finishers and they recommended Stellar.  Stellar has high quality boats at fair prices and I am excited to provide the opportunity for one lucky paddler to win an amazing kayak from their line-up.” David Thomas, co-owner of Stellar USA, describes the company's commitment to the paddlesports community, "Since 2009 Stellar USA has been delivering innovative kayaks, surf skis, paddles and accessories across North America, with an emphasis on providing excellent, prompt and friendly service."  Stellar Kayaks USA and SKRC are jointly donating a Stellar S18 Kayak, a Stellar Wing Paddle, a Stellar Race Jersey, and Stellar Performance Race Shorts. Stellar Kayaks River City is also donating a Mocke Racer PFD, a Stellar Paddle bag, and other assorted gear.   
  • Admiral Level Sponsor:  City of Louisville, Louisville Metro Government, and the Office of Special Events has provided logistical, safety, and facility support to accommodate our event.
  • Captain Level Sponsor: Quest Outdoors is one of longest running supporter of Louisville's paddlesports community and is Kentucky's largest locally owned outdoor recreational gear store. For our 2016 race they have provided funding towards Riverthon branded paddling shirts for our racers.
  • Captain Level Sponsor: Bishop Boards has donated their 9.6 foot “Drifter” Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP).   Bishop Boards located in St. Augustine. Florida is interested in growing paddlesports education all around the country and getting people from all walks of life out on the water.   Bishop Board’s founder, Todd Bishop is also an American Canoe Association SUP Instructor Trainer.  He recently came to Louisville to conduct a SUP instructor course that helps train individuals on how to teach SUP paddle technique and safety to the general public.
  • Captain Level Sponsor: Bachman Subaru is sponsoring the Riverthon awards and dinner.  Bachman is our local Subaru dealer and sells some of the most paddle friendly cars on the market. Subaru Dealers across the US sponsor many paddlesport events including Paddlefest in Cincinnati, a large event for paddle enthusiasts in our region. Nationally, Subaru is the title sponsor of the American Canoe Association.
  • Captain Level Sponsor: Blue Moon Canoe and Kayak of Kentucky is the shuttle service provider for our races and they have also donated 10 half day rentals of canoe/kayaks/SUPs on Floyds Fork. Blue Moon is our region's newest full service canoe and kayak rental business located in the Parklands of Floyds Fork.  
  • Captain Level Sponsor: Endless Summer Paddle Company is donating SUP yoga lessons and a variety of paddle gear. The company was created to address a need in the  greater Kentucky area: access to exploring and enjoying our region’s diverse waterways. Endless Summer Paddle Company helps assist our local community in enjoying the unique, low-impact sport of stand up paddle boarding (SUP). Mimi, a former Outward Bound instructor and current yoga instructor, jumped at the opportunity to be a sponsor of Riverthon.    
  • Captain Level Sponsor: Explore Kentucky Initiative (EKI) is an organization working  to inspire people to engage in an active lifestyle, fueled by adventure in Kentucky's great outdoors. EKI is helping coordinate Riverthon public relations, marketing, design, and visual campaigns.
  • Captain Level SponsorsEllen van Nagell Re Max, Abel Construction and Commodore Level Sponsor have provide Riverthon with financial support.
  • Captain Level Sponsors ; Skipping Fish Boat School and Louisville Slugger Musuem and Factory have provided racers with the opportunity to win custom Riverthon branded Louisville Slugger bats.
Riverthon is grateful for the support of sponsors, volunteers, and safety personnel.   

To register and for more information navigate to Riverthon.org. We are super stoked and look forward to you racing with us this year! 

Current World Surfski Rankings 2016

Men's Top Ten:

1    Cory Hill

2    Jasper Mocke

3    Mark Anderson

4    Oscar Chalupsky

5    Dawid Mocke

6    Kyle Friedenstein

7    Colin Simpkins

8    Hank Mcgregor

9    Michael Booth

10  Sean Rice

See full standings here:

Women's Top Ten:

1    Michele Eray

2    Hayley Nixon

3    Chloe Bunnett

4    Amaia Osaba Olaberri

5    Wendy Reyntjes

6    Mouden Angie

7    Michelle Burn

8    Sara Rafael

9    Nikki Mocke

10  Jenna Ward

See full standings here:

Source:  http://worldsurfskiseries.com/

Rock Island Paddle Rampage This Weekend

The Rock Island Paddle Rampage 2016   – A great time is guaranteed, but also get ready to put in some work! The course will also be a great lead up to the ChattaJack or if you just want to have fun then try the 4 mile course.  Beyond the race we also have live music, beer, food, camping, and a firework show.  This year we are including a 14 mile course and opening up the categories so that more can compete. We hope to see you there. ‘

 DATE – 9/04/16

 Admission Includes:

  • Race Entry
  • Race Shirt
  • Beer
  • Entry to campgrounds to watch live music and firework show

 

Nashville Paddle Company will be helping us with rentals. If you need to rent a SUP they will actually carry your gear out to the race and have it waiting for you to pick up. Please be sure to get your board early as they always run out. Check out more details below or come to our website

 

Rental Contact: Nashville Paddle Company Please know that rentals are separate from the entry into the race. To get your rental please contact Nashville Paddle Company  They will bring the SUP, and required equipment to the event for you.  Cost for rental is $35

 

Camping – Please contact the marina to reserve a camping spot. They always sell out this time of year. 

 

Common Questions:

Is there required equipment for the race? PFD’s and board leashes are required.

Are there rapids? – The video shows rapids that you will go near but never through. The shallowest section is about 5 feet deep. 

Waterfalls? –  Depending on which course you do will depend on how many you see. Rather or not they are gushing out water really depends on how the weather is. The large waterfalls are always pouring but  participants will need to drive to the main waterfalls shown in the video. These are just 5 min down the road.

Do I need to call to reserve camping spot? – Please call Horseshoe Bend Marina at (931) 657-5080. The campgrounds always get filled at this time of year so please book a spot as soon as you signup. Your admission does not include a campsite.

What will Nashville Paddle Company Bring? – A board, PFD, leash, and paddle! They will also be out at the event early to help anyone who might be new to the sport and perhaps do some paddle yoga!

What is different about this year? There is a 14 mile course, the 1 and 2 mile course is no more, 4 mile course is open to call categories, the 4 mile course only has awards for 1st place. 

Can I bring my own board? Yes, remember PFD and leashes are required.

How late does the band play? 10pm

When will I get the complete race layout? One week before the race

What categories are there?14′ SUP – 12’6″ SUP – Rec SUP – Rec Kayak 14′ and Under – Race Kayak or Surfski over 14′

Will there be vegetarian food options – Yes

What about lightning? If lightning is in the area we will hold off on the start. If lightning does not clear by 1 hour after the 14mile race start time we will push all participants into the 4 mile competition. If the 4 mile does not clear after an hour past it’s start time the race will be cancelled.

What about rain? Race is a go

Can I change my distance on race day? you may change your time 24 hours ahead of time but not on race day. Sorry we are just too busy this close to the race.

Can someone sub for me? You can as long as we are notified 24hrs before the race.

Where do we start? We will start in the water in front of the marina

Is this race part of the Rock Island State Park? It is not but we do work with the park as you will be passing by it. Please do not contact the park with questions related to this event. The RD can be reached at help@hardwinadventures.com

Are there refunds if I do not make it? There are no refunds but we can give you a partial refund if ii is a month out.

What about Food? There will be a food truck at the event where food can be purchased. Other than that we will provide light snacks and beer!

 

Lodging:

Each ticket will allow for tent camping at the marina. There are restrooms and water on site. Please inform the marina if you want to stay otherwise there might not be any openings left.

If you want to rent a cabin you can do so from the state park! Just click here http://tnstateparks.com/parks/cabins/rock-island

Event Cancelation:

We reserve the right to cancel the event as we see fit. Please know we make this decision with your safety and desire to finish in mind.

Pets:

Bring them if you got them. Just know that you must keep someone with the pet at all times.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at help@hardwinadventure.com

Source and Registration:  https://paddleguru.com/races/RockIslandPaddleRampage2016    

Big River Paddle Race NOW Big River Cleanup

As many of you may know, Louisiana has been hit hard by terrible flooding, particularly Baton Rouge.  This disaster began on August 11, when an essentially stationary storm hung over parts of Louisiana dumping rainfall at a rate of 2 to 3 inches an hour, and totally as much as 2 feet in some places before it was over.  This storm brought three times as much rainfall to Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina did which is about 7.1 trillion gallons of water, or enough to fill Lake Pontchartrain four times over.  The resulting damage has been catastrophic.

Before the Flood

After the Flood

Tremendous Flooding

This week, the Race Directors of The Big River Paddle Race regrettably called off the race scheduled for September 3, but are asking paddlers to help with cleanup and relief efforts.  Below is their letter:

It is with heavy hearts and much regret that we have decided to forgo the race for the Big River Paddle Championship for 2016. This is due to the enormous flooding disaster that has rocked south Louisiana. We will now be turning our attention to recovery with the help of paddlers like you!
We know many will be disappointed and upset, but please know we did not come to this conclusion with out every option being vetted and debated. In order to host a race of this caliber there are currently too many obstacles in front of everyone that is involved in the race. In the last 6 days alone the Big River Crew has gutted at least 20 homes of friends and family and have 100s to go.
Everyone in Baton Rouge and surrounding areas has someone in their life that has been affected by this tragedy. We cannot in good conscious, host BIG River and throw a party while so many are wondering where they are going to live or how they will be able to afford to restart their whole lives.

What can you do?

- Come in as planned for BIG River and help at BIG RIVER Recovery!
- Donate Entry to Flood Victims!
- Rain Check Entry to 2017
- Send $ to BIGRIVERRECOVERY@gmail.com all proceeds benefit Flood Victims
- Bid on items donated to BIG River to directly benefit flood victims!
We will be sending you further communication so you can decide on how you want to help and deal with your entry fee.  
Please stand by for further emails.

BIG River Recovery:

We are asking all that were planning to come to BIG River to please join us for a weekend of service, healing, hard work and helping us recover. We are working on options such as cleanup, construction, supplies & goods distribution, and shelter service.
Thank you for your understanding in these most trying times!
For more information also checkout the BIG RIVER FACEBOOK

Tentative date for BIG River 2017: 8/26/2017

Sincerely,

Troy, Walker & Bryan

The BIG River Crew

Staggering Statistics:

- 25 to 32 inches of rain in 2 days
- 110,000+ Homes Flooded
- $20.7 Billion in homes lost
- Only 13% had Flood Insurance
- 1000 Year Flood
- 17 Trillion Gallons of Water (water to supply New Orleans for 320 years!)

Sprint canoe/kayak medal events in Rio on Thursday, August 18

Women's K1, 500 meter:

Danuta Kozák from Hungary won the gold medal with a time of 1:52.49.  This is her second Olympic gold medal in this event, having won 4 years ago in London.  The silver went to Emma Jørgensen from Denmark with a time of 1:54.32.  Lisa Carrington became the first female from  New Zealand to win two medals at the Olympics with a time of 1:54.37, and took home the bronze.

Men's K2, 200 meter:

Spain’s paddlers, Saul Craviotto and Cristian Toro Carballo took home the gold with a time of 32.07.  Liam Heath and Jon Schofield from Great Britian won the silver wtih a time of 32.36.  In a virtual tie for the silver, the bronze medal went to Edvinas Ramanauskas and Aurimas Lankas from Lithuania with a time of 32.38.

Men's K2, 1000 meter:

Germany’s Marcus Gross and Max Rendschmidt paddled to gold with a time of 3:10.78  Marko Tomićević and Milenko Zorić from Serbia with a time of 3:10.96 won the silver medal.  Rounding out the podium was the Austrailian duo of Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame with a time of 3:12-59.

Men's C1, 200 meter:

Yuriy Cheban from the Ukraine won the gold medal in the C1, 200 meter final.  His time was 39.27.  Not only is this his second Olympic gold in this event, but he set a new olympic record.  The silver went to Valentin Demyanenko from Azerbaijan with a time of 39.49.  He adds this medal to his impressive resume of four-time World Champion, three-time European Champion.  Brazil’s own Isaquias Queiroz dos Santos claimed the bronze with a time of 39.62.

Upcoming Events:

The remaining sprint events will hold preliminary rounds on Friday, with medal rounds on Saturday morning:  Men’s K1, 200 meter; Men’s C2, 1000 meter; Women’s K4, 500 meter; Men’s K4, 1000 meter.

Sprint canoe/kayak medal event results from Tuesday, August 13

Women's K1, 200 meter:

The medal rounds ran Tuesday morning in the Women's K1, 200 meter race.  Lisa Carrington from New Zealand took the gold for the second Olympics in a row with a time of 39.86 seconds.  The silver was won by Marta Walczykiewicz from Poland with a time of 40.27 seconds.  Bronze went home with Inna Osypenko-Radomska from Azerbaijan with a time of 40.40 seconds.  The full results can be found here.

Women's K2, 500 meter:

Also on Tuesday, the finals in the Women's K2, 500 meter happened.  Hungary took home the gold medal with its team of Danuta Kozák and Gabriella Szabó and a time of 1:43.68.  The silver went to Germany and its team of Tina Dietz and Franziska Weber, with a time of 1:43.73.  The Polish team of Beata Mikołajczyk and Karolina Naja paddled their way to bronze with a time of 1:45.20.  The full results can be found here.

Men's K1, 1000 meter:

The Men’s K1, 1000 meter concluded with Marcus Waiz from Spain winning the gold with a time of 3:31.44.  Josef Dostál from the Czech Republic took home the silver with a time of 3:32.14.  The bronze went to Roman Anoshki from Russia with a time of 3:33.36. Complete results can be found here.

Men's C1, 1000 meters:

The final medal event for Tuesday was the Men’s C1, 1000m race.  The gold medal was won by Tomasz Kaczor of Poland with a time of 3:59.35.  Silver went to Adrien Bart of France who completed the race in 4:00.91.  Vincent Frakas of Slovakia went home with the bronze and a time of 4:04.01.  The complete results can be found here.

Upcoming Events:

On Wednesday there will be heats and semi-finals held in the following events: Women's K1, 500 meter; Men's K2, 1000 meter; Men's K2, 200 meter, and Men's C1, 200 meter.  The medal rounds in these events will be held on Thursday, August 18.

USCA Nationals---Elmore Holmes

C-2 at the start

The venerable United States Canoe Association holds its national championships event each August.  Marathon canoeing has long been the signature of the USCA, and the C1 and C2 classes remain the largest fields at the nationals, an annual tradition for hundreds of athletes who love to use a single blade on flatwater.  But participation among kayakers has been steadily rising, and the particular popularity of surf skis in North America in the last decade or so means that a huge number of those kayakers are showing up with skis.  And for now their home at the USCA Nationals is the K1 Unlimited class.

 

K1 Unlimited is just what the name suggests: any kayak that will float is welcome to enter, basically, with no restrictions for length or width or weight.  The great majority of entrants paddle surf skis, but ICF-sanctioned flatwater K1s are eligible as well.  There's a valid argument that this is not fair: the nationals also feature a class specifically for ICF K1s, and the popularity of surf skis is so high these days that they probably merit a class all their own.  But I'll save that for another day.  Suffice it to say that I probably wouldn't do any better if I swapped boats with any of the K1 paddlers.

 

I arrived in Northfield, Massachusetts, for the 2016 Nationals on Thursday.  I got checked in at the registration area, did a 40-minute paddle with a few sprints, and retired to my friend John Kazimierczyk's house a few miles away in New Hampshire to get ready for my race on Friday.  According to the buzz, this was going to be the best-attended USCA Nationals in years.  The rumor was that over a hundred single canoeists were signed up, and in K1 Unlimited the number was over fifty.  When I last attended the USCAs back in 2007 and '08 there weren't more than maybe fifteen or twenty of us in K1 Unlimited.

 

I got to the race site about 90 minutes ahead of the 8:50 start time Friday morning and went through my usual routine of equipment readiness, stretching, hydrating, warming up, and so on.  Once I was on the water along with the dozens of other K1 Unlimiteds, I could see that it was indeed the biggest class I've entered so far this year.  Even with all my years of racing, many distractions beckoned: it was tempting to look at another racer and think, "That guy looks really good, and his warmup routine is entirely different from mine... maybe I'd better do what he's doing!"  At times like that it's very important to have faith in your own race-readiness and stick to the routine that's worked for you in the past.

 

One thought I did allow myself was the fact that I was probably not going to win.  There were several fairly elite athletes on the water who would just about have to drop out of the race for me to beat them.  There was Mike Herbert, the three-time Olympian and world championships medalist from Rogers, Arkansas; there was Mike Dostal, an accomplished K1 paddler from over in Albany, New York; there was 21-year-old Pennsylvanian Jesse Lishchuk, a rare youngster excelling in flatwater marathon and surf ski racing in this country; there was Roei Yellin, an Olympian for Israel in 2000 and 2004 who made the 500-meter K1 final in 2004.

 

The gun went off and we embarked on the 13-mile journey up and down the Connecticut River.  I found myself in a similar situation to that at Fontana Reservoir six days earlier, surrounded on all sides by surf skis.  Just like at Fontana, I tried to work my way as far up the ladder as I could.  In the first couple of miles I felt great and couldn't quite believe that I would ever tire.

 

Reality would set in soon enough, though, as the field began to separate into smaller and smaller packs.  I spent a large portion of the upriver pull trying to move up onto the wake of Scott Cummins of Louisville.  I could make out the waves behind his boat and I would throw in a sprint to draw five waves behind, then another sprint to draw four waves behind, then another sprint to draw three waves behind; then something weird would happen and I'd get knocked back to four waves behind.  When I finally got up onto his stern, I should have just sat there for a good long while, but in my usual brash way I had my eye on the boat up ahead of him and I continued to push the pace, thinking maybe he was getting tired and I could drop him.

 

In short, I was using a ton of energy in the first half of the race.  Scott stayed in contact with me, while the racers ahead of us seemed to be increasing the gap.  Finally, about a mile before the turn-around point at the Highway 10 bridge, I let Scott retake the lead and gave myself a long break.  During this period Tim Dwyer of Jamestown, Rhode Island, moved up to join us.  As we approached the bridge we could see the lead pack coming back down, and it was no surprise who was up there: Herbert, Lishchuk, and Dostal were duking it out up front, with Yellin a few boat lengths back.

Heads of State

 

Once we were heading back downriver Scott and I took turns pulling while Tim stayed in contact on our sterns.  For me the fatigue was setting in with a vengeance, but I couldn't detect that my two competitors were feeling any better and I held out hope that I might be able to pull away at the end.  But then Tim moved up front and began to push the pace himself, apparently fresh from all the wake riding he'd been doing.  When he began suggesting, in a chipper tone of voice, that the three of us rotate pulling duties at three-minute intervals, it was obvious that he was feeling a lot better than I was.  I was well into "survival" mode while it seemed that he was just getting started.  I tried my best to take my turn in the lead, but when it was clear that I wasn't setting a fast enough pace for the other two they took over and I finally let them break away with about two miles to go.

 

Up front, Mike Dostal broke away from Herbert and Lishchuk and glided to the K1 Unlimited national title.  Lishchuk, paddling a surf ski, managed to outsprint K1 paddler Herbert to take second "by a nose."  Yellin, paddling a borrowed surf ski, finished strong to take fourth.

These two have a history of tight racing

 

In front of me I could see Tim breaking free from Scott.  Scott was a good 50 meters ahead of me and I had no illusions of running him down.  I just maintained the most respectable pace I could and brought my race to a close.  As of this writing the results have not yet been posted online.  My guess is that the winning time was somewhere around 1 hour and 40 minutes.  I think my time was a minute or two under two hours, and my finish was around 15th place, perhaps.  The websites to watch for results are http://www.uscanoe.com/ andwww.newenglandnationals.com.

 

Sometimes I finish a race like this and agonize over the "coulda-shoulda-woulda" aspects of it all, but I wasn't in the mood for that this time around.  There's no question I could have done at least a little bit better; maybe if I'd paddled a bit more conservatively in the first half of the race I'd have been capable of a stronger finish and possibly beat Scott or Tim or both.  Then again, even if I had done that, I'd still have been in the middle of the field, one paddler among many.  So I'd say my post-race attitude is that it's all good... it's cool.  You win some and you lose some.  And whatever other platitude might come to mind.

 

The 2017 USCA Nationals are set to take place on the upper Mississippi River at Dubuque, Iowa.

Herbert, Lishchuk, Dostal

Photo Credit---Eric Mims

Read more from Elmore here:  http://mytrainingblogbyelmore.blogspot.com/

 

 

Stefan Henze Suffers Serious Injuries In Rio

2004 Olympic Slalom Silver (C2) Medalist and former World Champion Stefan Henze was seriously injured in a head-on automotive collision while travelling by taxi back to the Olympic Village outside of Rio.

The German Canoeist was in Rio as Coach of the Women's slalom,  Also injured in the accident was sport scientist for the team, Cristian Katini.

Henze is currently at Miguel Couto hospital where he is listed in critical condition.

OABI Race Kicks Off This Saturday

The Once Around Belle Island Race (OABI) will take place this weekend just outside of Detroit Michigan.

The hotly contested seven-mile circumnavigation of Belle Island returns for it's fifth year and promises to offer top-shelf racing as well as a much-hyped beach party.

Live music, food trucks, family activities, craft beer, demo's and instructionals will also take lace on the island festival.

 

OABI is a celebration of summer in Detroit - drinking craft beers and cocktails on the beach, listening to tunes, dining on the tastiest food trucks, shopping a diverse lineup of lifestyle vendors and enjoying the majestic beauty of a Michigan summer day in the shadows of the Detroit skyline.

From the OABI website:

"OABI, the acronym for "Once Around Belle Isle," is the ultimate test of stamina as paddleboards, kayaks, and surfskis race around the 7-mile natural and non-buoyed Belle Isle course through the international waters of the Detroit River.  What began as an underground race in 2012 has quickly turned into an annual Midwest paddle destination, drawing recreational and professional competitors from around the country, and boasts an exciting melding of surf culture in an unexpected urban beach setting.

 

The newbie-friendly Paddlerama program features instruction and demos for beginners, intermediates, and experienced paddlers.  Previous classes have included Intro to SUP, SUP Yoga, Paddle technique, SUP Racing, and on-land fitness training.  2016 will showcase more intimate classes with specialized instruction from some of the Midwest’s best and most talented paddlers."

Don't miss this one.  It looks to be worth the trip.

http://www.oabidetroit.com/#!paddlerama/d1h9j

2017 USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Championships in Clermont for First Time

ORLANDO (August 9, 2016) – The Central Florida Sports Commission, Lake County Economic Development and Tourism, the City of Clermont, and South Florida Canoe Kayak Club have agreed to host the 2017 USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Championships for the very first time in Lake County. The event will take place in 2017 on Lake Minneola at Waterfront Park in Clermont, FL.

 

“We are delighted to welcome USA Canoe/Kayak and their talented competitors to our Central Florida community,” said Jason Siegel, interim president of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “We look forward to working with USA Canoe/Kayak to ensure the success of this important event, as we serve our mission to drive economic development through sports.”

 

The USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint National Championship is projected to attract competitors from all ages across the county. More than 1,000 athletes, coaches, and spectators are expected to converge at Waterfront Park for the four day event.

 

“USA Canoe/Kayak is excited to bring the 2017 Sprint Nationals to Clermont, FL.  We are looking forward to working with the South Florida Canoe Kayak Club to make this national regatta a success for all the athletes, clubs, and the entire Florida paddlesport community,” said Chris Barlow, USA Canoe/Kayak Sprint High Performance Director

 

“South Florida Canoe Kayak Club is thrilled to be partnering with the City of Clermont, Lake County Economic Development and Tourism and the Central Florida Sports Commission to host the 2017 USA Canoe Kayak National Championships,” said Melinda Mack, Executive Director of the South Florida Canoe Kayak Club. “SFCKC has worked with many entities to host racing events over the past 4 years and the Waterfront Park Venue and the people working alongside of us on this project are a true asset; not only to this event, but to the future of growing the sport.  We are confident that the venue will offer an excellent experience to all attendees and the hospitality of our partners will leave a remarkable memory on each person attending that will keep them longing to return in the future.”

 

“Winning this bid is huge for Lake County and Clermont.  Congratulations to Clermont, Lake County and the Central Florida Sports Commission in working together to fulfill the vision for the Clermont Boathouse,” said Commissioner Sean Parks.  “I want to personally extend a warm welcome to all of the canoers and kayakers who will be visiting Lake County and Clermont.”

 

“We are honored and thrilled to be the host city at the 2017 USA Kayak/Canoe Championships,” said Clermont City Manager Darren Gray. “We look forward to welcoming the athletes, coaches and fans with open arms. We celebrate the championship spirit and look forward to making next year’s championships memorable for all involved.”

 

For more information about USA Canoe/Kayak, visit http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Canoe-Kayak or contact Nicole Wright at 407-515-6552 or Nwright@centralfloridasports.org.

 


ABOUT THE CENTRAL FLORIDA SPORTS COMMISSION

The Central Florida Sports Commission pursues marquee and amateur sports events for Central Florida that drive visitors to our region. The Sports Commission represents the City of Orlando as well as Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. In 2015, the Sports Commission’s event calendar featured 77 events that drove more than 234,000 visitors, 196,000 room nights and $131 million in economic impact to the Central Florida region. Anchored by marquee events The American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship and the Copa America Centenario, the Central Florida Sports Commission is projecting to drive nearly 300,000 visitors and $135 million in economic impact in 2016.

 

ABOUT LAKE MINNEOLA AND WATERFRONT PARK

Lake Minneola is the site of many national rowing and triathlon competitions but this will be the first time the USA Canoe Kayak National Championships will be held on its beautiful water and beachfront shores. Waterfront Park includes a bike and hiking trail that is the center of Florida’s Coast-to-Coast Trail, a new, interactive splash park, million-dollar boathouse that is home to canoeing, rowing, sailing and dragon boats; picnic tables, grills, a basketball court, two playgrounds, fishing piers, a preserve, championship disc golf and a chain of lakes.