Gorge Downwind Championship --- Chris Hipgrave

Hipgrave Parting the Waters

With incredible scenery, almost guaranteed perfect daily downwind conditions, simple fast shuttles, great organization, abundant support from almost all the industry and a well contested competition … you are probably thinking of somewhere in Hawaii, South Africa or Australia. But no … this is the Gorge Downwind Championships in Hood River, Oregon and it is one of the top downwind destinations on the planet. Because of all these things this awesome event has grown from just 100 participants to a sold out 300 in just one year. Next years cap plans to be 450 and they should have no trouble selling out based on the enthusiastic response of all of those that attend.

Dawid Mocke

We arrived in Hood River while the Canadian Surfski Championships was being contested and therefore had the place to ourselves in addition to solid, reliable conditions. As an east coaster, the Gorge is the highlight of my year and I always learn so much, so getting there early allowed me to get reacquainted with the river and get comfortable in the conditions that in no way resemble those back home. I also got to try some new equipment including the Fenn Glide, Elite S and Epic V10 and to see the unique Revo in action.

As paddlers started filtering into the area the energy of the event builds. Paddlers from New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Hawaii, Tahiti, South Africa, Ibiza, and elsewhere make this truly an international event as does rubbing shoulders with the international legends like the Mocke and Rice brothers, Michele Eray, Teneale Hatton and many others that currently define todays elite class of surfski athlete.

After a week of what was more fun than serious training, it was race day. Conditions were predicted to be solid although the gorge never really filled in, meaning it was going to be a grind for a good chunk of the race. The race would cover 13 miles downwind with 4 starts. The mens ski start would be last with 130 male athletes packed into the cove at Home Valley.

Dawid Mocke

I dropped into the pack far right directly behind Jasper and David Mocke. I figured they knew what they were doing so it would be as good a place as any. As soon as the start horn blew the sheltered bay at Home Valley exploded with water as everyone sprinted for the hot spot all the way across the river on the Oregon side. It took us about 4 minutes to cross the river with good swells coming in at our right quarter. There was one person flipped at the buoy when I got there and lots of bracing going on elsewhere. Sean Rice handily took the hot spot with the other elite paddlers lined up behind.

The next 8km were great downwind conditions with really fun rides you could link up and enjoy. Sprint. Relax. Sprint. Relax. It felt so good to be cruising up stream and downwind in these great conditions. Sadly, somewhere west of Drano Lake, the awesome conditions ended and it became a bit of a grind all the way to the finish. Along the way my race also fell to pieces, finishing side by side with my good friend, Maurizio from Italy, but still pumped to have had such a great week with such an amazing field of friends and athletes. Some of these guys make it look really easy and there is so much to learn from them.

Kenny Rice

The team organizing the Gorge Downwind Championships was led by Carter Johnson and they really poured their heart and soul into making this a successful event. All the internationals seemed to really enjoy the location and conditions so I’m confident that this event will sell out all 450 spots next year. I’ll be there for sure.

Gorge Downwind Porn---Nicholas Cryder

With paddlers convening at the Gorge for the pending World Surfski Series race, video is starting to trickle out as conditions are ramping up.

Latest installment has Washington's Nicholas Cryder putting the work in.  Nicholas reports that 40 mph winds were forecast and that the Gorge is pumping.

Have a taste here and visit Nick's site for more...

http://www.fasterfarther.com/#home

Palmetto Paddle Race---R. Dismukes

Ralph Dismukes

The inaugural Palmetto Paddle Race, hosted by the Palmetto Paddle Club took place this past July 9th, in Charleston, South Carolina.  We arrived on Saturday morning to find a very enthusiastic volunteer group, who guided us into the boat drop and gave clear and accurate instructions on what to expect next.  I have to say that for their first race, the organization gets an A+ for running a well-oiled machine.  

 

We had the mandatory race meeting promptly at 8:30 and received our instructions.  Afterward, the 8 milers headed directly to the dock to mount our boats and hit the water.  We would be traveling out towards the mouth of the harbor, while the 3-mile racers started 15 minutes later and headed up the Ashley river.  The race staff helped carry boats and held them still while we mounted our craft from the low boat dock.  It was the perfect launch for an exciting venue.  

Andy McMarlin

 

At just after 9 AM the race was staged to start with  local paddlers like Eric Mims,  Laurens Willard, Andrew McMarlin and the two Epic Doubles with Waylon Willis/Bruce Poacher and Morgan House/Joe Vinson teams as well as Kata and many other strong paddlers at the front and in the mix ready to go.  

Waylon and Bruce

 

The start was sounded and off the fast paddlers went in a scurry. The two doubles teams immediately moved to the front with Eric Mims, Laurens Willard, Andrew McMarlin, Kata Dismukes and Mark Volkmann all quickly set themselves apart from the rest of us.  The water was calm at the start and immediately started building as the pending storm moved into the area.   The race went down the Ashley river for several miles and then out into the open harbor towards a distant lighthouse.   I encountered the leaders around the 5-mile mark and witnessed team Epics Waylon Willis and Bruce Poacher leading with Eric Mims approximately 20 meters back.   Joe Vinson and Morgan house were another 50 yards back and then there was a measurable gap to the next boats.  Minutes later several boats including my wife Kata’s came by and went off into the distance back towards the Charleston Battery wall.  In the end, The epic double prevailed and finished the 8-mile race just over an hour.  Eric finished at 1:02 with Kata the first female at 1:12.   The remainder of the racers all worked hard to get back and beat the looming pop up lightening storm.  

Mims

Kata

 

All the racers returned under their own power but one.  You guessed it,  I was the DNF.  I bit off more than I could chew and learned a valuable lesson.  My race was not flawless but a great experience none-the-less.  I headed out after the main pack and quickly realized that all the extra movement coming off the battery wall really taxed my strength quickly.  My arms felt like lead and eventually I fell in at the 1.5-mile mark with a rogue wave and quickly remounted and continued my journey.   I began wondering if I should turn back or continue my adventure.  I decided to keep going only because I was in close proximity with a 6 man row boat and I knew if I fell out and could not continue they would have room for another weary paddler.  

 

At about the 3 mile mark I encountered  my next challenge, when two large passenger tourist boats went by, sending some pretty large waves and eddy currents my way.  I kept going and finally made the turn in significant side waves and a good bit of wind.  

 

I barely made the turn and followed Jeremy Whitted on his 14-foot paddle board.  He was the only person in close range as I did my best to stay with him.  As we reached the battery wall I put my head down and decided I had had enough of this massive core workout and I passed him and tried to make my run to the finish.  For the next two miles, the water continued to build into a mess that closely resembled a double black diamond ski run.  I was in water moguls with no clue how to approach it.  I kept on paddling and hoped I would eventually emerge on the bunny slope but instead I was hit by 3-4 foot waves now coming at  me from 45 degrees and from the back as well.  I tried to turn with the wave and ride it into the Battery but only made it a good ten feet before I tipped over and fell out 75 feet from the wall.  I was tired and really not liking the swim in the same water I saw a 6-7 foot bull shark pulled from the day before. I had a case of clapotis and no antidote.   

Smile

 

Jeremy had to course correct and go around as I floundered in the water.   I got back in my boat, but due to the refractory waves of the Battery, quickly fell out again.  I went through this routine several more times and each time I got back in with paddle at the ready, I would be hit by the next wave and subsequently, fall back in.  

 

I was now very tired and starting to get a little concerned with my never ending remount lesson.  I looked over my shoulder and saw the friendly harbor police waving to see if I was okay.  At this point,I was tired and worried so I waved them over and got on board.  We picked up my boat and waited while they investigated a bridge jumper call.  They offered water,  asked a good number of questions about the boat and were very encouraging of my multiple remounts that they witnessed.   I looked out over the area I fell in and watched a paddler in a rainbow HUKI OC1 as he fell over 4 times and had to remount.  I realized if he was swimming then I could live with my choice.  

Always good to have out there


Motoring back in with the police I met my frantic wife at the dock.  She did not see me on the boat but heard the familiar family whistle and knew it was all normal again.  I took my boat off and did my 100-yard walk of shame, shared my story with Kata and returned to the car tired and hot.  I needed a less tippy boat for this trip and learned stability issues can quickly lead to fatigue and mistakes.  I probably need a second wider, easier to remount boat for the ocean.  In all, it was a great race, great day and great life experience.  I will return in September and try it again.  Thanks Palmetto Paddle Club for a great race and for making a new fan of the Charleston area.  

Great Trip

Mims Prevails at Blackburn

Impens, Mims, Lesher

Eric Mims notched another win this Saturday after winning the much-vaunted Blackburn Challenge race at Cape Ann Massachusets with a time of 2:47.45 .  The open ocean race win comes against a strong field of mostly northeast paddlers.  Greg Lesher finished the twenty-mile circumnavigation of Cape Ann close behind at 39 seconds back.  Craig Impens, showing strong form, surged in at the end to finish third at 2:18 off the leaders pace.

 Mims has also been showing excellent form throughout 2016 and appears to be steadily improving as the year moves along.

Mary Beth Gangloff finished first in the women's category with Justin Rawley in at second. 

Bruce Poacher and Waylon Willis finished first in doubles, with Joe Shaw and Kurt Kuehnel nipping at their stern just 38 seconds back.  Jim Hoffman and Steve Delgaudio rounded out the top three.

The well-attended long-standing race has in the past given competitors a variety of conditions to contend with come race-day.  This year's addition brought the heat and smaller conditions than the 2015 edition.  

http://www.blackburnchallenge.com/Blackburn.html

  

Canadian Surfski Championships 2016

Under stunning grey skies, and against a majestic mountain background, the Canadian Surfski Championships ran on Saturday, July 16.  Although there were some bumps, it was mostly a flat paddle for 21 kms.

Jasper Mocke was off the front at the start, but Sean Rice surged to take the Think Hotspot.  Teneale Hatton took the Hotspot for the women.

Race start -- Jasper Mocke out in front

Sean Rice takes the Think Hotspot

The race was dominated by all the boys from Fish Hoek with Dawid Mocke taking the win.  Jasper Mocke came in 2nd; Kenny Rice bested his older brother to take 3rd, Sean Rice took 4th, and Mackenzie Hynard rounded out the top five in 5th.  Senior Master Greg Barton took 7th overall.

Dawid Mocke for the Win!

In the women's field, Teneale Hatton took first, followed by Rachel Clarke in 2nd, and Tamlyn Bohm in 3rd.

Teneale Hatton

Rachel Clarke

Complete results can be found here.

Big River Video Teaser

Racing in the South has it's own unique flavor, and the Big River Race in Baton Rouge, Louisiana exemplifies these southern characteristics better than any.

The  thirteen-mile blitz down the Mississippi is followed by one of the best post-race parties in the business with live music, barbeque and vendors, all on the grounds of the largest Casino in the area.

This is one of those races where every detail is taken care of---right down to the boat assistance at take-out and cool wet lavender hand towels furnished at the finish.

The race directors go all out for this one, and it's most definitely worth the travel. 

The Big River Race will most likely be the next race to join the ranks of The Chattajack and the Shark Bite Challenge to meteorically rise to the top of paddlers go-to races each year, and with 200 participants last year in only it's third incarnation, the numbers don't lie.

Hill and Mouden Tops at Nelo Summer Challenge

From left: Hill, Mackenzie Hynard and Kenny Rice

With a good downwind, Cory Hill prevailed against a venerated field of top paddlers at this past weekend's Nelo Summer Challenge. 

Jasper and Dawid Mocke

Dawid Mocke followed in at 47 seconds back with Mark Anderson in at third.  Sean Rice and Jasper Mocke took fourth and fifth respectively.

OC

Oscar Chalupsky showed why he continues to be a force in a good downwind, finishing a solid sixth, just under three minutes off the top spot.

Sean Rice

Frenchman Leroux Benoit came in at seventh followed by U-23 World Champion Mackenzie Hynard, Sam Norton and Kenny Rice rounding out the top ten.

Angie Mouden

In the women's race, France's Angie Mouden showed excellent form,just getting by the perennially tough former World Champion and Olympian Michele Eray at less than a half of a second ahead. 

Michele Eray

Sara Rafael (Portugal) dropped in at third.  

North America is the next stop on the World Surfski Series as the Gorge Downwind and Canadian Championships will host the world's best paddlers. 

Mark Anderson

Upcoming. Mere Mortals Race---Suwannee River, Florida

Conceived as a response to the USCA Marathon Nationals. The Mere Mortals Race was born as a way to offer regional athletes an option while elite athletes travel up for the Marathons.  

The race takes place on the beautiful Suwannee River in North Central Florida.  Course options include 3, 6 and 12-mile routes. 

Director William Schaet is on his third year at the helm since taking over for Larry Fredericks and has puposefully kept the low-key and accessible for all.

Cost is an outrageously low $10, but the better deal is to sign on as a member of the Florida Competition Paddlers Association and receive a monthly newsletter and free admission to all twelve of the yearly events they sponsor for---$10! 

Camping options are located on site at the Suwannee River State Park. Sites should remain available through race day. 

Afterwards, stay for a low-key cookout and explore the surrounding park.

From the Website:

"When all the champions and professionals are preparing for, and traveling to, the US Nationals, the only folks left are us MERE MORTALS. This race is for everyone; young and old, fast and slow, stand-up and sit-down. There is plenty of water to float your boat without risking damage to your investment.

Hosted at Suwannee River State Park by Will Schaet, Jim Connell and the Florida Competition Paddlers Association. This race is for both recreational and competitive paddlers in canoes, kayaks, surf-skis, OCs, and SUPs. There will be three distances: 3 mile, 6 mile and 12 mile. All but the 3 mile will paddle on both the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers. 

We will start and finish at the boat ramp at Suwannee River State Park just outside Live Oak, FL. Registration begins at 8:30 AM and the race will start at 10:00 AM. Registration fee is $10.00 for non-FCPA members.

We will have a hot dog and burger cook-out after the race where we will hand out the awards.

Contact Will at william.schaet@bartonmalow.com to pre-register and for more details."

https://paddleguru.com/races/MereMortalsPaddlingRace

https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Suwannee-River

Mauritius---McGregor Notches Another Win

Hank McGregor keeps his winning streak alive as he has now bagged his second consecutive win today at the Investic Mauritius Ocean Classic.

McGregor has now taken home the hardware for Molokai, Durban, Mauritius and river race the Highveld Croc (with Jasper Mocke) and the South African Marathon Championships.

Dawid Mocke

Dawid Mocke was close to McGregor when a large wave caused Dawid to part ways with his boat. The mishap cost him deeply, as the elder Mocke fell back to 13th place at the finish.  Cory Hill finished second followed by burgeoning SUP paddler Michael Booth in at third.  

Jasper Mocke was in at fourth and Barry Lewin finished strongly at fifth.  

Matt Bouman, KyleFridenstein, Oscar Chalupsky, Dean Gardiner and Mark Anderson completed the top 10 spots respectively.  

Wendy Reyntjes took the honors for the women with Michelle Burn and Hayley Nixon in at second and third.

Full Results:

1 Hank Mc Gregor 68.46
2 Cory Hill 69.43
3 Michael Booth 70.18
4 Jasper Mocke 71.30
5 Barry Lewin 71.57
6 Matt Bowman 72.20
7 Kyle Fridenstein 72.39
8 Oscar Chalupsky 72.44
9 Dean Gardiner 74.33
10 Mark Anderson 74.57
11 Herman Chalupsky 75.12
12 Joshua Fenn 75.23
13 Dawid Mocke 76.09
14 Oliver Burn 77.29
15 Steve Woods 77.51
16 Shaun Austin 80.26
17 Kurt Tutt 80.54
18 Brendon Thomson 81.08
19 Oskar Stileau 81.38
20 John Jacoby 82.10
21 Wendy Reyntjes 82.41
22 Michelle Burn 83.02
23 Keith Fenn 84.02
24 Keithley Burn 84.10
25 Jayme Thomson 84.33
26 Michael Mckeogh 84.39
27 Tim Fitzsimmons 84.44
28 Anthony Scott Deveril 85.00
29 Hayley Nixon 85.19
30 Michael Shwan 85.25
31 Colin Simpkins 85.33
32 Hein Van Rooyen & Natalie Goedhals 86.11
33 Simon de Speville 86.26
34 Nikki Mocke 86.34
35 Jenna Ward 86.52
36 Brendin Currin 86.58
37 Richard Allen 87.08
38 Paul Vernedet 87.48
39 Ian Carl Marais 88.20
40 Travis Smith & Jordan Fenn 88.32
41 Laurence Webber 90.19
42 Dale Jackson 90.35
43 Gael Brain 91.43
44 Tayne Thomson 91.48
45 Luke Van Es 92.10
46 Eric Leuch 92.22
47 Robert Buckley 92.56
48 David Griffen 93.14
49 Grant Walker 98.15
50 Tony Lubner 93.56
51 Murray Walters 94.12
52 Jason Northwood 94.13
53 David & Rachel Symington 94.43
54 Christopher Bartlett 94.50
55 Sharon Armstrong 96.15
56 Martin Robinson 95.46
57 Robert Stevenson 96.19
58 Alain Teurquetil 99.40
59 Tricia Gilbert 100.27
60 Barry Lewis 100.30
61 Barry Ashwin 100.43
62 Justin Ryan 101.06
63 Jean von Loggenberg 101.44
64 Greg Slingerland 102.27
65 Andrew Au 102.44
66 Craig Mc Kenzie 102.54
67 Ryan Butcher 103.03
68 Nicholas Yap 103.32
69 Murray Saul 104.06
70 Bruce Glenday 104.14
71 David Gilmer & Michael Frizelle 104.20
72 Douglas Florence 104.44
73 Johan de Bryn 105.28
74 Bernard Fisher 107.18
75 Neil Kirkwood 110.09
76 Roger Buck 122.48
77 Andrew Mc Farlane 124.28
78 Robert Wallwork 125.57
79 Richard Vennicker 126.09
80 Kate Fitzsimmons 127.54
81 Danela Ashwin 129.16
82 Tony Balshaw 131.47
83 Nicole Russel WITHDRAW

Palmetto Paddle---New Beginning

The first annual Palmetto Paddle is set to step up on July 9th and fill the void left by the Charleston Patriot Challenge.  This will actually be the second race in the area, as C-Town also has the popular SUP race-The Chucktown Showdown arriving in September.

Unlike the Showdown however,  The Palmetto Paddle appears to be targeting more of a variety of paddlers including double bladed, OC and SUP alike.  

The race is being hosted by the Charleston Paddle club. which actively promotes fellowship, fitness and racing as the best way to experience the unique waterways surrounding the historic city.

Many different paddling choices as well as locals willing to offer suggestions---Mark McKenzie -Elite Ocean Sports

There will be a three and eight-mile option, with the former to head up the Ashley River and the latter traversing through the harbor.  

Don't let the harbor fool you into believing it will be flat, it can get dicey at times. Downwinds may be unlikely, but with heavy boat traffic, winds and a path near the battery (The Refractory) you'll want to bring a good balance game. Racing aside, Charleston is an absolutely beautiful city, steeped in history. You'll find plenty of culinary treasures and attractions.  

Fort Sumter

 

Additionally, the area is surrounded with an array of paddling opportunities---ranging from tight tidal marshes to inner harbor attractions such as Fort Sumter and Patriot Point, blackwater swamps and top-tier downwinds off the coast. And, with Elite Ocean Sports, Epic Kayaks and several outfitters headquartered there, visiting surfskiers definitely have options for partnering with locals in the know.    

Eric Mims-Epic Kayaks out on one of the sandbars

 

http://www.palmettopaddle.com/

Chickasawhay Race---Doing It Right On The River-Kata Dismukes

Overall Winners Richard Carter and Kata Dismukes

You know you've got something good when participants leave with a smile on their face.  The organizers of the Great Chickasawhay Race can put a check in that box after the second running of their event this Saturday.

You know the saying, "Money Talks, and...", --- well, Race Director Drew Walker made sure that his event had plenty to say, as overall winners in male AND female categories took home an extra $1000 as well as a bevy of excellent prizes.  Even the Mayor of the town was on hand.    

Racers start in Mississippi, from there they traverse 21.5 miles with the gentle current of the Chickasawhay River, finishing in Waynesboro, MS.  

Water levels ran low this year, making it even more important to pay close attention to line choice as paddlers would have to keep a steady read on the river at all times, or face the potential for debilitating boat damage.  

Kata on a river optimized ski with overstern rudder.

In spite of these low water levels and otherwise seeming out of element,  the surfski continues to be the craft of choice for the leaders in these river races.

Here is the race recap from female overall winner Kata Dismukes:

The race started about a quarter of a mile from the drop in. According to the locals, the water level was lower than last year.  The level ranged from being stuck on sandbars to 2-feet-deep. About half of the race was in very shallow water---about 6 inches. A few areas had rapids. The river ran about a two miles per hour current, which doesn't feel like much when you are in 6" of water and your boat feels like it has a parachute tied to the back.  There were a lot of biting yellow flies. We were warned about them prior to the race. The scenery was beautiful and made us forget about the flies. 

Shane Kleynhans

It was 5 of us up front: Richard Carter, Jeb Berry, Shane Kleynhans and another paddler.  I didn't get his name.  About six miles in, Richard, Jeb, Shane, and the other guy pulled away. It took me five additional miles of pushing hard to catch back up. Richard, Jeb and Shane stayed up front. There was an aid station at the halfway point. Locals were on the river at different points.  Most of the access point to the rivers were on private property. The locals were insanely friendly down there. The local mayor was on hand giving out the awards. 

Kudos to Drew Walker and all who made this event a great success. Future editions of the Chickasawhay Race are sure to be bright.

Carter

Photo Credits: Laurie Kleynhans and Ralph Dismukes

Mcgregor and Russell Win In Durban

Mcgregor Strolling to Victory

The Hank Mcgregor show keeps rolling--- as he is showing no signs of letting up during his 2016 campaign.  The 38-year-old South African finished the 26 Km course in 1:44.50, one minute and four seconds ahead of second-place finisher Matt Bouman.  Aussie Mark Anderson followed at third; in at 1:48.54.

The win is the first for Mcgregor in the Durban race, who missed the top spot in his previous attempt.  The feat is made more impressive as he had to overcome an illness that put the paddlers participation in the race in question up until the eleventh hour.

Nikki Russell

Nikki Russell took top honors among the women, finishing at 2:01.32.  Hayley Nixon took second at 2:02.05 with Anna Clifford-Arwidi in at 2:27.49 for third. 

Conditions were generally mild and flat, providing a strenuous day at the office for competitors.   

Mild Conditions

Double Header Weekend

This weekend two World Surfski Series races will share top billing as both will occur in the South African conference.

The FNB Durban Downwind and Mauritius Ocean Classic will draw out top paddlers looking to notch a 2016 win.

The 26 KM Durban Downwind will start in La Mercy and finish at the Marine Surf Lifesaving Club.  Race director Barry Lewin arranged the event to utilize a two-day window in order to take advantage of the best conditions. 

The start appears to have been chosen with the following statement released from the director today:

Race Director Barry Lewin Making the Call

FNB Durban Downwind Race Announcement

"We are looking to hold the world series race in the best conditions over the 2 days this weekend. The weather forecast is for a light east on both days, with Sunday being the better of the 2, so the race director has made the call we will be racing on SUNDAY.

The race will not be an early start, we will be waiting for the wind later in the day with a 1pm start in what we believe will be the best wind for the day."

The Mauritius Ocean Classic will be back for it's 8th edition in 2016.  The event often features big conditions including a finish through the break at Le Moyne.  

Organizers have announced a few changes this year:

" We are pleased to announce the 8th edition of the Mauritius Ocean Classic, a race which forms part of the World Surf Ski Series. This race has already established itself as one of the best downwind courses in the World Series and also as a fantastic week of surf skiing which should not be missed!

We have introduced some exciting changes to the programme – A Hot Spot dice, a new format for the FTL Sporty’s team race, more downwinds and more coaching opportunities, an official MOC Insider race from Tamassa to Le Morne, age category rewards in the two main races and some “Lucky” opportunities to paddle in the back of a Double with a Champion."

Have a look at last years footage:

Featured Race---South Florida Surfcraft Challenge

The South Florida Surfcraft Challenge offers Ocean Racing with distances of six or twelve miles on a course viewable from the Hollywood Broadwalk. Paddlers may compete on Outrigger Canoe, Prone Paddleboard, Stand Up Paddleboard, Surfboat and Surfski. All race proceeds go to the Hollywood Beach Competition Team equipment fund, a 501(c)(3) supporting lifeguard sports. Registration through Paddle Guru.

Geoff Pearson, one of the organizers explains:  

The race is run by the Hollywood Florida Ocean Rescue competition team. Proceeds of the event will be used to purchase surfskis for junior and adult paddlers to learn on and compete with. The team is a 501 (c)(3) so this is fundraising for a great cause run by volunteers with little waste. City support is gone and once our donated funds are used up for training, we are still left with ancient surfskis. Our summer Junior program has about 300 kids. Of those, some are invited to join our Junior high performance team that trains all year long. Our adults are professional lifeguards, firemen and police. We try to give the surfski experience to the public when ever possible. to One of our goals is to bring back GREAT surfski racing to South Florida that has been absent since the Finlandia series. There are so many great older ski drivers in South Florida who need a reason to get together and race. What is missing is a young generation to keep our sport progressing. The sport is strong in other parts of the world and was strong here in the 80's and 90's; it can be again.

Find out more about this race on Facebook and register to participate at Paddleguru.

OICK Race Memphis---Willis and Mims take overall

Waylon Willis and Eric Mims

Another great turnout for the Outdoor Incorporated Memphis Canoe and Kayak race this past weekend as 200 paddlers of all craft and abilities showed up to tow the line.

Compared to the previous year, the Mississippi was running low, resulting a mixed bag effect for the racers--- a slower assist from the current, but less trees and boat sucking swirling eddies to contend with.

I haven't had a great a deal of experience with The Mississippi River, but watching a full-size tree get sucked down into a mini maelstrom last year, only to disappear and NOT pop back up left a lasting impression on me. 

I was grateful that conditions were a bit more manageable this year.

The race, is one of the most efficiently run I have ever encountered.  Director Joe Royer has done a magnificent job of keeping everything running properly and on a tight schedule.  No small feat when taking into account the spectrum of paddlers showing up to take part.

The beauty of a race like OICK is that it brings together an assortment of people taking part---from fist timers in Wal-Mart sit-on-tops, to a duo dressed as the Blues Brothers piloting an Aluminum Canoe all the way to former Olympians, they are represented here.  

When the gun went off, the usual suspects spanked their way down the river in a hurry.  Mike Herbert took the hole shot with Eric Mims and Waylon Willis paddling a V10 double keeping pace.  A chase group consisting of Rick Carter, Elmore Holmes, Kata Dismukes, Shane Kleynhans and the ever-strengthening Pellerin triplets coalesced behind and punched the pace up in pursuit.

Behind the chase group, the others were strung out in a single file line with pockets of paddlers working together. 

Mike Herbert---First Solo Kayak

Approaching the bridge before the turn into the final quarter mile, Mims and Willis put in a dig on Herbert to test the Olympians mettle and gauge whether they could break away.  Their press gave them a gap that they were able to hang onto and widen; finishing the 3.2 mile course in first place overall with a time of 17 minutes and 19 seconds.  Herbert followed as the top solo paddler in 17.43.  

The Pellerin triplets came in at third, with Rick Carter fourth, Shane Kleynhans fifth and Kata Dismukes sixth.

Full Results here:  http://racesonline.com/events/outdoors-inc-canoe-and-kayak-race/results/2016?utf8=%E2%9C%93&category_id=&gender=&search_term_display=&commit=Search

 

Live Music Afterward

Viktoria Schwarz Hurt in Fall

2011 K2 500 Meter World Champion Viktoria Schwarz sustained a fractured shoulder, nose and heel in a  20-foot fall from a balcony in Austria.

Schwarz reported that the fall occurred while sleepwalking.

She will be able to return to training, but will miss the European Championships later in June.

Source:  http://sportnet.at/home/sportmix/rio2016/5022179/Schock-fur-KanuBeauty_Bei-Schlafwandeln-sieben-Meter-abgesturzt