Temperatures were up at Dreher Island State Park’s Paddle Bender race this past weekend and with eighty paddlers and forty surfskis on the line, the competition promised to be fierce. The long course followed two four-mile trips circumnavigating around an island just off from the start line, while the short course completed one trip around.
From the start, Chris Hipgrave (Epic V14) took the holeshot, blitzing forward like a bat out of hell. Eric Mims (Epic GT V14) followed closely behind with Mark Volkmann (Huki S1-X) trailing back in third.
Mims would eventually catch up with Hipgrave and the two would dance for the next few miles close on each others wake. As the race wore on, the heat took it’s toll on Hipgrave, as Mims slowly pulled away and maintained the break until the finish.
He would finish the nearly 8 mile course in a new record 1:00.11. Two seconds faster than his previous record set in 2013. Hipgrave finished second at 1:01.27 while Volkmann held fast at third, coming in 1:02.26.
Rick Carter (Epic V10 GT) finished on the top of a solid Masters category, coming in at 1:04.24, followed by Ted Burnell (Think EVO II) at 1:07.07 and John Mitchell (Epic V10) at 1:08.19.
Kata Dismukes (Epic V10 GT) took the womens top spot with a time of 1:09.37, with Lindsey O’Shea (Vajda Hawx) second at 1:14.24 and Dana Richardson (Epic V10L) in at 1:18.50.
Lynn Marie King (Think EZE elite) took first in womens masters, followed by Karen Vinson (Epic V10) and Wyndy Amerson (Epic V8).