Epic Missouri River Shootout ---Braxton Carter

The Epic Shootout is one of the many races included in the Midwest Paddle Racing series based out of Missouri. It is a 51 mile race from Kansas City to Lexington, MO. Each year the weather has been very contradictory, ranging from low temps, to snow, to temps in the 80's. To highlight, the 2015 race started off with the sun shining but quickly turned into a thunderstorm with heavy rain coming down a mere 10 minutes into the race. This is the first big race of the season for most Midwest racers so the weather and distance are a nice combination to kick off the season.


The 2016 Epic Shootout is one for the record books. Not only was the race spectacular, but the weather made for one of the best years yet. Friday night a few folks and myself went for a short paddle upriver covering part of the course. Some debris was making its way down as a result of heavy rain up north.


When Saturday morning rolled around, I was very eager to enjoy the race having dropped out 10 miles from the finish the year prior due to thunder, lightning, and heavy rain pushing me to initial symptoms of hypothermia. This was a year for personal redemption and to a victory for completing this 51-mile segment of the Missouri River between Kansas City, MO and Lexington, MO.


When 9 am rolled around, the racers, friends, and family were all scrambling to get boats down to the water for a 9:15am start. I quickly made my way down to get on the water to allow time to get a few warm up strokes in and continue mingling with a few others on the water. As always, it was rather amazing to see 75 racers in 48 boats and SUP boards successfully be on the water ready to go in the 15 minute goal to be on the water.


The gun went off as scheduled at 9:15am. I took off quick to beat the crowd to the point a half mile down the Kansas River where it converges with the Missouri and to avoid the wash stirred up by the mass of boats. As usual, the quickest solo paddlers and tandem teams were ahead of me within seconds and making their way onto the Missouri River, vanishing around the bend in the River. This was the first race of the season for me so I knew better than to try to keep up with them so I held my pace maintaining 8th place for the first chunk of the race.


I was within a short distance of the 6th and 7th place paddlers who gradually pulled away from me as we hit the half way mark. I tried picking up my pace to gain ground on the 7th place position again but wound up burning myself out a bit as they continued pulling away not realizing the 9th and 10th place overall positions were closing in on me.


Temps climbed quickly into the 60s, and moved into the 70's and 80's as the race progressed into the afternoon. The light headwinds were very welcoming as it helped cool me down as I reached the 40-mile mark when 7th place was now a dot along the shoreline with consistent flickers of sun bouncing off the paddle blades. At this time Tom Selva and Doug Robinett cruised up along my side. I was at the point of getting tired but was intent on not giving up my position as I had already with those ahead of me. I kept pace with the two of them for a couple miles before Tom Selva pulled away from Doug and I. Doug tried to pull away and catch Tom but we were left behind in a hurry as he soon put time on us and caught Eric Sutter in 7th place overall.


Doug managed to gain quite a bit of ground on me as we were about 3 miles from the finish line. Doug and I have raced together several times and we've always been close enough to one another to keep pushing and battling until the end. At this point it was to claim 10th or 11th place overall. I picked up the pace enough to gradually close the gap and yet conserve enough to leave myself with a final boost of energy at the end. Doug had no idea I was still behind him, let alone closing the gap to a mere hundred yards coming into the last mile of the race. I made a final push and pulled up next to him within a couple hundred yards of the shoreline. "Ready for a sprint?" I asked as the nose of my boat pulled up within his peripheral vision startling him. His response "Oh crap" ensured me he had no clue I was there and he sounded exhausted. I started turning my blade as fast as my arms could go pulling away from him at full speed for the shoreline. I was relieved as my boat nose reached shore and I swung a foot over the side touching the ramp.


Doug and I have had a friendly battle going the past couple years since the South Dakota Kayak Challenge in 2013 when I beat him in the last couple hundred yards pulling into the finish. Over the past couple years, he returned the favor beating me in a few races in the last couple miles including the Chattajack in 2015.


I waited at the shoreline as Doug pulled up next to me to give him grief and to thank him for once again being there to push me for what I felt is one of my best races since I started paddling a surf ski in the summer of 2014. We made our way up from the shoreline only to learn that there was some confusion on what the actual finish line was...touching shore or an imaginary line across the river.


When the final results were posted, we learned that it was an imaginary line across the river and it literally came down to inches between Doug's boat beating mine across the finish line.


Despite Doug's continued success of beating me to the finish, it was a phenomenal race. I finished in just over 5 hours in 11th place overall. My 11th place time still beat the previous overall record on the course while Dylan McHardy and Shorty (Jim) Short set a new overall course record being 28 minutes ahead of me in a tandem kayak and the first place solo boat was only 18 minutes ahead of where I finished. I averaged 9.8 mph which was a huge personal success knowing my winter training paid off and put me that much closer to the leaders.

Solo winner---Joe Mann

Solo winner---Joe Mann


The race couldn't have been any better! Temps in the 80s, the sun shining the whole day and seeing several good friends for the first time this year being the first big race of the season.


Full results and the roster can be viewed at www.midwestpaddleracing.com

Photos: Ellen Robinett

USA Paddler Profile---Maggie Hogan

Event/Discipline: Canoe Sprint, K1 and K2
Birthdate: 1/1/1979
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hometown: Huntington Beach, California
Current Residence: Huntington Beach, California
Height: 5'7"
School: UC Santa Barbara
Club: Oklahoma City Riversport
Twitter: @maggs1179


2016 U.S. Senior National Team and Pan American Championships Team Member

Career Highlights:

  • 2015 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships: 
    • BRONZE in K1 Women 1000m
    • 7th in K1 Women 5000m
    • 9th in K2 500m Final B with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2013 World Cup No. 2: SILVER in K2 Women 1000m, 13th in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2013 World Cup No. 1: BRONZE in K2 Women 1000m, 11th in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2012 World Cup No. 2: SILVER in K2 Women 1000m, 12th in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2012 World Cup No. 1: BRONZE in K2 Women 1000m, 12th in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2010 Pan Am Champion in K1 Women 1000m
  • 14-time National Champion
  • US National Team 2005-present
  • Traveled to Beijing 2008 Olympics as a training partner

Recent Results:

  • 2015 Pan American Games: 
  • 2015 World Cup No. 2
    • 4th in K1 Women 5000m
    • 7th in K1 Women 1000m
    • 13th in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2015 World Cup No. 1: 16th in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2014 World Championships: 16th in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2013 World Championships: 14th in K2 Women 500m, 15th in K2 Women 200m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2013 U.S. National Championships: 3rd in K1 Women 200m, 1st in K1 Women 5000m, 1st in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2013 Lake Placid International: 1st in K2 Women 200m, 1st in K2 Women 500m with Kaitlyn McElroy
  • 2013 U.S. National Team Trials: 1st in K2 Women 500m, 2nd in K1 Women 500m, 3rd in K1 Women 200m
  • 2012 U.S. National Championships: 1st in K1 Women 200m, K1 Women 500m, K1 Women 5000m, K2 Women 200m, K2 Women 500m, K2 Women 1000m
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials: 1st in K2 Women 500m, 2nd in K1 Women 500m, 3rd in K1 Women 200m
  • 2011 Pan American Games: BRONZE in K2 Women 500m
  • 2011 World Championships: 17th in K2 Women 200m, 8th in K2 Women 500m B Final
  • 2011 World Cup No. 3: 7th in K2 Women 1000m Final, 8th in K2 Women 200m B Final, 7th in K2 Women 500m C Final
  • 2011 World Cup No. 2: 3rd in K2 Women 200m B Final, 5th in K1 Women 500m C Final, reached semis of K2 Women 500m
  • 2011 US Sprint Team Trials: 1st in K2 Women500m, 3rd in K1 Women 500m, 6th in K1 Women 200m
  • 5X 2011 National Champion: K1 Women 200m, 500m, and 1000m; K2 Women 200m and 500m (with Ariel Farrar-Wellman)
  • 2011 Lake Placid Invitational: 1st in K1 Women 500m, K2 Women 500m, K1 Women 200m, K2 Women 200m


  • Nickname: "Maggs"
  • Job: OKC Boathouse Employee, among other things
  • Hobbies: surfing, sailing, surfski, travel, a good book, and spending time with my awesome pup Wrecks, and projector movie nights :)
  • Other sports: swam in college
  • How'd you get started? Through surf lifesaving. I was going through San Diego Lifeguard Academy and trying to learn how to surf ski.
  • Who's your hero? My family. Through their sacrifices, I am able to pursue my dreams.

In 2006, she took 3rd in the K1 500m and 2nd in the K1 1000m during the Pan American Games. The next year, she placed 2nd in the K1 500m and K2 500m and won the K4 at the 2007 World Trials. She is coached by Stein Jorgensen. In 2008, Maggie won Silver in K1 1000m in Szeged, Hungary with a time of 00:04:08.584.

Hogan is an all-around athlete in ocean sports. She learned to surfski and is a nine-time champion in surf life saving. She also placed 5th in Iron Women at the 2004 World Championships of surf life saving. Hogan is also one of five women in history to compete the Catalina Classic Paddleboard Race in seven hours.

Maggie Hogan has been on the US National Team in Sprint Kayak since 2005.  Maggie qualified for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing as a Training Partner and now she is training for the 2012 London Games. She has won medals at World Cups and Pan Ams in 2006 and 2010 and has been on on four World Championship Teams for Surf Lifesaving. Maggie just started racing SUP for O'HanaPaddleboards.This is Maggie's second year as a kayak coach.  She has been certified as a "Coach" through USA Canoe Kayak and has just achieved the certification as a "High Performance One Coach." When asked about coaching Maggie states "I love coaching because it offers a positive way for me to give back to the sport, and I get to help the most important people...the next generation of USA Kayakers!" 

Source:  http://www.teamusa.org/usa-canoe-kayak/athletes/maggie-hogan

Featured Race---Paddle Battle, Beaufort South Carolina

Racing in the idyllic marshes of the Low Country

Racing in the idyllic marshes of the Low Country

After last year's debut of the Port Royal Race, Director Bill Gardner has stepped up again to put together another in the Beaufort area (actually two with a second edition following later this year).

This weekend's Paddle Battle will take place during the 61st annual Water Festival.

The weather is looking good and turnout appears solid.



Week in Perspective



Sean Rice finishing on top at Euro Challenge

Sean Rice finishing on top at Euro Challenge

Euro Challenge:  Sean Rice checked his first World Surfski Series win of 2016, winning the Euro Challenge in La Vila Joiosa, Spain.  Walter Bouzan followed Rice in second with Oscar Chalupsky showing good form arriving in at third.        


Surfski News now includes a classifieds section.  Buy/Sell your boat or gear with free posting.     

 Canadian Olympic Sprint Trials are being held this week in Gainesville, Georgia.  The trials will wrap up this weekend.  Emilie Fournou is the first to earn selection after a showdown with Michelle Russell. 

You can keep up with events as they unfold here:   http://canoekayak.ca/

Races occurring this weekend:

The Beaufort Water Festival Paddle Battle will take place in beautiful Beaufort, South Carolina. 7 and 3.5 mile options are available.


Lake Whatcom Classic---Bellingham Washington, will get things going up in the Northwest. 5.5 and 12 mile course options available.     



BLUZ CRUZ 2016 -- Elmore Holmes

Heading down the Mighty Mississippi

Heading down the Mighty Mississippi

The 12th annual Bluz Cruz Canoe and Kayak Race took place on Saturday, April 30.  This event is billed as a 22-mile race, though my GPS measured it on Saturday at about 20.7 miles or 33.4 kilometers.  Most of the race takes place on the Mississippi River downstream of Madison Parish Port, Louisiana; the final mile and a half (2400 meters) or so runs up the Yazoo River to the riverfront at Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Paddling and racing on the Mississippi River includes some of the aspects of flatwater marathon and some of the aspects of surf ski and outrigger racing.  Most racers shy away from using flatwater K1s and C1s because even on the calmest day the river is full of squirrelly currents and boils and even a small whirlpool now and then.  Surf skis are a popular choice, but the Mississippi rarely offers the sort of offshore conditions cherished by hardcore ski enthusiasts: the closest thing to true “downwind” conditions I ever see is the wave train behind an upstream-going barge rig, and barge traffic is typically halted for events like the Bluz Cruz.  So I would characterize Mississippi River racing as a marathon, but one for open-water vessels like surf skis.  I happen to love it.

Elmore Holmes waiting for the gun to go off

Elmore Holmes waiting for the gun to go off

Before this year’s edition I had raced in the Bluz Cruz seven times and won it six times, settling for second place in 2013 when a three-time Olympian named Mike Herbert was entered.  I came to Vicksburg this year hoping to add a seventh victory, but I knew it would be anything but a cakewalk.  My main competition included much the same cast of characters I’d raced against in the Battle On The Bayou race at Ocean Springs back on March 19.  Rick Carter of Eutawville, South Carolina, has proven himself a sturdy nemesis even though he is a relative newcomer to the sport.  The 14-year-old Pellerin triplets (Carson, Conrad, and Peyton) of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, have been steadily improving while racing as a K3, and on Saturday they added veteran marathon racer Tave Lamperez of Lafayette to form a formidable K4.  Brad Rex of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who had raced with a different partner at Ocean Springs, teamed up Saturday with Randy Hargroder of Opelousas, Louisiana, in a fast tandem kayak.

At Ocean Springs I had been beaten by both the Pellerin triplets and Brad and his partner, and had just barely held off Rick.  I had spent most of that race sitting in the pack and trading wake rides, and when the time came to go for it in the late stages, things didn’t quite go my way.  I decided that if I wanted a different result at Vicksburg, I would have to try a different approach.  In short, I resolved to be more aggressive and push the pace.

(From left) Peyton Pellerin, Conrad Pellerin, Tave Lamperez, and Carson Pellerin.  The Pellerins are from Breaux Bridge, LA, and Tave is from Lafayette, LA

(From left) Peyton Pellerin, Conrad Pellerin, Tave Lamperez, and Carson Pellerin.  The Pellerins are from Breaux Bridge, LA, and Tave is from Lafayette, LA

The gun went off and I sprinted hard off the line, just like I'd been training to do in recent weeks.  In short order I sensed the familiar presence of Rick on my stern wake, with Rex/Hargroder just behind him.  It wasn't hard to make them out in my peripheral vision: Rick was paddling a surf ski with a day-glo orange bow, and Brad and Randy were in a bright yellow boat.  I glanced about expecting to see Tave and the Pellerins nearby, but couldn't find them.  I don't know much about the boat they were paddling, but my guess is that it was a more stable (and therefore slower) craft than what I've been seeing the triplets paddle as a K3 lately.  In any case, I assumed they were somewhere in the hunt back there.

I threw in several strong surges in the first couple of miles and managed to break away from my competitors.  I was fully aware that I was taking a gamble, but I reminded myself of the good training I'd done in the month of April and proceeded with confidence.  I was beginning to feel the first signs of fatigue as I rounded the first sharp bend in the river about eight miles (12 km) in, but I was determined to think only positive thoughts and told myself that as long as I kept the boat moving smoothly it would be difficult for the others to run me down.

Overall Female Winner, Denise D'Abundo of Baton Rouge, leading David Waters of Pensacola

Overall Female Winner, Denise D'Abundo of Baton Rouge, leading David Waters of Pensacola

After another sharp bend the river flows straight toward the city of Vicksburg for some seven miles (11 km).  By this time fatigue was settling in for real, and I tried to stay relaxed and paddle as efficiently as possible, using my legs and my torso.  Occasional glances over my shoulder told me that I still had a good lead on those bright-colored boats, but not an insurmountable one if I didn't keep my act together.  I continued to keep my mind occupied with optimistic thoughts: "They're tired too."  "This is the same river I train on all the time, so surely I'm handling this water at least a little bit better than they are."  And so on.  But twinges of doubt were creeping in, too.  Once the course headed up the Yazoo River, my "big river" advantage would be gone and I would be vulnerable to anybody who'd conserved his energy better than I had.

Nick Kinderman of Ocean Springs, who took third in the "K1 Race Men" class

Nick Kinderman of Ocean Springs, who took third in the "K1 Race Men" class

The wind was picking up and I paddled through a couple of kilometers of increasingly choppy water.  At long last I reached the mouth of the Yazoo, and I approached it on a path that I thought would miss the squirrelly shallow water there.  Once off the roiling Mississippi I found I had a bit more left in the tank than I'd expected, and I added some power to my strokes while keeping the stroke rate low overall.  Maybe, just maybe, this was going to work out.  And then...

I saw some day-glo orange over my right shoulder, and at that moment I knew I was in big trouble.  I tried not to overreact, and just keep things steady, but knowing Rick was getting a ride on my stern I threw in a couple of little surges hoping to break free.  That didn't work, so I shifted my priority to keeping him from moving up onto my side wake where he’d be in a better position to sprint for the win.

Rick began to surge with a kilometer to go, and it was pretty clear that he had more left than I did.  I hung in there and paddled as hard as I could, but in the final meters Rick separated himself and beat me by 15 seconds.  Our times were 2 hours, 18 minutes, 31 seconds for Rick and 2:18:46 for me.  The Mississippi was at a rather low stage Saturday—26.9 feet on the Vicksburg gauge—and as a result the times were slow.  My personal record on this course is 1:56:34, in a year when the level was closer to 40 feet.

Brad Rex and Randy Hargroder were just 93 seconds back in taking third place.  Tave Lamperez and the Pellerin triplets took fourth overall with a time of 2:28:15.  The fastest overall female finisher was Denise D'Abundo of Baton Rouge, who clocked 2:55:18.  The complete results are posted here.

Rick Carter, the Overall Winner

Rick Carter, the Overall Winner

Rick was characteristically reluctant to accept the adulation that’s typically heaped upon the overall winner.  "You were robbed, man!” he told me; “You worked twice as hard as I did, and I just hung out back there and stole it from you at the very end!"  But I see it as a perfectly fair-and-square victory for him.  I believe that winning is often simply a matter of being in a position to capitalize when the competition makes a mistake or falters in some way, and that's exactly what Rick did.  Expending your energy wisely is a big part of this game, and it turned out Rick did a better job of that than I did.

Also, I apparently made a mistake at the mouth of the Yazoo even though I didn't realize it at the time, allowing Rick to close the gap significantly.  After the race Rick and Randy and Brad all asked me why I had “gone so wide" while moving from the Mississippi onto the Yazoo.  "Go wide?" I thought; "I didn't go wide!"  But in this sport I've learned that what you see from your boat sometimes looks very different from what people outside your boat see, and maybe at some point I should go back to the mouth of the Yazoo and see if I can figure out why the line I took was so costly.

In any case, my mood was upbeat after the race even though I'd spent the second half of it in fear of being caught from behind and then seen that fear become reality.  My goal was to win the race and I was disappointed, but if I had to get beat I'm glad I got beat as a result of being overly aggressive rather than as a result of being overly timid.  I went out and did exactly what I thought I had to do, and it just didn't quite work out.

In its 12 years of existence, the Bluz Cruz Canoe and Kayak Race has become an important part of the schedule for racers in the Mid South and Gulf South United States.  Stay tuned to www.bluzcruz.com for the 2017 race date.

Photo Credits:  Paul Ingram
Read more from Elmore Holmes here:   http://mytrainingblogbyelmore.blogspot.com/


The Chattajack 31 paddle race has experienced a meteoric rise in popularity since its inception just five years ago.   The race runs the length of the Tennessee River from downtown Chattanooga to Hale's Bar Dam, a distance of approximately 32 miles.  The inaugural race had 37 participants.  Over time the race was opened to more racers.  In 2015, there were 300 spots available; registration took eleven days to sell out.  This year, the race directors, Ben Friberg and Kimberly Sutton, increased the race to 500 racers.  Registration opened at 12:00 a.m. today, May 1.  At just after 4:45 p.m., it was announced that registration was CLOSED for 2016.  500 registrants in less than 24 hours!  

While the break down of the categories has not been announced yet, it appears that there will be a larger surfski field than ever before.  As soon as that information is released, we will update this story.

The Chattajack 31 will be raced on October 22, 2016.

Sprint National Team Trials Update

After two days of racing the smoke has cleared as the final selection for the United States Canoe and Kayak Olympic berth begins to coalesce.

The following have secured a spot to move on to the final phase of Olympic selection occurring at the Pan-American race on May 19/20 at Lake Lanier, Georgia.  

Ian Ross---C1 1000 Meter

Gavin Ross/Ian Ross---C2 1000 Meter

Ben Hefner ---C1 200 Meter

Lydia Sampson/Azusa Murphy ---C2 500 Meter

Farran Smith/Samantha Barlow---K2 500 Meter

Magge Hogan---K1 500 Meter 

Chris Miller---K1 1000 Meter

Chris Miller/Stanton Collins---K2 1000 Meter and K2 200 Meter

Lydia Keefe Sampson---C1 500 Meter

Anja Pierce--- Para Women K1 200 Meter

Nik Miller---Para Men 200 Meter

Tim Hornsby---K1 200 Meter

Emily Wright---K1 200 Meter

Congratulations to all those who have earned victory and cheer to all those who have worked hard and did not make selection.


USA Paddler Profile --- Ian Ross

Event/Discipline: Canoe Sprint, C1 and C2
Hometown: Bethesda, Maryland
Birthdate: 11/18/1992
Height: 6'5"
Club: Washington Canoe Club


2015 U.S. Senior National Team & U23 World Championships Team Member


Top Results:

  • 2013 ICF Canoe Sprint Junior and U23 World Championships: 8th in C1 U23 Men 1000m

Recent Results:

  • 2015 ICF Canoe Sprint and Paracanoe World Championships: 22nd overall in C2 Men 1000m with Gavin Ross
  • 2015 ICF Canoe Sprint Junior and U23 World Championships: 9th in C2 U23 Men 1000m semifinal with Gavin Ross
  • 2015 World Cup No. 2: 9th in C2 200m final, 9th in C2 Men 1000m semifinal with Gavin Ross
  • 2015 World Cup No. 1: 5th in C2 200m final, 9th in C2 Men 1000m semifinal with Gavin Ross
  • 2013 World Championships: 18th in C1 Men 5000m
  • 2013 U.S. National Championships: 2nd in C1 200m, 1st in C1 5000m, 1st in C2 200m, 1st in C2 1000m (with Rob Finlayson)
  • 2013 Lake Placid International: 1st in C1 1000m, C2 1000m (with Ben Hefner), C4 1000m
  • Canada Day Regatta: 1st in C2 200m, 500m, 1000m; 3rd in C1 1000m, 2nd in C1 500m
  • 2013 U.S. National Team Trials in Oklahoma City, Okla.: 1st in C1 1000m, 1st in C2 1000m, 3rd in C1 200m
  • 2012 U.S. National Championships in Seattle, Wash.: 1st in C1 500m, C1 1000m, C1 5000m, C2 500m, C2 1000m, C4 1000m
  • 2012 Bochum U23 International Regatta in Germany: 1 Gold in C2 200m (with Ben Hefner) and 2 Silver in C2 500m & 1000m
  • 2012 World Cup No. 2 in Duisburg, Germany: 18th in C2 1000m, reached semifinals in 200m and 500m
  • 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Oklahoma City, Okla.: 1st in C1 1000m, 3rd in C1 200m
  • 2011 World Championships in Szeged, Hungary: 8th in C4 1000m A Final, 7th in C1 200m B Final, 9th in C1 1000m semifinals, 8th in C2 500m heats

Career Highlights:

  • Three-time 2011 National Champion: C-1 5000m; C-2 500m; C-4 1000m
  • 2011-2013 Senior National Team Member
  • 2010 Pan American Championship Team Member
  • 2009 Junior World Team Member
  • 2012 Jim Terrell award winner for C1 500m



  • Hobbies: Basketball (played Varsity 3 years in high school)
  • Favorite quote"Leave your legacy."
  • How you got started: My parents were high level paddlers, so I was around it my whole life and just started loving it.
  • Role ModelRay Lewis. He dominated the game; and he loved it in a passionate, respectful way.

Source:   http://www.teamusa.org/usa-canoe-kayak/athletes/ian-ross