The 3rd annual Chattajack is in the books and it was another unforgettable day. Tons of paddlers achieved massive bucket list checks, others PR’s and some set course records.
During the week preceding the race the Tennessee river had maintained constant high flows providing a sense of security to many that it would be the easiest year so far for fast times. On race day morning the flow was cut back significantly. When people registering for Chattajack as the question, “How far should I be confident paddling because I know the course goes with the current?”, we respond with, “You need to be able to paddle the full distance as if there were no current, and with possible headwinds.”
Men’s 14’ (New Course Record)
By far the most dominated division of Chattajack each year has been men’s 14’ SUP. This year the division was represented with 68 racers. Before the race most people were fairly confident Olympic gold medalist Larry Cain would take the win but many were still curious how Larry would do on such a long course. Most races Larry competes in are less than a 3rd of the distance of the Chattajack course. Michael Tavares had won the men’s 14’ division for the last 2 years and was another strong contender in this division. Mike had a bit of a scare race day morning when he arrived to the safety meeting and remembered he didn’t have a fin for his board. I’m sure his heart skipped a few beats, thankfully another racer had the exact same fin so Mike was set. The bagpipes blew and the race began with Larry, Mike Tavares, and Jeremy Whitted jumping off in the lead for men’s 14’ SUP. The 3-man draft train lasted until William’s Island at which point Mike and Larry pulled ahead. They continued working together as a team up until mile 25 at which point Larry separated to take a 5-minute lead arriving at the finish line. Huge props to Mike Tavares for riding the lightning for a long distance. First place finisher, Larry Cain (Burlington, Ontario, Canada), shaved 18 minutes off the previous Men’s 14’ SUP course record coming across the finish line in 5hrs 5min. It was a huge honor to have Larry Cain race the Tennessee River Gorge with us this year and we hope he’ll become a regular in the gorge with us. Mike Tavares (Apex, NC) winner of men’s 14’ in 2012 and 2013, was 13 minutes faster than his 2013 time coming in 2nd place with a time of 5hrs 10min. First year Chattajack racer Steve Dullack (Virginia Beach, VA) completed the course 3 minutes behind Tavares with a time of 5hrs 13min. Steve trained super hard for the race this year and in the final stretch of the race was closing the gap between him and Mike.
Men’s SUP 14’
Women’s 12’6” (New Course Record)
Women’s 12’6” this year was represented with 38 racers. Kim Hillhouse (Atlanta, GA) got off to a strong start with the group of leaders in this division but snapped her paddle at mile 10. A 3-person draft train consisting of Karen Wilson, Chandler Bold, and Patricia Miller worked together for the duration of the course. Chandler led the team in the closing stretch towards the finish line but suffered an unexpected fall. Karen Wilson (Kure Beach, NC) seized the opportunity setting a new course record for women’s 12’6” finishing in 6hrs 7min 17sec. Chandler Bold dug super hard to hold second (Mount Pleasant, SC) finished inches off Karen’s tail coming in a second later with 6hrs 7min 19sec. Patricia Miller (Key West, FL) achieved 3rd place with a time of 6hrs 7min 26sec. All 3 women finished within 9 seconds of one another.
Women’s 12’6” SUP
Men’s 12’6” – (New Course Record)
Anthony “Tony” Galang (Bay Village, OH) shaved 2 minutes off the previous course record in the 12’6” division coming across the finish line with a time of 5hrs 48min. Jorge Navarro (Culter Bay, FL) came in 2nd with a time of 5hrs 54 minutes. Two minutes behind in 3rd was Martin Burzynski (Sarasota, FL), with a time of 5hrs 56min. This three man ensemble worked together off and on for much of the race. Jorge suffered a couple falls early in the race but managed to claw his way back to Martin and Tony around mile 20. Eventually Tony pulled away and Jorge and Martin trailed back.
Men’s 12’6” SUP
Men’s Prone – (New Course Record)
The prone division was represented again with 9 proners including the godfather himself, Joe Bark. It’s always the greatest honor to share the day on the water with Joe. Along with Joe were some of the other Bark Team Cali boys including: Reno Caldwell, Chris Aguilar, and Steve Shakiya. There was no drafting and little change of place by these men. Steve Shakiya shot off the finish line like a space rocket. He stopped at the first aid station for water and turned around to see where the rest of the proners were. AJ came around the corner 300 yards back and they both laughed when they saw one another. Steve hit the gas and didn’t let off till Mile 27 the final aid station when he grabbed a final bottle of water. Heading for the finish Steve got baited for the short path through the weeds. At mile 29 Steve had to jump ship and climb/swim through the weed beds. In the end Steve Shakiya (Palos Verdes, CA) shaved 23 minutes off the previous Men’s prone course record finishing with a time of 5hrs 24 min. AJ DeFelippis (Hobe Sound, FL) took 2nd with a time of 5hrs 29min. Both Steve and AJ were newcomers to the race. 2nd year racer, Dan Michluk (Toronto, Canada), crossed in 5hrs 36min. Dan shaved 11 minutes off his winning 2013 race time.
Men’s Prone 2014
Kim Reilly (Osterville, MA) cruised the course in 6hrs 13min exactly the same time she won the division in last year, taking 1st place yet again. Bruce and Sausage were both cheering and awaiting her at the finish. Danielle Goldston (Charleston, SC) came back to Chattajack for round 2 fired up and claimed 2nd with 6hrs 16min, 27 minutes faster than her 2013 completion time. First year Chattajack racer Anya Yurchenko (Shorewood, MN) achieved a 3rd place finish with a time of 6hrs 27 seconds. One Chattajack who raced women’s 12’6” this year has already put her 12’6” up for sale gearing for 14’ next year haha! With that in mind women’s 14’ will probably only get more competitive with folks focusing on distance and efficiency.
Women’s 14’ SUP Podium Finishers 2014
First year Chattajack Joseph Di Chiacchio (Rising Fawn, GA) completed the course in 4hrs 52 minutes to earn a solid 1st place finish in men’s kayak. Joseph was super fired up at the award ceremony so little doubt he’ll be a strong podium contender again in 2015. 3rd year Chattajack veteran Tom Popp (Hixson, TN) claimed 2nd place with a time of 5hrs 5min. Scott Lohman (Lenoir City, TN) held on to 3rd with a finish time of 5hrs 12min.
Men’s Kayak Podium
The top 3 podium finishers in women’s kayak this year were all first year Chattajack racers. In first place was Diana Strange(Hixson, TN) with a time of 5hrs 49 min. In 2nd was Dana Whitmore (Huntsville, AL) crossing in 6hrs 44min, and in 3rd was Angela Lowe(Huntsville, AL) with a time of 7hrs 29min.
Women’s Kayak Podium Finishers 2014
Men’s unlimited had 7 racers on the start line this year. Chris Begg (Boston, MA) took first place on his 18’ with a time of 5hrs 29min. In second was Rob Kavcic (Mississauga, Ontario) with a time of 5hrs 35min. In third was Justin Schaay (Charleston, SC) with a time of 5hrs 44min. All three podium finishers were first year Chattajack racers. David Leach (Santa Rosa Beach, FL) was a strong contender in men’s unlimited until every racer’s worst nightmare came to fruition for him early in the race. His fin came off his board making it impossible to stand on. David was originally registered for men’s 14’ but when Larry Cain registered he decided to switch to unlimited in hopes of pacing Larry for as long as possible.
Men’s Unlimited SUP
2nd year veteran Eric Mims (Isle of Palms, SC) dominated the Men’s surfski division yet again completing the course in 4hrs 8min. Eric has finished the race in 1st place the last 2 years for Men’s surfski. In 2nd place was Richard Carter (Eutawville, SC) with a time of 4hrs 41 min. Michael Shubert (Cleveland, TN) was 1 minute behind Richard crossing the finish with a time of 4hrs 42min for a 3rd place win. The surfski division seemed really stoked on the race this year and it sounds this division will become more and more competitive each year.
Women’s Surfski (New Course Record)
Kata Dismukes (Codova, TN) beat her 2013 time by 15 minutes in women’s surfski finishing in 4hrs 50min. She got some gnarly blisters along the way but surely was worth it.
Kata Dismukes Women’s Surfski
The rowboat manned by Floridians Mark Henkle (Boynton Beach, FL) and Danny Repass (Pompano Beach, FL) blew everyone’s mind with their finish time. Supposedly they had some chaffed butts from sliding back and forth on their seats throughout the gorge. While heading to the finish line they were tempted like many other to take an inside shortcut but soon fell victim to the weeds. They plowed back toward the channel and finished strong with a time of 5hrs 8min.
Rowboat (Mark & Danny)
Another absolute favorite for everyone this year was the father-son, tandem SUP team powered by Dylan and Jason Geiger (Satellite Beach, FL). Dylan, age 11, set his personal goal to beat as many Men’s 14’ SUP racers as possible. After dialing in their stride they maintained a solid pace throughout the entire course pacing just behind the draft train led by Mike Tavares and Larry Cain. They took a short break at mile 15 before hammering to the finish. The two only had one swim during the course when they were re-establishing their groove after their mile 15 break. Jason did a cannonball over the bow haha! Ultimately they finished just behind Larry Cain, an incredible finish. Can only imagine how fired up Dylan is still feeling after doing so well. He received some of the biggest cheers of the night as he summited the podium at the award ceremony. Congrats Dylan!
Tandem SUP (Jason & Dylan)
Paul and Olivia Durrence completed the gorge K-2 this year. Paul is a Chattajack veteran but wanted to share the experience with his daughter Olivia this year, age 10. They styled the gorge crossing the finish in 6hrs 48min. Olivia was all smiles at the finish line and seemed to enjoy the experience as much as her dad. The K-2 division was won by Carol Lee and Joe Royer (Memphis, TN) in a time of 5hrs 54min.
Paul & Olivia Durrence
Solo Youth Racers
Milla Navarro (Cutler Bay, FL), age 15, representing the youth division for a second year in women’s 12’6” lowered her time a full 30 minutes coming across the finish in 6hrs 33min. Jacob Crox (Knoxville, TN), age 15, raced his first Chattajack in men’s 12’6” completing the course in 6hrs 5min.
Jacob & Milla (Youth 2014)
OC-2 (New course record)
Matt Meyers (Mt. Rainer, MD) & Will Rhodes (Mt. Rainer, MD) took 30 minutes off the Chattajack OC-2 record coming across the finish line in 4hrs and 34 minutes. They were the 2nd fastest paddlers across the finish line coming in just after Eric Mim’s (surf ski)
Matt Myers & Will Rhodes OC-2
C-2 (New Course Record)
Ted Burnell (Chattanooga, TN) and Tom Ierardi (Skaneateles, NY) set a new course record for the C-2 division setting the bar an hour faster with a time of 4hrs 54min.
Ted Burnell & Tom Ierardi C-2
PJ Maughon (Clearwater, FL) completed the course in 6hrs 17min. PJ raced Chattajack the inaugural year OC-2.
PJ Maughon OC-1