2013/2012 Chattajack Summary
Knowing it would only be a matter of time before a standup paddler would go sub-5 hours it happened in 2013. Thomas Maximus (San Clemente, CA) completed the course in 4hr 49min 9sec on his unlimited.
With over 40 racers in men’s 14’ the division was led by a 4-man posse including Mike Tavares, Ed Naggair, Brian Meyers, and Christoper Norman. The draft team switched up quite a bit throughout the course but in the end Mike T was able to break free and sprint to the finish for first place with a time of 5hrs 23min 58sec shaving off 11 minutes from his 2012 time. Despite having a board with 15 extra lbs of water, 20 year Navy Seal veteran Ed Naggair claimed second place in 5hrs 26min 54sec. (Ed Naggiar also humbly received an MTI inflatable lifejacket at the awards ceremony after confessing he suffered more falls/swims than the rest of the athlete pool!) Brian Meyer and Christopher Norman tied for 3rd place with a time of 5hr 29min 30sec.
Martin Burzynski repeated his win in the men’s 12’6” division beating his previous time by over 30 minutes finishing in 5hrs and 50min. Brent Brown and Jeremy Price finished in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
April Zilg and Bernadette were the first two ladies across the finish line in 2013. They were both representing the 12’6” division and finished the course in just over 6 hours and 11 minutes followed by Karen Wilson in 3rd. Kim Reilly, Mary Sheerer, and Kacie Wallace were the top 3 finishers in the women’s 14 division. Kacie Wallace is still the fastest female to complete the course with her 2012 time of 6hrs 9 minutes.
Racers and spectators were honored to share the day with prone paddler Joe Bark. Joe has been in the paddleboard industry for nearly his entire life. Along with Joe; Chris Aguilar, Stephen “Reno” Caldwell, Dan Michaluk, Marc Shen, and Kimberley Sutton set the bar for what prone paddlers can expect during the Chattajack course. Dan Michaluk (Toronto, Canada) left his mark for future prone paddlers with a blazing fast time of 5hr 47min 17sec. Kimberley Sutton had the courage to be the first female paddler to complete the course prone.
Eric Mims set a new Chattajack record for the Mens Surfski. Despite the slow flow and tough headwinds in the second half of the course he was able to finish in 4hr 7min 45sec edging out Chris Hipgrave’s 2012 race time by 20 minutes. It seems it’s only a matter of time before the surfski division begins to go sub-4. Eric Mims has registered for the race again this year. Maybe winds will be more kind and allow the sub-4 possibility. Kata Dismukes shaved more than 30 minutes off the previous course record in the Women’s Surf Ski division with an impressive time of 5 hours 5 minutes. With the right conditions she will probably go sub-5 in 2014.
Kayaker Bil Aylor took no prisoners in the kayak division. Despite the challenging conditions in 2013 his race time of 4hrs 40 min shaved over an hour off the first place kayak time in 2012. Tom Pop came in second with a time of 4hrs 54min. Tom managed to shave almost 2 hours off his 2012 race time. Tom’s daughter Haley Pop knocked the course out in a quick 5hrs 15min.
2013 was the first year juniors took on the gorge. Dalton Jewett finished with a time of 5hrs 56min & Milla Navarro had a time of 7hrs 4min. They both drove home with DJI Phantom quad-copters.
2013 had 3 teams competing in the OC-2 division. Melanie Hoff and Paul Cox took first with a time of 4hrs 38 minutes.
The inaugural Chattajack took place in October 2012. It was comprised of approx. 35 racers. By the end of the weekend everyone was family. In 2013 the number of racers nearly quadrupled with just under 140 racers on the water. The beauty of the gorge and the close family feel of the east coast racing community are one reason for the growth. The community aspect is tight.
The majority of the Chattajack course is a protected natural resource thanks to the efforts of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust. Throughout the course racers find themselves an insignificant ball of energy passing between the 800’ gorge walls with cliffs, trees, and fall colors. Everyone kinda knows each other even though they may not have spent a whole lot of time together before. The paddling family is pulling hard for you and you’re doing the same for them. Prerace folks are sharing information about their personal nutrition strategy, what garments they’re going to wear, personal goals, fears, what vessel/paddle they’re going to use and why. 2014 is shaping to be another great race.