April 22-23, 2005 -- Nantahala River, Bryson City, NC
The 37th Southeastern US Wildwater Championships, held this year in conjunction with the 7th Annual Intercollegiate
Championships on the Nantahala River, is one of the oldest whitewater races in the United States. Candice Caldwell,
in conjunction with volunteers from Warren Wilson College and volunteers from The Georgia Canoeing Association did
a fabulous job of hosting the race again this year.
With 20+ mile per hour winds and driving show showers, the big story was the weather. Even without these conditions,
the classic top to bottom 8 mile wildwater run is character building as it requires endurance for the long shallow flats
and demands whitewater skills for rapids ranging up to class II-III such as Patton's Run and Nantahala Falls.
This years kayak winner, Maurizio Tognacci of Italy, showed everyone why he is not only the Southeastern US Champion,
but also the Italian Master's champion. Tognacci was stranded on a business trip in Texas earlier in the weekend and
did not arrive back to Atlanta until 2:00 a.m. on race day. Fortunately a friend agreed to drive him to the race
early Sunday morning so he could grab a couple more hours of sleep. Arriving at the putin just prior to the start of
the race, Maurizio literally ran to the start line with his boat. He later said, "I was so intent on getting to race
that I did not even notice how hard it was snowing".
Unfortunately, not everyone is as focused at Maurizio. Only about half of the pre-registered racers braved the wind
and snow. This was especially true in the open boat classes where everyone canceled except Roger Nott, a veteran
paddler and many time winner of the race. The USA Wildwater Team was also well represented with Rob Murphy, Bern
Collins, and John Pinyerd (with Pinyerd winning his 9th "Charlie Patton Award" for being the fasted canoe).
This race has a long and rich tradition with many of the great names of wildwater participating over the years. They
include John Sweet, Payson Kennedy, Alan Button, Dave Mason, John Butler, Angus Morrison, Andy Bridge, Terry White,
Kathy Bolyn, David Jones and Mike Hipsher. USA Wildwater Chairman John Pinyerd continued the tradition of offering a
$100 bounty to any Southeastern's racer who can beat the course records for the 8-mile top to bottom race. Obviously
race day conditions were not conducive for setting records so Pinyerd got to keep his money.
|Wildwater Classic Results|
|C-2Jr||Joel Abrahams & Michael Evans||1:01:42||100.0%||1|
|C-1 Master||John Pinyerd||50:52||100.0%||1||Charlie Patton Award|
|K-1 (Junior & Cadet)|
|K-1 Cadet||Casey Jones||56:00||100.0%||1|
|K-1||Maurizio Tognacci||45:10||100.0%||1||Fastest Kayak Award|
Lincoln Williams, Maurizio Tognacci, Rob Murphy
Wildwater winners and volunteers