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Jiffy Wildwater Race

Winter racing on the Tuckaseege River

by Chan Jones
USA Wildwater Junior Team athlete

December 4, 2005 -- Franklin, NC

Jiffy Wildwater Race
Tuckasegee Gorge
4 December 2005
River Level, 1150 cfs

Sunday, racers rolled to register for the annual NRC Jiffy Wildwater race in the Tuckasegee Gorge. Twenty-five paddlers milled about trying to stay warm between the 9:30 A.M. competitorsí meeting and the 11 A.M. start representing all classes, from K-1 Cadet to C-2. There was even a K-2 team! Several of the top NRC slalom athletes were present to race against the usual Wildwater crowd.

The Tuckasegee Gorge, while a less demanding recreational run than the Nantahala, is a much more technical wildwater course. Filled with chutes, fast eddy-lines, tight turns, shallows, not-so-visible rocks, and mysterious ribbons of current through the flats, it makes a great wildwater course that requires a great deal of concentration to run cleanly.

A big thank-you is due to Chris Hipgrave for negotiating guaranteed water releases on the Tuckasegee with Duke Power, river access with Dillsboro River Company and Tuckasegee Outfitters, to Chester Jones, Kathryn Droznek, and Rafel Smolen for starting and timing the race, and to Amy Murphy for photographing the race.

Among the race highlights were:

  • Lauren Ledfordís second place finish to Emily Stein in K-1 Women's class with a time of 35:14 after only a month of training in a Wavehopper.
  • David Jonesís third place K-1 Men's finish after taking a long break from competitive Wildwater racing.
  • Rob Murphy's fourth place K-1 Men's finish despite paddling with a broken finger.
  • Shaun Smith's time of 31:52 his second time in a wildwater C-1 borrowed from John Pinyerd.

Click here to see race photos by Aimee

The next USA Wildwater event is the Chute the Hooch clinic and race on the Chattahoochee at the Powers Ferry Section on January 21st and 22nd. Please see or contact John Pinyerd ( for details.

Nantahala Racing Club
2005 Jiffy Wildwater Race Results
Class/Place Name Time
1 Chris Hipgrave 27:29
2 Chan Jones 27:45
3 David Jones 28:19
4 Rob Murphy 28:43
5 Austin Keiffer 29:01
6 Terry Smith 29:37
7 Bern Collins 30:47
8 Lincoln Williams 31:14
9 Casey Jones 32:47
10 Jeffrey Poe (WH) 32:52
11 Blake Sparks 33:16
12 Zach Bethea (WH) 34:18
K-1 W
1 Emily Stein 32:59
2 Lauren Ledford (WH) 35:14
3 Robin ? (SL) 35:53
4 Gigi Bell (WH) 39:50
1 John Pinyerd 30:49
2 Shaun Smith 31:52
1 Zarnowski/Dr Ben 42:47
1 Bethea/Keiffer 38:22
K-1 (SL)
1 Caleb Bethea 37:21
2 Rick Ianniello 37:25
3 Michal Smolen 39:41