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2010 Chute The Hooch Wildwater Training Camp and Race Wrap-up

by John Pinyerd
USA Canoe/Kayak
Wildwater Committee Chairman

January 25, 2010 -- Marietta, GA

Our forecast for mid sixty degree weather was short lived and we ended up with 50's and rain. Even so, Hot 'Lanta still lived up to its reputation as a great place for winter training and we ended up with 25 participants.

In addition, with the drought of the past two years behind us, the "metro hooch" has come alive with class II+ rapids that offered a challenge.

The coaching at our clinic was "world class." Head coach Maurizio Tognacci (who serves at our Jr Team coach) was assisted by Ben Lowery, JP Bevelaqua, Chris Osment, Chris Hipgrave and Martin Bay. I found Ben's land drills that he uses to help you find your balance and power points to be intriguing. Ben boils it down to what he terms as the Four "P's":

  • Posture the correct upright posture helps with your balance, strength and endurance.
  • Power understanding where you maximize your power and how this applies to your stroke is another key.
  • Paddle How you connect with your paddle to maximize your efficiency, your hand width, and how you grip the paddle are other key factors.
  • Protect your body by not overdoing it.

But in any case, the purpose of the clinic was to focus on improving. Our group of coaches is truly dedicated to helping folks along with the sport and helping them to improve.

Whether it was helping a top flatwater racer like Javier Comelli perfect his near-perfect stroke or helping a new up and comer, the clinic was most useful for everyone. Even a veteran like me learned a huge amount from the video session. Yep, my stroke still needs lots of work!

It was great to see several new faces at this years training camp. Susan Hollingsworth, previously from CO, has moved to Asheville and will be training with the SE crowd on a regular basis. Jim Chaffin continues to develop on flatwater and is dabbling with the idea of wildwater. It was great to see Trish Hipgrave in a boat!!!!!

"Team Popp" is an exciting addition to wildwater in the SE. Haley Popp (K-1W Jr) has made huge strides in the year that she has been paddling wildwater. She stacked up very well in our time trials. In C-2 the Popp brothers (of Bryson and Colton) are coming along nicely. And it's hard to imagine that Serena Popp is still a cadet.

Rob Murphy (K-1) continues to make solid progress. The speed that Rob put on last summer in flatwater is carrying over to wildwater. Carl Moore looked fast and smooth and it was good to see him in the Millennium.

The race was dominated this year by local racers! To add excitement, we did a 3 wave mass start. In the clash of the K-1 titans, former team member Rob Murphy bested the USA Team members (and our coaches). In an effort to try and catch Rob, Chris Hipgrave followed by JP Bevilaqua and Maurizio Tognacci cut a corner that shortened the course by 20-25 seconds. But everyone had been told earlier in the day that we would be training/racing on the normal "low water course" for safety and consistency and warned in the competitor's meeting that failing to run the course that we had agreed to would add a 1 minute penalty to the time.

As a result, David Jones was second overall. This also helped Tierney O'Sullivan (K-1W) beat her coaches. Tierney is holding her speed quite well in spite of college life.

In the canoe class (C-1), I was quite happy just to be able to be paddling easy whitewater again. My rehab from shoulder surgery last July is coming along nicely allowing me to add the whitewater of the Hooch to my training regiment. Chris Osment also turned in a very respectable time in a C-1. It was great to see Kevin Miller back in his C-1.

A couple of other folks that impressed me with their progress were Sean Giuffre who took nearly 3 minutes off his time from last year and Kelly Harbuck who took first in K-1W plastic class. I was also very happy to see Jay Manalo jump in this weekend.

I'm also very grateful to folks like Tom O'Sullivan who helped make the camp possible. The O'Sullivan's opened up their home again for lunch, dinner and video review and for home-stays. Lynn Pinyerd (my wife) was the driving force behind dinner and was happy to also provide home-stays and food.

We could not have pulled this camp without our coaching staff:

    Maurizio Tognacci head coach
  • Ben Lowery kayak coach
  • Chris Osment canoe & kayak coach
  • JP Bevelaqua kayak coach
  • Martin Bay video & canoe coach

As always, this Atlanta clinic was free of charge to participants. Several folks that attended the camp have already passed the hat and kicked in $100 (which we used to offset some of our expenses). Anyone who wishes to help us offset the remaining cost of this camp or help provide for other camps, or to help support coaching, development, and the USA Wildwater Team can make (tax deductible) donations to USA Wildwater:

  • You can now make online donations through our website link to USACK. Make sure you designate them for Wildwater.

  • You can also donate by check. Please make all checks payable to USA Canoe/Kayak and mark the memo field "For Wildwater". You can mail donations to:
    • John Pinyerd, 4781 Karl's Gate Drive, Marietta GA 30068
    • or send them directly to USA Canoe/Kayak (Attention Gerald), 301 S. Tryon St., Suite 1750, Charlotte, NC 28282.


See you next year!!!!

John Pinyerd
USA Wildwater - Chairman