Boater X 2012

3 05 2012

Last spring some time during Wednesday Night Paddle Session an idea was hatched, brought back to life after several great paddle sessions on the local water scene in and around Cleveland Ohio.  How do we share this experience, this river, and all this fun with others? We toyed with the idea of a play date in the Keel Haulers Manifesto, but the stigma surrounding the “dirty” Cuyahoga was ingrained in the old timer’s brains like salmon smelling their home river. So alas we could never collect any more than the young guns. After a great conversation with Michael Duvall on the just as dirty Rocky River I was encouraged to carry out my plan come the spring 2012.

-Chris Wing, H20 Dreams-

The plotting and scheming between Dave Hill, Doug Lyons, Ron Shasteen, and I began to take hold. We decided to hold the race on the Gorge Section based on historic water levels, with a fall back plan of the Sheraton Section in the event of low water.

Fast forward to the spring of 2012, winter had essentially skipped Ohio, along with the early season rains.  Water levels plummeted, the Sheraton was coming in and we were two months ahead of our typical schedule on the loss of paddling water. This was supposed to be an epic spring with Cuyahoga Falls celebrating their Centennial Anniversary with plans to remove the Sheraton and LeFever dams. We anticipated maybe one run at best this season until the demolition of the dams was completed in late July.

It looked like the Fat Cats had stalled a good dam removal project so we used that to our advantage and moved the race to the Sheraton Section.

-Brandon Conrad-

So on Saturday the 28th of April, the 1st Boater X was held on the Cuyahoga River, Sheraton Section.  The event attracted paddlers as far away as the Charlotte White Water Center to Erie, Pa.

Once the course was set up and the racers were briefed on the lines, we set off down the flat water section at the put in to the Sheraton Dam. With 15 boaters strong we hucked the dam and hung out in the starting eddy for the race to begin. Once there we were met up by about 5 other boaters that were already on the course running laps after setting safety.

The race course for the first 5 heats led from the starting eddy down 25 yards of “flat” water into a river right ferry. Once back into the flow racers had to boof a small hole and then it was off to the first 8’ drop; Rookie Drop. Once in the pool below racers paddled downstream a short distance and eddied on river left behind the rock pile and sprinted into the finishing eddy touching the wall in the caldron eddy.

The final race that both long and short boaters qualified for during the previous heats took them past the rock pile eddy for a 20 yard sprint downstream to the final drop at Staircase, a 12 footer or so. Once racers landed in the eddy pool they had a few choices on the lines through the Jumble into the finishing eddy on river left touching shore to earn their final place ranking.

At the sound of a safety whistle the first heat was off and running, and the rest fell into place shortly thereafter. Spectators lined the shored on River Right, and the hotel restaurant. Five heats strong, led into the finial for a long boat and small boat grand finally.

Racers winning titles at the 1st Ohio Boater X Race were:

Long Boat Division

Nathan Craig- who brought sexy back in an old school Lazer from WaveSport

Short Boat Division

Doug Lyons-with a Jackson

Tommy Highberg- with a Riot

Prizes were rather grass roots. The race winners received a few bottles of home brew and nose plugs (don’t worry Doug yours is coming). This event could not have been pulled off without the help of several people. I would like to list a few of them that made it possible, if you’re not on the list I have not forgotten you and I want to say THANK YOU a few more times.

bDave Hill, Andy Heidenreich, Ron Shasteen, Doug Lyons, Tommy Highberg, Michael Duvall for all the help in the pre-planning and a super big thanks to Pat Emmonds, and Pat Guzowski for helping with safety, Really that was huge! Karen Hawley who has probably heard “Boater X” 200,235,000 times in the last week alone, thanks babe.  Dennis Dukeman thanks for the youtube video. The God Father at the Keel Haulers, and Rob Hammond, for without your correspondence I would have been way more confused, and maybe turned into a C-1 boater….Thanks to the Sheraton Hotel, and The Fire House Bar and Grill, for being able to dominate your bar with our after party!

So next season where will you be, catching a beatdown in Big Nasty 3 hours from home, or running the Boater X 20 minutes from home? Hope to see you there!

Thanks Chris and Sam for bringing attention to our river, for the pictures, and bringing some extra class to the race. Good Luck on your project.

Pilot Collective Media-Sam Fulbright, Team Blisstick

H20 Dreams-Chris Wing, Team Wavesport

-Corey Spoores-

-Pat Emmonds-



One response

7 07 2014

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