Mon - June 11, 2007

3 Top Solo Paddlers in Texas Water Safari 2007 - Part I

I am following 2007 Texas Water Safari remotely from Colorado looking at Texas Water Safari forum, live coverage of the race by Philippe Blouin, and pictures by Bob Brooks from Rio Vista and Cottonseed. I am sure that more information and pictures will be available on-line soon.

This year safari has high water and fast rivers. Several records are broken, but also many boats were damaged and dropped out of the race. The race was won by 6 person boat (West Hansen, Richard Steppe, Wade Binion, Pete Binion, Armin Lopez, Amado Cruz) in 34:09 hours (the record time from 1997: 29:46).

However, as a soloist I was looking mostly at solo boats. Here are the first three solo racers finishing at Seadrift on Sunday night:

Carter Johnson Texas Water Safari surfski

Carter Johnson

surfski paddler from California, age 31, 24 hour flatwater paddling record, solo record in WaterTribe 2007 Everglades Challenge, and more

safari experience: none, paddled a custom built Huki Sx-1 surfski (solo unlimited class)

finished as the first solo unlimited (2nd overall) in 36:03 setting a new solo record, the old record of 36:08 was set in 1992 by Steve Landick

Jerry Rhaburn Texas Water Safari C1 canoe

Jerry Rhaburn

paddler from Texas (or Belize?), age 28

safari experience: the winning 6 person boats in 2005 and 2006, in 2007 paddled C1 canoe

finished in 37:07 as the 1st C1 canoe (4th overall), setting a new C1 record , the old record of 40:13 was set by Mark Simmons in 1997

Tommy Yonley Texas Water Safari solo unlimited

Tommy Yonley

paddler from Texas, age 28

safari experience: 10 completed safaris in 1997-2006 in C-2 (two class wins), mixed and unlimited class, first solo race in 2007, paddled Spencer Eagle (solo unlimited)

finished in 38:04, 2nd solo unlimited, 6th overall

The 4th solo paddler was Ardie Olsen in 42:27. I am not sure what boat he paddled, but in 2005 he won the solo unlimited class in a sea kayak (Seda Impulse) in 49:25. It's likely that he paddle a sea kayak again. So, we did not see too many Texas specialized solo unlimited boats among top finishers.

The above pictures come from Bob Brooks photo gallery. You can click any of them to see a full size version. The safari course is not all white water as these pictures may suggest, but the two most popular spots to photograph the race are Rio Vista (now a white water park) and Cottonseed Rapid.

In the second part of this post I am looking at time differences between the first three solo paddlers along the 260 mile race course.

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Posted at 04:14 PM    

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