Chucktown Showdown Delivers

Ladies Top 5 Finishers


Supconnect contributor, Haywood Newkirk gives us a breakdown of the Chucktown Showdown that occurred over the weekend.


The 2014 Chucktown Showdown took place last weekend at Brittlebank Park in typical late summer "low country weather." The crew that put the event together and the 200 racers that showed up, made for one of the best events ever held on the East Coast.

The Event

Brittlebank Park is a great place for this event, with lots of free parking, great water access, food trucks, sitting areas and the Marriott Hotel located directly across Lockwood Boulevard. The event was run flawlessly from Friday's Check-in to the Kid's Race Saturday afternoon. I am well aware of the logistics that an event of this type involves and the organizers of this one had everything dialed in. Check in was seamless, with board storage on site.

Friday's social hour and prone talk by Joe Bark really set the competitive, yet welcoming tone for the weekend. The racers meeting was very informative and every race went off right on time. Trust me, getting 200 amped up racers to the starting line on time and in order is like herding cats. The courses were well thought out and water support was everywhere on the course. The post race festivities went off without a hitch and the awards ceremony was the best I have ever attended. 95 trophies were handed out in under an hour and having Stoke Radio's Cory Davis as the emcee was a stroke of genius. Corey is the consummate professional.



Men's Top 5 Finishers

The Races

The conditions on race day were very reflective of those found in the low country this time of year. To those contestants from outside the south, the heat and humidity may have been oppressive and the water temperature somewhat balmy at 83 degrees, but to this crew from Charleston, conditions were pretty benign. Race organizer, Jeremy Whitted, in fact, commented that these conditions were "some of the mildest he had seen".

The 4-mile "short course" moved south along the Charleston Waterfront to the end of "the battery" around a buoy and back to the starting point at Brittlebank Park. The strong current and the chop and reverb off of the Battery Wall gave the 100+ participants in this race a challenging day's paddle.


The 9-mile "long course" proved to be a challenge on race day for its 90 participants. Racers had to initially negotiate a series of bridges, swirling eddies, and a head to current of 1-2 knots. After rounding the end of the Battery, racers were rewarded with a following current until the buoy turn across the open harbor to Castle Pinkney. Negotiating Castle Pinkney required racers to pick a line. The local paddlers chose to stay close to Castle Pinkney and avoid the now head to current.

Fortunately for me, I teamed up with one of Charleston's most knowledgeable paddlers, Mike Evatt. Mike drew a line right next to Castle Pinkney, rounded the point and swung out wide into Charleston Harbor. The wide swing got us into an incoming current which allowed us to pass a number of racers that drew a more direct line. Normally, rain squalls are not a racers best friend, but the one that developed at mile 5 was a god send, cooling us all down and also providing a tail wind for the last few miles back to the finish.

Once racers re-entered the River, the following wind and tide made for a fun little downwind run to the finish. It became pretty evident at this point that racers with downwind experience were able to catch some bumps and make up some ground that they had lost to the flatwater standouts.



The long course was the money race for this event ($1000 1st Place) and it did not disappoint. The 12-6 Women's Division was very competitive with April Zilg, team rider for the Carolina Paddleboard Company, successfully defending her title and winning her second Chucktown Showdown. Issabella Picard, Lizi Ruiz, Dawn Ehman and Mary Ann Boyer rounded out the Top 5 in this strong, international field. The "Vanilla Gorilla" (AKA April Zilg) has had a really strong race season this year, wining numerous events up and down the East Coast. Her hard work and dedication are second to none in this sport.

The 14 Men's Division was won by Bark and Quickblade Team Rider, Larry Cain. Ron Gossard, Packet Casey, Zach Rounsaville and Bill Kraft rounded out the Top 5, in this loaded, international roster. It still amazes me that Larry Cain and I are the same age; he is one bad dude (and by bad I mean good). He is an incredible international ambassador for this sport and his ability to enhance others skills through his race clinics are beyond compare.


If you are looking for a well run, competitive race event, located in one of America's most beautiful cities, then you need to go ahead and make plans for the 2015 Chucktown Showdown. This crew and this race will not disappoint.






Last modified onFriday, 23 January 2015 14:32

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