Last Sunday, people took to their kayaks and canoes to hit the rapids and brave the waters of the Anthony Kill. It was time, once again, for the Tenandeho Whitewater Derby, an event that both onlookers and participants look forward to everyone.
The long and local tradition, that started in 1973 as a charity event, now enters its 41st year with no signs of slowly down. Especially, if the other day’s turnout was an indicator. Aside from well over 100 onlookers, the event an increase of participants from last year. The 4.5 mile derby was raced by 60 contestants, a decent increase over last year’s 45.
Definitely one of the reasons for this increase in numbers was due to the weather and water conditions. Both officials and participants noted that the conditions were optimal and nearly perfect for the race. The warmer weather had melted much of the snow and ice creating a quality water level and those fearsome rapids. It wasn’t bad for onlookers either. The warmer weather allowed for a much more pleasant time waiting for those kayaks and canoes to round the bend.
It was Jim Underwood who would place first in the short kayak. Other winners included- Bob Baniak in the long kayak category, Bill Jones for open canoe, Bryan and Will Whiting for the two-man short canoe, and Bob and Dan Morris for the adult/child canoe.
One concern during the race was safety. There were a number of first-timers in the race and the event made sure to provide ample help for them.
“A lot of first time paddlers, we were concern about their safety . We did the best to warn them and tell them what to do. The predicted spills and mishaps did happen at the roundhouse rapids. They were covered. we had fire and rescue personnel up there.They knew where the trouble spots were,” said race chairman John Erano and longtime organizer of the event
Unfortunately, due to low participation and interest the “Anything Floats” event was cancelled.
Aside from the normal safety issues, the event was a great success. A perfect storm of weather, water and enthusiasm provided a great experience for all.