Sweet New Chicago Event: a Populist Boat Race!
August 21, 2008
Sept. 27 will see the second running of a nifty new Chicago race: the Shoreline Marathon. For the first time, the lovely local emerald waters are host to an easy-to-enter boat race. A lot of boat culture is relatively elite. Paddlesport is affordable and simple. I suppose the only simpler local water event would be an open water swim along the shore. That would be cool and I hope they have such a thing, but it's gotta be a bit less picturesque for the participants as well as the fans. Anyway...
There are 3 events in one: a short corporate relay, a moderate 8-mile intermediate event, and a full 25-mile marathon. There's a huge cash prize-list, too.
It's neat to see that open water kayak racing is finally catching on in the USA---in the Midwest in particular---we have worldclass open water but it's rarely showcased in paddlesport. This kind of racing has been big elsewhere around the world for decades. They use light, long and super-narrow surfskis or sea kayaks that are likewise far speedier than usual. These boats go really fast yet they can handle quite severe weather/wave conditions. What fun!
I note that the leading racing surfski and sea kayak is the Epic brand, built by Greg Barton, a Michigan native, Gold Medalist, and brother-in-law of my local pal Tom Cannon. It's said that once a paddle buff even sits in an Epic they're hooked. Check em out: http://www.epickayaks.com
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