For most paddlers, the creek racing world of whitewater kayaking is pretty epic. The world’s top boaters compete down steep V+ Chilean gorges in the Whitewater Grand Prix and gnarly Homestake Creek at the Teva Mountain Games. Yet last Saturday, a small spotlight of whitewater racing shown on a group of 10 kayakers as they paddled in the second annual Daddy’s Creek Race. The Daddy’s Creek Race was both a celebration of the Obed river system in Middle Tennessee and also a way for all local paddlers to partake in a grassroots race.
“We had this race to recognize how many amazing rivers the Obed holds,” Karl Whipp, organizer for the race, said. “We also wanted something that the majority of skill levels could enjoy whether it’s spectating, running safety or competing.” According to Whipp, the Obed boasts every style of creeking from small creeks like Island and Little Clear Creek to cliff-lined canyons such as Daddy’s and Clear Creeks to waterfall creeks like Crooked Fork to long wilderness stretches like the Upper Obed and Upper Clear Creek.
The top three racers were
1. Kirk Eddlemon
2. Ben Warf
3. Steve Sanborn
The weather behaved nicely for the race with water levels at a near perfect 1.8′ and temperatures steady at 50+ degrees with cloudless, blue skies About eight folks set safety and another 10 spectators paddled down the river to watch the race. There were no swimmers this year. Following the race was a river-wide cleanup where most people gathered a bag full of trash. Whipp said, “We wanted to give back to Daddy’s Creek and the local community.”
The Daddy’s Creek Race represents just one of the many grassroots races that local paddlers put on for their boating community throughout the United States.
Stay tuned to Canoe & Kayak Magazine as we feature more of these events throughout the year.
The article was originally published on Canoe & Kayak
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