Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
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New kayak event drew 27 entrants

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NEW PORT RICHEY -

Organizers said they were thrilled by the turnout for the first Durney Key Challenge late last month.

The new outing particularly got a strong endorsement from Rick Buckman, Pasco County’s parks and recreation director. He’s a kayaker himself with the county’s Paddling Pasco group that offers monthly expeditions and sponsored the inaugural event.

“We had 27 paddlers, which included kayaks, tandems, canoe and paddle boards,” Rick Buckman, Pasco parks and recreation director, wrote in a post on the county website.

“Everyone had a great time and enjoyed the challenge,” Buckman added. “It was a great atmosphere and a gorgeous day to be out paddling.”

“This is a very, very unique paddling race,” Buckman said previously. “Goggle-search races and you will not find another like this one yet.”

The demanding Durney Key race had been aimed more at endurance racers with lightweight kayaks, organizers said.

The new race offers a 2.3-mile paddling course around stilt houses in open water starting and ending on Durney Key, a small island just off the mouth of the Pithlachascotee River, off Port Richey. The course poses 10 challenges to test paddling skills and endurance.

“We will be working on making some needed changes for next time to make sure everything runs smoother and we want to thank everyone for their time and effort in making this first challenge such a great success,” Buckman remarked. “We hope you all had fun, because that's what it's all about.”

Final standings have been released.

Class 1, younger than 20 years old: 1st place, Domenic Crisafulli and James Raymond in a kayak, 31:07. 2nd, Dylan and Brianna Davis in a canoe, 55:59.

Class 2, 20 to 40: 1st place, Sara Gillis, kayak, 48:36. 2nd, Nora Wolford, standup paddle, 58:16. 3rd, Jessica Nicolai, standup paddle, 1:03:55.

Class 3, older than 40: 1st place, Steve Hunter, kayak, 29:47. 2nd place, Harry Tobin, kayak, 34:10. 3rd place, Jesus Rodriguez, kayak, 40:10.

Standup paddle: 1st place, James McDougall, 40:56. 2nd, Laura Wentworth, 1:00:22. 3rd, Jessica Nicolai, 1:03:55.

Tandem kayak: 1st place, Domenic Crisafulli and James Raymond, 31:07. 2nd, Dylan and Brianna Davis, canoe, 55:59. 3rd, Natalie Earley and Stephany Schreck, 1:06:39.

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