For Hometown News
Local paddleboard instructor and business owner Erik Lumbert will put his paddling and endurance skills to the test at Chattajack 31.
Mr. Lumbert, owner of Paddleboard New Smyrna Beach, has undergone a grueling paddle endurance regimen to prepare for the 31.5-mile paddle race through the Tennessee River Gorge.
Mr. Lumbert, his wife Jackie, and two small children, Kire, 6, and Olivia, 3, set out in the middle of the night, driving to Chattanooga, Tenn., on Thursday, Oct. 24, to check out the race terrain and to rest up for the race on Saturday, Oct. 26.
"This is going to be an amazing experience," Mr. Lumbert said. "I have been training for several months in all conditions, from driving rains, limited visibility, high winds, rough currents, to prepare for this challenge."
This is the second year of the Chattajack 31. Last year just fewer than 100 paddlers attempted the race. The fastest finish for a paddleboarder last year was 5 hours 34 minutes and the last racer came in at 8 hours 29 minutes. This year's race is expecting to draw close to 200 competitors.