Northwest Indiana’s “Ride the Wave Regatta” Kayak race Saturday, Sept. 15
featured several world class paddlers.
Hosted by the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association (NWIPA), the race has
grown into an annual pilgrimage for kayak racers from both near and far.
New this year, NWIPA added a grueling 19 mile marathon loop race from
Michigan City’s Washington Park to the Indiana Dunes State Park and back.
This is in addition to the traditional 8 mile race to Beverly Shores and
“The new 19 mile long course really helped bring out the top kayak racers
from around the U.S. and beyond” according to Race Director Ken Stelter.
Paddling mostly state-of-the -art racing kayaks called Surf Skis, the top
finisher was for the second year in a row Rob Hartman from Holland,
Michigan. “Rob is one of the elite world class paddlers that have been on
the racing circuit since competing in the U.S. National Marathon Team in the
90’s.” Completing the long course with blazing time of 2:31:58, Hartman beat
second place finisher Simon Longdill, hailing from Auckland, New Zealand,
with a time of 2:33:31.
Finishing in third place, Greg Greene of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, completed the
loop course with a time of 2:52:28.
Winning the Women’s Sea Kayak class was Bonnie Jagiella from Hebron,
Illinois and winning the Men’s was Kevin Starr of Wheatfield, Indiana.
The 8 mile short course race was won in the unlimited class by William
Bellinger, Grand Haven, Michigan with a time of 1:08:35, and by Paul Kane,
Niles, Michigan in the Sea Kayak 1:19:25 class. Taking home the third place
plaque, Ken Stelter of LaPorte, Indiana finished with a time of 1:28:19. In
the Women’s Sea Kayak Class, the winners were Cynthia Manestar, from
Frankfort, Illinois, with a time of 1:58:58 followed by Marlene Bertolozzi,
Kingston, Illinois 1:59:09, and third place Mary Beth Lies with a time of
2:01:25 from La Grange, Illinois.
Paddling along the blue waters of the Indiana Dunes, hundreds of
participants in the Annual International Beach Cleanup Day got to witness a
race that is becoming a major draw within the kayak racing community.
The Northwest Indiana Paddling Association hopes to continue to grow the
Ride the Wave Regatta into a world class kayak race. If this year is any
indication, it appears that it is well on the way.