Mark those calendars for Sunday, July 27, for a day of competition and fun on the waves for a great cause as the St. John Chaotic Kayak race takes over Oppenheimer Beach for the fourth year in a row.
All funds from the event go to support Team River Runner’s Virgin Islands program which each November brings a group of wounded veterans to the island for a week of health and healing. TRR was founded a decade ago at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to introduce wounded veterans to adaptable kayak sports, encouraging independence and fostering camaraderie among the men and women healing after battle and injuries.
Today there are TRR chapters at military hospitals across the country which host kayak trips and events, supplying a vital social link and physical outlet for wounded veterans.
TRR’s Virgin Islands program brings potential chapter leaders recommended by their chapters to spend a week at Cinnamon Bay Campground exploring local waters and gaining a deeper understanding of the group. The program is coordinated by veteran and former St. John resident John Schuld who, along with wife Brandi Schuld and Sadie Sea owner Tom Larson, organizes the Chaotic Kayak event as well.
The TRR Virgin Islands program is completely funded through in-kind donations and money from fundraisers; with the bulk of funds coming from the annual St. John Chaotic Kayak race.
The fourth annual Chaotic Kayak race, on July 27, will feature both water-side and land-wide excitement. Water lovers can take part in Stand Up Paddle and kayak races, while also enjoying delicious food and dozens of raffles, which are available on a cash only basis.
The SUP race will include both a men’s and women’s category with racers asked to bring their own boards and pay a $25 entry fee. Trophies will be awarded to the top male and top female finishers in the SUP races.
For the kayak event, teams of three — two paddlers with one “gunner” in the middle — will take to the water at noon on July 27 for the chance to win the coveted golden paddle. A total of 32 teams will compete over three rounds of races with the top two teams in each of the eight preliminary heats advancing to the semi final round. One team from each of the four semi final heats will then advance to the final round.
Teams pay $150 to take part in the race, but are encouraged to raise much more than that. Teams can earn a five second head start for every additional $100 they raise over the $150 registration fee.
One member from each team must attend a meeting at the Inn at Tamarind Court on Saturday, July 26, at 5 p.m. where teams can buy time and draw for placements.
On race day, Sunday, July 27, teams can check in at 11 a.m. with races set to begin at 12 p.m. There is no parking allowed at Oppenheimer Beach and event goers should take a free shuttle provided by St. John Community Foundation. Pick up locations will be at the Cruz Bay gravel parking lot and Mongoose Junction between 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. with return service beginning at 4 p.m.
Sadie Sea is also offering a water shuttle to Oppenheimer Beach for the St. John Chaotic Kayak race. The boat will leave from the V.I. National Park dock at 10:30 a.m. Space aboard Sadie Sea is limited.
Don’t miss this great beach party and the chance to support TRR.
“Our military veterans are responsible for the continuing freedoms we enjoy every day,” said Schuld.
“Many are wounded, both physically and mentally, by the experience of war. The Chaotic Kayak is held annually to raise funds to bring wounded veterans to St John in November for a week of camping, kayaking and healing.”
“By being a part of this important event, you are showing your support, appreciation, and love for our brave brothers and sisters and the sacrifices they have made,” he said.
For more information about St. John Chaotic Kayak race and to support a team, check out http://stjohnchaotickayak.com.