Paddlers Complete in Charles City Challenge

Posted at: 06/29/2013 10:43 PM
By: Jenna Lohse

(ABC 6 News)-- Many rivers in our area have high water from all of the rain we've had, but that didn't stop a group of brave souls from plunging into the Cedar River today.

Kayakers and paddle-boarders from across the region took on the rapids Saturday.

"We're out here to have fun and do the best we can," said Brad Lunning of Mason City.

Brad Lunning and his boys Conner and Ethan all competed in the second annual Charles City Challenge.

"We all enjoy kayaking, but it's great that we can do it as a family," said Lunning

"This is the only event of its type right now in Iowa. So I think there's a lot of people who enjoy the fact that we can offer this type of activity," said Ginger Williams, Tourism Coordinator for Charles City.

The whitewater course is a quarter-mile long with three features. As if staying afloat and steering through obstacles aren’t hard enough, try taking on more water.

"We have at least three times as much water as we had last year going through the course," said John Shultz, challenge organizer.

The challenge was postponed from earlier this month, but the river is still higher than normal.

"A lot more nerves out there for people and a little apprehension on people's faces of you know, this is going to be a real challenge," said Shultz.

These competitors were up for the challenge.

"Higher volume, faster moving, you'll be able to see a lot better tricks,” said Lunning.

They entertained the audience by surfing the waves and flipping on top of the water.

"It's a rush. It's almost like a roller coaster at this level because there's three other wave trains behind it," said Shultz.

Tackling the waves head on and finishing the race is the ultimate goal. For brad Lunning and his boys, the day is all about family.

"We get to spend some time together, get some exercise, see nature," said Lunning.

Want to try out the whitewater course yourself? It's open to the public every day for free.