Winners: WWALS Boomerang paddle race 2021-10-23


Hahira, Georgia, November 10, 2021 — The 2021 First Prize winner set a new record for the WWALS Boomerang paddle race, from Georgia into Florida and back: Lloyd Reeves of Crescent City, Putnam County, Florida, in the St Johns River watershed. He was also generous, handing back the prize money.


All seventeen paddlers had a good time on a cool, sunny, fall morning. The Withlacoochee River water levels were just right, so everybody floated right over the one shoal. Two college paddlers from Valdosta State University CORE were sponsored by Dry Pocket Apparel and Packaging Corporation of America (PCA). WWALS thanks those and other sponsors, the other paddlers, and the silent auction bidders, for a successful fundraiser.

Of the nine female and eight male paddlers, 12 were from Georgia, and 5 from Florida. Tallahassee’s Leon County, Florida, had almost as many paddlers (4) as local Lowndes County, Georgia (6), and Tallahassee had as many as Valdosta (4 each). The farthest paddler came from DeKalb County, GA, on the other side of Atlanta.

Lloyd Reeves drove 167 miles to win the six-mile course (3 down and 3 back) in 58 minutes and 43 seconds with his accurately-labeled

That beats the previous record of 1:16:42, made last year by Jackson Buttery of Tallahassee.

[Lloyd Reeves pulling ahead]
Lloyd Reeves pulling ahead

New record holder Reeves took the $100 bill First Prize and handed it back as a donation. He also did that when he won the WWALS BIG Little Paddle Race in April 2018, when he also set a record for that other WWALS race.

[00:58:43 Lloyd Reeves First Prize]
00:58:43 Lloyd Reeves First Prize

Second place in t–boomerang/”>Fourth Annual WWALS Boomerang, at 1:09:36, was Grant Herring of Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, in the Withlacoochee River watershed.

[1:09:36 Grant Herring]
1:09:36 Grant Herring

That also beats the previous record.

[1:09:36 Grant Herring, Second Place]
1:09:36 Grant Herring, Second Place

Elizabeth Brunner, also Valdosta and Withlacoochee River, finished four miles down and back in 1:20:46.

[1:20:46 Elizabeth Brunner]
1:20:46 Elizabeth Brunner

[1:20:46 Elizabeth Brunner, First Female 4-mile]
1:20:46 Elizabeth Brunner, First Female 4-mile

Russell McBride placed third at 1:24:43. from Quitman, Brooks County, Georgia, in the Withlacoochee River watershed.

[1:24:43 Russell McBride]
1:24:43 Russell McBride

[1:24:43 Russell McBride, Third Place]
1:24:43 Russell McBride, Third Place

First Female Solo finisher of six miles, at 2:04:25 was Melanie Stornuster of Tucker, DeKalb County, Georgia, who drove 246 miles from the Ocmulgee River watershed, by far the farthest away.

[2:04:25 Melanie Stornuster]
2:04:25 Melanie Stornuster

[2:04:25 Melanie Stornuster, First Female Solo]
2:04:25 Melanie Stornuster, First Female Solo

First Place for the 2-mile course was Jennifer Singleton at 1:28:10, from Lake Park, Lowndes County, Georgia, in the Alapaha River watershed.

[1:28:10 Jennifer Singleton]
1:28:10 Jennifer Singleton

[1:28:10 Jennifer Singleton, First 2-mile]
1:28:10 Jennifer Singleton, First 2-mile

Second Place for 2-miles was Kim Zacher at 1:28:30 of Dexter, Laurens County, Georgia, in the Altamaha River watershed.

[1:28:30 Kim Zacher]
1:28:30 Kim Zacher

[1:28:30 Kim Zacher, Second 2-mile]
1:28:30 Kim Zacher, Second 2-mile

First All Male Kayak at 1:38:26 was paddled by Laquron Morse & Andrew Jacobson of VSU CORE, in Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, in the Withlacoochee River watershed. Thanks to PCA for sponsoring one of them to enter, and Dry Pocket for sponsoring the other.

[1:38:26 Laquron Morse & Andrew Jacobson]
1:38:26 Laquron Morse & Andrew Jacobson

[1:38:26 Laquron Morse & Andrew Jacobson, First All Male Kayak]
1:38:26 Laquron Morse & Andrew Jacobson, First All Male Kayak

First All Female Kayak at 1:38:36 was won by Karin Zawrotny and Connie Tessmer, from Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, in the Ochlockonee and St Marks River basins.

[1:38:36 Karin Zawrotny & Connie Tessmer]
1:38:36 Karin Zawrotny & Connie Tessmer

[1:38:36 Karin Zawrotny & Connie Tessmer, First All Female Kayak]
1:38:36 Karin Zawrotny & Connie Tessmer, First All Female Kayak

Second farthest away, at 165 miles, were Jennifer Kangas 2:29:29 and Adam Kangas 2:42:42 from Macon, Bibb County, Georgia, in the Ocmulgee River Basin.

[2:29:29 Jennifer Kangas]
2:29:29 Jennifer Kangas

[2:42:42 Adam Kangas]
2:42:42 Adam Kangas

[2:42:42 Adam Kangas, From Second Farthest]
2:42:42 Adam Kangas, From Second Farthest

Winning the Slowest prize at 2:43:43 was Joelle Henry of Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, in the St. Marks River watershed.

[2:46:46 Joelle Henry]
2:46:46 Joelle Henry

[2:46:46 Joelle Henry, Last Place]
2:46:46 Joelle Henry, Last Place

Winning the Wrong Way prize no time were Bird and Debi Chamberlain of Lake Park, Lowndes County, Georgia, in the Alapahoochee River watershed.

[0:46:32 Debi and Bird Chamberlain head the wrong way, 46 minutes late]
0:46:32 Debi and Bird Chamberlain head the wrong way, 46 minutes late

[Bird and Debi Chamberlain, Wrong Way Prize]
Bird and Debi Chamberlain, Wrong Way Prize

Thanks to all the other paddlers. David Singleton at 1:50:53 from Lake Park, Lowndes County, Georgia, in the Alapaha River basin.

[1:50:53 David Singleton]
1:50:53 David Singleton

[1:50:53 David Singleton, Tumbler]
1:50:53 David Singleton, Tumbler

Livia Naxon at 2:23:13, from Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, in the St. Marks river basin.

[2:23:13 Livia Navon]
2:23:13 Livia Navon

[2:23:13 Livia Navon, Tumbler]
2:23:13 Livia Navon, Tumbler

David Zacher at 2:46:46, from Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida, in the St. Marks River watershed.

[2:43:20 David Zacher]
2:43:20 David Zacher

[2:43:20 David Zacher, Tumbler]
2:43:20 David Zacher, Tumbler

Thanks to the many Boomerang sponsors, including Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) and Dry Pocket, both of whom paid for a paddler to enter. Thanks to VSU CORE for bringing boats to lend. Thanks to Madison Outpost Adventures for volunteering to bring boats even thought that didn’t work out, and get well soon. Thanks to Olympia Bend Shooting Range Paintball, Sunbelt Running Club, Azalea City Music Academy, Okra Paradise Farms, and Dan Phililps for the silent auction items, and to everyone who bid on them. Thanks to Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority for the permit to use their park at State Line Boat Ramp; sorry power boats, come back another day.

[Sponsor and WWALS banners]
Sponsor and WWALS banners

Thanks to Adel Outfitters for the discount on the raffle kayak: raffle tickets are still available.

[Kayak Raffle Flyer]

Thanks to the many volunteers, especially Bobby McKenzie, the Boomerang mastermind.

Bret Wagenhorst brought and managed the timeclock.

[Starting, Bret Wagenhorst at the clock]
Starting, Bret Wagenhorst at the clock

WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman took the videos.

[Gretchen Quarterman and a VSU student videoing]
Gretchen Quarterman and a VSU student videoing

She also staffed the WWALS booth, assisted by Monica McKenzie, Sara Jay, and Shirley Kokidko. Scotti Jay helped Bobby fix the Finish banner posts.

[Bobby McKenzie and Scotti Jay with Finish banner]
Bobby McKenzie and Scotti Jay with Finish banner

Dan Phillips and Debbie Smith were sweep to be sure everyone came back.

[Dan Phillips, Volunteer]
Dan Phillips, Volunteer

And thanks to Suwannee Riverkeeper’s dogs, Honeybun, Blondie, and Arrow, for entertaining everyone.

[Arrow, Blondie, Honeybun: Suwannee Riverkeeper's dogs with the McKenzie children]
Arrow, Blondie, Honeybun: Suwannee Riverkeeper’s dogs with the McKenzie children

Arrow required some calming down due to the nearby skeet shooting.

[Arrow really does not like the nearby skeet shooting]
Arrow really does not like the nearby skeet shooting; Photo: Shirley Kokidko


See you all next October!

Meanwhile, don’t forget the BIG Little River Paddle Race at Reed Bingham State Park, between Adel and Moultrie, Georgia, April 30, 2022.

For more WWALS outings, see WWALS members get a list of outings and events in the Tannin Times monthly membership newsletter.


Gender: 8 male, 9 female, total 17 paddlers.

5 Withlacoochee River
3 Ocmulgee River
3 St Marks River
2 Alapaha River
2 Altamaha River
1 Ochlockonee River
1 St Johns River

States: 12 Georgia, 5 Florida

6 Lowndes County, GA
4 Leon County, FL
2 Bibb County, GA
2 Laurens County, GA
1 Brooks County, GA
1 Putnam County, FL
1 DeKalb County, GA

4 Valdosta, Lowndes County, GA
4 Tallahassee, Leon County, FL
2 Macon, Bibb County, GA
2 Dexter, Laurens County, GA
2 Lake Park, Lowndes County, GA
1 Crescent City, Putnam County, FL
1 Tucker, DeKalb County, FL
1 Quitman, Brooks County, FL

See also still more pictures.

About WWALS: Founded in June 2012, WWALS Watershed Coalition, Inc. (WWALS) is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity. WWALS advocates for conservation and stewardship of the Withlacoochee, Willacoochee, Alapaha, Little, Santa Fe, and Suwannee River watersheds in south Georgia and north Florida through education, awareness, environmental monitoring, and citizen activities. Since December 2016, John S. Quarterman is the Suwannee Riverkeeper®, which is a staff position and a project of WWALS as the member of Waterkeeper® Alliance for the Suwannee River Basin.

Contact: Bobby McKenzie, 808-445-4503,–boomerang/


 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

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