Mayor's Cup Race Gets Shut Down Due to Kayak Accidents

Sunday, 26 October 2008
Things got a little crazy at the annual Mayor's Cup New York City Kayak Championships last week. They had to call off the race shortly after it started when several racers were ejected from their surf skies and got swept towards a rusty barge.

Though there were no serious injuries but several boats got damaged in the process.

Things were looking good at the start of the 27-mile circumnavigation of Manhattan island but shortly after paddlers got underway, the winds picked up against the strong currents and the chop started building.

"It was a sequence of seemingly innocuous events that led up to a big event," said Dr. Tim Burke, 40, a neurosurgeon who had traveled from Annapolis, Md., to compete.

He said the race was "pretty congested, pretty fierce," and soon his paddle was accidentally knocked from his hand by another competitor. He said he pitched into the water and struggled to get back in his boat. The current drove him and his kayak toward the barge, which was moored and appeared to be carrying garbage.

"I looked up and it was right there," Dr. Burke said. He slammed into the side of the barge and struggled for a handhold, finally grabbing a rubber tire tied to the hull, he said.

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David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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