BluzCruz draws paddlers from across the U.S.

Published 10:19 pm Saturday, April 30, 2016

Despite the threat of thunderstorms, this year’s BluzCruz canoe and kayak race was one of the most successful to date.

Race director Wayne Pratt said more than 140 paddlers signed up for the race this year, close to being a new record high.

This year, the race was moved back to later in April, Pratt said.

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“We moved it back to later in the month so we wouldn’t have to worry about flood-stage waters,” he said. “The falling river has slowed our times down some. Generally when we have a rising river, we have faster times.”

Pratt said luckily, the rain held off for the most part.

“We captured a great window of opportunity,” he said. “The water is very smooth. We’ve had other years when the water was really choppy, but this is perfect.”

Pratt said it’s amazing to watch the paddlers do their thing out on the water.

“When you see these guys paddle, it’s so precise. It’s like pistons,” he said. “It’s really a work of art.”

Third-time competitor Rick Carter of Eutawville, S.C., took home the coveted first place trophy with a finish time of just over two hours and 14 minutes.

“The best paddler did not win this thing today,” he said. “Elmore (Holmes) had this thing won all the way to the entrance of the canal, but he swung wide and we cut the corner.”

Carter said the race is all about efficiency.

“If you ever run a marathon, you learn to keep your center of gravity just right so you don’t exert any extra energy,” he said. “It’s just taken me six years to finally start discovering that.”

Triplets Carson, Conrad and Peyton Pellerin, 14, of Breaux Bridge, La. came back to paddle the BluzCruz for a third year, joined by a fourth paddler, Tave Lamperez.

“They’re beautifully in sync and they make decision well,” he said. “Whatever the one in the front suggests, they do and the guy in the back steers, they’re a very nice team. When it’s time to switch between canoe and kayak blades, they decide on that and they just make it happen.”

The team finished in fourth place overall and said they have continued to improve each year. The brothers said they’ll be back next year with their eye on the prize.

Carson Pellerin said his family keeps coming back because “We like the competition, and we want to win.”