RiverRocks' SUP Splash race continues to grow - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

RiverRocks' SUP Splash race continues to grow

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The 10-day outdoor festival, RiverRocks, is well underway in Chattanooga. It's attracting people from all over the country to take part in outdoor events showcasing what the Tennessee Valley has to offer.

Day two of RiverRocks kicked off Saturday with trail runs, canoe and kayak races, as well as the 10 mile 'Swim the Suck' water race. But it's stand up paddle boarding that's catching the attention of many.

If you've ever been down to Chattanooga's river front, you've probably seen a number of people on stand up paddle boards, or 'SUP boards.'

"We started with the RiverRocks program, so we've got the race going, we've done the race every year, it's progressed to this, it's getting bigger every single year," says race organizer Shane Webb.

Webb says the popularity of paddle boarding has grown in Chattanooga and around the world and says being a part of RiverRocks is a great way to take advantage of the waterfront.  

"With the mountains, you've got bicycles, you've got runners, you've got all these other sports involved with the mountains, so we've got to get all the water sports we can involved with the water. With paddle boarding being the fastest growing water sport in the world, it seems like it's a perfect fit," says Webb.

"I just started off like anyone else doing their first race, and three years later, I'm fully into it," says Chase Kosterlitz.

Kosterlitz is a professional paddle board racer. "Every race you got to, if you go to the year after, generally there's around twice as many people," he says.

He won last year's elite race, but says the joy of the sport is that anyone can do it. "There's also people coming out that it's their first race ever, so that's another appeal of the sport, is you get everyone," says Kosterlitz.

"I just like anything in, on and around the water," says UTC grad student Caroline Hill.

Hill started SUP boarding six months ago. "It's kind of like surfing, but you're standing on the board and you paddle. It's really fun. It's a total body workout, balance and everything," says Hill.

"In a place like Chattanooga, it's perfect," says Kosterlitz. "The more people you get out on the river, out of the city, the better," he says.

"I'm looking forward to next year even being bigger than this," says Webb.

Saturday's race was the mid south region national championship race and was the last race to qualify for the world championships that will be held in Mexico in November.

If you're interested in SUP boarding, you can still register for tutorial classes. They're being held Sunday down at Ross's Landing.

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