Paddler Tattler – December 2022

TVCC Paddlers Heading to Florida Blue Holes

Join the about 20 paddlers (so far) heading to the Florida Panhandle, staying at Florida Caverns State Park near Mariana, FL.  Travel days are December 27 and January 2.  Pat Carver will lead us on three rivers and two blue holes. Beth Johnson is organizing the group dinner events — Wednesday at Hunts Oyster Bar in Panama City, News Years Eve is a classic shrimp boil at the camp, and smash burgers another day at camp.  Register at the TVCC website events page.

More information below.

December Calendar of Events
(and Early January)

Winter Roll Practice #5 — Tuesday, Dec 6, 8p
TVCC Board Meeting, Tuesday, Dec 13, 6p
Winter Roll Practice #6 — Tuesday, Dec 13, 8p
Florida Blue Holes Week, Tuesday, Dec 27 to Monday, Jan 2
Additional events may be added after this newsletter publishes.
Go here to register for all TVCC events

TVCC 2023 Flatwater Schedule Announced

by Eric Burnett, Flatwater Cruisemaster

     Hello there and greetings from the new Flatwater Cruisemaster for 2023, Eric Burnett!
     In case you do not know me I will say that I first joined the TVCC in 2007 and have helped with the flatwater class at Paddle School with Eric Fleming.  The last several years I’ve been the lead instructor at Paddle School so I hope we’ve met along the way..  I’ve retired twice, the last job I worked as a paramedic for 15 years after having worked at Bradley County, Hamilton County, and finally CHI Memorial EMS. Typically I paddle a 17′ ft, sea kayak but will be paddling a canoe some this year.
Scroll down this newsletter and you will find the flatwater schedule that I have crafted after getting input from the survey that some of you answered and from others that have a real interest in our group.
     I want you to see that it has a combination of lake paddling, Class I creeks, and special events.  To be honest, I grew up paddling canoes until I started paddling a sea kayak. I wanted to be a little truer to our name and use a canoe some this year! The new locations are good paddling whether in a canoe  kayak, and I hope, an SUP.  There are some new trip leaders and others that you know very well.  I hope this is a good mix for you. Another suggestion was to start a paddle later in the day.  It’s possible. The challenge in all of this will be a mix of boats and paddling skills and while I strive to make everyone happy it may take some work and understanding.
     It could be that we add a paddle here and there, it’s never finished!  I am open to suggestions.
     Besides a few new paddle locations and leaders another new item will be a portable privy and popup tent for those locations that do not have facilities at the put in point.  It’s a normal expansion of the Leave No Trace philosophy that the TVCC strives to achieve.
     Lastly I will add that I will be leading an overnighter to Reelfoot Lake July 21 to 24.  Dave Leigh has added it to the overnight schedule.  Go to the TVCC website events page and scroll down to see the event.  Registration open now.

Let’s Do Winter Paddling – Steve Needs You.

by Steve Courtney, TVCC Class III/IV Cruisemaster

Hello TVCC members.  My name is Steve Courtney and I am the cruise master for level III/IV kayaking. Last year we had a decent amount of trips planned and hope to have more this year. If you are able to lead a trip, please reach out to me with a trip date and river and I’ll try to include it on our trip schedule. It is also important to have as many support boaters as possible.  If you feel you know the river and would like to assist, please let us know. My email address is:  Thanks and SYOTR

Indoor Roll Practice

TVCC Donates to North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy

by BG Smith, TVCC Treasurer
     From one river to another! That was the theme in late October when TVCC donated $1,000 to the North Chickamauaga Creek Conservancy (NCCC) at their Pocket After Dark Party at the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge Trailhead. TVCC, hosts of the annual Ocoee River Race, presented proceeds from the race After Party to NCCC to support their effort to recognize the North Chickamauaga Creek as a State Scenic River.
Several TVCC members were in attendance as TVCC Vice President 

Steve Lamb presented the donation to NCCC President-elect Lucien Scott who commented, “These funds will go a long way to help us work with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to achieve the “State Scenic River” designation for the North Chick.” That designation would formally recognize the North Chick for its outstanding scenic, recreational, geologic, botanical, fish, and wildlife values.
     Helping Steve present the check was Cat Vogel, TVCC’s Competition Director, who
organized this year’s TVCC Ocoee River Race held on October 8th. The donation to NCCC was directly supported by the proceeds raised by the race and the After Party. Race competitors, supporters, volunteers, and spectators all joined in fun and a chance to win great prizes. “Each year TVCC decides a worthy recipient for the Ocoee Race proceeds. The TVCC Board believed NCCC efforts warranted our support,” remarked Cat, who also noted that many of TVCC’s whitewater boaters enjoy the experience in the gorge’s Bowling Alley section.
     Learn more about the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy at You can visit the gorge by heading to the trailhead access point at 354 Montlake Rd, Soddy Daisy, TN 37379

Water Safety Volunteers Step Up –
TVCC Receives $5,000 in 2022!

by BG Smith and Buck Meyer
     Volunteerism pays!! In 2022, the Ironman Foundation awarded TVCC with three separate Volunteerism Grants that will total $4,500. These grants recognize TVCC member participation in the May 70.3 and the September 144.6 Ironman races. The most recent award, a $2,000 grant, arrived in mid-November, just in time for the holidays!
     In accepting the latest grant, TVCC President Dian Lawhon thanked the Ironman Foundation for their generous support of TVCC and its mission. “This grant will support expansion and improvements in our paddling safety programs. We will address rising incidents and accidents among a growing but novice paddling community in our region. These funds will allow us to train more instructors and reach more paddlers in our community.”
     Dian further noted that none of this would have been possible without the somewhat super-human efforts of former TVCC Board Member/Treasurer Buck Meyer. Buck’s selfless dedication to the safety of the Ironman athletes and Chattanooga as host of two Ironman events precipitated their generosity. In 2022, Buck was the lead (aka Ironman Captain) for key race activities including Athlete Check-In, Water Safety, and the Finish Line. He also undertook a special project associated with the coveted medals each athlete receives when they cross the finish line. A separate grant of $1,500 was provided for that activity alone. Folks, all that represents a tremendous amount of personal time in meetings, recruiting and training volunteers, and making Chattanooga a favorite venue for Ironman athletes.
     TVCC has received grants from the Ironman Foundation since 2017, when Buck first became the Captain for Water Safety. This is still his primary focus, and he is serious about the mission of ensuring all athletes are safe from when they jump off the starting dock to when they climb up the exit stairs. When asked about the grants, Buck praised the teams of volunteers, “These grants recognize the efforts of over 330 volunteers who reported to me on Thursday, Friday and Sunday of race week for the full Ironman in September and over 220 volunteers for the half Ironman in May.” He went on to note, “These volunteers deserve a lot of credit. The Water Safety team is on the river before sunrise, while the Finish Line crew is still cheering on competitors until nearly midnight.”
     Dian thanked Buck personally as well as the hundreds of volunteers who made it all happen, “Wow — it is definitely impressive! You have done an amazing job for Ironman and TVCC is very blessed to have benefited from all your hard work. My special thanks to all the volunteers who heeded the call and came out to support these events. We can’t thank all of you enough.”
     As a side note, Buck offers his time and talent to a host of other Chattanooga events such as Swim the Suck, Head of the Hooch, the Waterfront Triathlon, and ChattaJack to name just a few. His efforts along with a crew of TVCC paddlers supported Water Safety for the Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon in June. This year TVCC received a $500 grant from Team Magic and the Chattanooga Track Club, the organizers.  While TVCC has supported this event for many years, starting with Taylor “Momma T” Watson as coordinator, this was the first time the club has received a grant for this event, bringing the total for the year to $5,000 for all these volunteer activities. Next time you see Buck at your favorite Chattanooga event, say thanks!
     Looking forward to 2023, the Ironman 70.3 will be on May 21, 2023, and the full Ironman Chattanooga on September 24, 2023.
     Buck noted that the actual number of TVCC members who are volunteering for these events has been declining! Fortunately, the Chattanooga paddling community and many non-paddlers who are interested in the success of these events have picked up the slack. TVCC continues to benefit. While it is understandable that the novelty of volunteer participation will decline year-to-year (a free t-shirt, headlight, and whistle having lost some of their appeal), having a sufficient number of watercraft on the river to provide a safe environment for the swimmers remains constant. Ironman 70.3 requires 80-90 paddlers while the Ironman Chattanooga needs 135-145 on the water. 
So answer that call when Buck comes knocking!
Learn more about Ironman Chattanooga at

This Is Your Newsletter

Hi Everyone.  The newsletter publishes on the last Wednesday before the first weekend day of the next month.  The order of content I am using (so far in my learning curve) is 1) top story or event of the month, short form, 2) calendar of events for next month, 3) important articles for members to know, 4) table of contents for rest of newsletter, 5) the rest of articles, 6) our TVCC sponsors, and 7) the TVCC Board of Directors.  Send your comments and suggestions to me at this email —  Put ‘TVCC’ in the title line so I don’t miss it.  I want to hear from you. Thanks.  John Hubbard, editor

Newsletter Table of Contents (for articles below)

1.  Florida Blue Hole trip information
2. Flatwater 2023 trips schedule
3.  Meet Eric Burnett, TVCC Flatwater Cruisemaster, and his vision for 2023
4. Williams Island Flatwater trip report (November 5)
5. The Founding of TVCC in 1967 Story, Chapters 4 and 5
6. An Oldie But Goodie past TVCC newsletter — July 1984
7.  One More Thing Says John — cool information, trivia, and skills for paddlers including how to double . pump and paddle big, big water

Florida Blue Holes Trip

We will base camp at Florida Caverns State Park.  We will paddle these three water bodies plus Ocheesee Pond and Ecofina Creek.  Get maps and points of interest literature for the five paddle trips at this link.  There is a pdf file for each one.

Meet Eric Burnett,  TVCC Flatwater Cruisemaster

by Eric Burnett
     Hi there. As one of the “new kids on the block” I wanted to reach out to you and tell you a bit about myself quickly, my vision, and my interests as the new Flatwater Cruisemaster. John Hubbard has asked me to introduce myself. Let me say right up front that Susan and Eric F are hard acts to follow but like the true dedicated members they are, they have been very helpful to me.
     In sending out the 2023 Flatwater schedule to almost 275 Flatwater paddlers on the list, some of you have already had a small introduction.. I started paddling an old Kickshaw canoe and I was hooked during my high school years. While in college in upstate New York canoes were provided to paddle Cranberry Lake and I continued there. Fast forward through the years and in 2007 I started paddling my sea kayak and first joined the TVCC. My wife calls my backyard the marina and it’s where I have stored her vintage canoe, 2 17′ sea kayaks, a WW kayak, and a canoe and a 12.5 ft kayak on loan. I carry pictures of them on my phone, just like pictures of my wife, our 3 grown children and our grandkids. That’s normal right? 🙂
     My vision? It’s simple enough, to paddle safely, to teach others how to paddle safely, take precautions and have fun. Even flatwater paddlers walk a line between comfort and risk where the risk is managed by awareness, training, and common sense which is what we teach at Paddle School every year. There are 3 ACA L2 coastal sea kayak instructors in Tennessee and I am one of them (and no L3, L4, or L5 instructors). I’ve been involved with Paddle School for several years now, as support paddler and now as instructor.

     Because it’s the Tennessee Valley CANOE Club there are some paddles on our 2023 flatwater schedule that I think will fit that mode. There will be destinations where I might suggest it’s better suited for sea kayaks or other boats and SUP’s. I hope to provide a little something for everyone. We will see how close I have come to hitting that elusive mark by this time next year! You be the judge and let me know. As a new twist I will be providing a pop up tent and “privy” for some locations that do not have facilities as part of the Leave No Trace philosophy of the TVCC. 2023 here we come!    

William’s Island Trip Report, Tennessee River

by Eric Fleming and Susan Carroll

     Ten of us met at the Suck Creek ramp at 10 am on 11/5/22 and we put on and paddled the 2 miles up to Williams Island ramp. Susan was supposed to lead the trip but sadly she fell down her house stairs 3 weeks ago and has 2 broken ribs. She was however able to do a benefit motorcycle ride. Tough lady!!.  Sarah has a nice shiny new 28 lb canoe, and Mike and Joan brought their 3 dogs.  I’d spent some volunteer days with the Tennessee River Gorge Trust and led some overnighters there back in the day, so I gave a quick tour of the farm, and gave some facts about the island.  Upon returning to the put in we went across the street to the River Drifters restaurant for some grog and grub.  A nice fall day in the Gorge.  Sadly upon returning home my wife Ruthie told me that club president Dian’s mother had passed away at 95. Sincerest condolences to Dian.  Eric.
     Addendum:  I fell ‘up’ my stairs.  I have no way to explain that, but I’m doing better.  I’ve really enjoyed leading flatwater these last couple of years.  This was our final trip of the season.  You will be hearing from Eric Burnett from this point forward.  Hope to see you at the Christmas party. Susan

The Founding Of TVCC In 1967 Story — Ch 3, 4

by John Hubbard, editor
Jack Wright wrote a series of articles in the club 2000 newsletters on the founding of TVCC and stories of that era by club members.  When did TVCC get founded?  Who were those founders?  Why did they want to form a canoe club?  Read it at this link, pages 8 to 11.

An Oldie But Goodie TVCC Newsletter From The Way Back Past
by John Hubbard
See this and two more cartoons in this issue.  Read ‘In Defense of The C-1’ by Charlie Walbridge. It’s no holds barred versus the K-1 kayak.  You’ll find this newsletter in the folder for all the newsletters from June 1980 to September 1985.  Browse if you like.  They can be found at this link.  This one is file ‘8407 TVCC nl.pdf’.

One More Thing Says John

By John Hubbard, newsletter editor
These are some interesting items I received over the last month.
1.  How to self rescue to get back on a paddle board, from AQ Outdoors — at this link 
2. Double Pumping a Kayak, from Jackson Kayak — at this link.  May be helpful to you.  But I don’t have the body flexibility anymore.     
3. Paddling Big Volume Rivers, from Jackson Kayak — at this link, and scroll down to video.  A ton of information, fascinating.     
4.  The US advances largest dam demolition in history.  A story in the Chattanooga newspaper about dam removals on the Klamath River in California, on November 20.  — at this link