WWALS Boomerang Paddle Race, Georgia into Florida and Back October 24th

Staff Report

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

For the third year, people will paddle down the Withlacoochee River from Georgia three miles into Florida, and back upstream, in the WWALS Boomerang! Canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards are welcome to register starting at 9 AM, Saturday, October 24, 2020, with the race to begin at 11 AM. There will be prizes, and food, and drink. “There will be plenty of water, no deadfalls, and probably some shoals to make it more interesting,” said Boomerang mastermind and WWALS Outings Chair Bobby McKenzie.

Tickets are on sale now, $20 online until October 15, then $30 at the event.

State Line Boat Ramp is at 6461 Madison Highway, Valdosta, GA 31601. Heading south down I-75, take Exit 11, turn west, and keep going until you see the boat ramp sign, then turn right. From Madison, Florida, head up CR 150 until you cross the river, make a U-turn, and head down to the ramp. “That’s the WWALS road sign for State Line Boat Ramp on the Withlacoochee and Little River Water Trail,” said WWALS Trails Committee Chair Dan Phillips. “And down by the boat ramp we have two informational signs: what to see downstream and up, safety, etiquette, etc.”

The course starts in Lowndes County, Georgia, and goes through Brooks County, GA, and Madison and Hamilton Counties, Florida.

“Thanks to the many sponsors Bobby has rustled up: outfitters VSU CORE, NWXpeditions, and Banks Lake Outdoors, Life Outdoors and Olympia Bend Shooting Range, SBMS Crossfit and Advanced Portable Restrooms,” said WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman. “Special thanks to Kono Ice for keeping us cool, and of course to Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks and Recreation Authority (VLPRA), whose park this is. We alsways welcome additional sponsors!”

Nonprofit outfitters and vendors get in free; the for-profit vendor fee is $20.

“We test water quality at State Line Boat Ramp frequently, and Nankin and Knights Ferry and other places upstream, and on Okapilco Creek in Brooks County,” said WWALS Testing Chair Suzy Hall. “Two of our testers will have results for us later today, before the weekend, and of course the Friday before the Boomerang.”

Shorter courses are available at 2 or 1 miles downstream, so that’s 6, 4, or 2 miles roundtrip. “You don’t even have to race; you can just paddle; just let us know in advance so we’re not waiting for you to cross the Finish line,” said Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman.