For over 20 years, the first Saturday in January is a special day in Columbia. It’s the day that Columbia takes centerstage in the Southeastern whitewater world. The rapids of the mighty Saluda River play host to a Columbia original...The Iceman, a kayak race and a grassroots celebration of whitewater and the Columbia paddling community.
Racing is at the heart of the Iceman. The event is centered around three events, the Millrace Massacre, the Straight Shooter and the Iceman Championship, there is something for everyone. Over the past 22 years these races have become a staple event for kayakers, routinely bringing in 60+ athletes from all over the Southeast, along with a multitude of spectators and vendors.
Proceeds from the event benefit American Whitewater; a non-profit organization committed to conserving and restoring our nation’s whitewater resources and providing opportunities to safely enjoy our rivers. The organization is the primary advocate for the preservation and protection of whitewater rivers in the United States. Last year, the event donated over $3,500 to American Whitewater.
The first race of the day is the Straight Shooter. This time trial race is for novice paddlers. The racers paddle a straight line through Millrace rapid.
The second race of the day is the Millrace Massacre. This time trial race requires athletes to paddle kayaks/canoes that are 9’ and under. Racers are required to follow a set course through Millrace, catching eddies throughout the rapid.
The final race of the day is the Iceman Championships. This is a mass start, head-to-head endurance race that welcomes racers of all skill levels. Athletes are encouraged to race any type of man-powered craft they see fit. The competitors cover roughly 1.5 miles of paddling, running, and swimming. This race is brutal and challenging on many different levels. In our eyes, every competitor that enters and finishes this race is a winner. In the end, the fastest male and female paddlers are crowned the Iceman Champions!
The Iceman is held at the Saluda Riverwalk Park. The races take place in and around the Millrace rapid on the Saluda. Spectators can watch from along boardwalk. There will be a DJ, vendors and a food truck. Bierkeller is tentatively scheduled to set up a beer garden after the races are completed. After the the race is completed we will be raffling a custom colored medium Dagger Code, along with several other prizes.
Over the last 22 years we’ve been incredibly fortunate to receive generous donations of
prizes, food, and logistical support for the races. This support for the Millrace Massacre and Iceman Championships has helped build this event to what it is today, as well as building wonderful relationships with local businesses, whitewater paddling retailers, manufacturing companies, and anyone who carries the stoke for the love of whitewater. Thank y’all so much.
Interested in becoming a sponsor? Click the link below.
The Straight Shooter
The first race of the day is the Straight Shooter. This is a beginner friendly time trial race through Millrace. Athletes are required to paddle kayaks/canoes that are 9’ and under. Participants follow a straight course through Millrace. The race has both a Men’s and Women’s class. The race was added in 2018 to encourage participation of paddlers of all skill levels.
The Millrace Massacre
The first race of the day is the Millrace Massacre. This time trial race requires athletes to paddle kayaks/canoes that are 9’ and under. Racers are required to follow a set course through Millrace, catching eddies throughout the rapid. Straying from the course results in a time penalty. The race has both a Men’s and Women’s class, each of which has a cash payout for first place. In 2018 we added a beginner-friendly course through Millrace - the “Straight Shooter” line - to allow participation of paddlers of all skill levels.
The Iceman Championships
The second race of the day is the Iceman Championships. This is a mass start, head-to-head endurance race that welcomes racers of all skill levels. Athletes are encouraged to race any type of man-powered craft they see fit. The race course goes as follows: mass start roughly 400 yards upstream of Millrace; racers navigate through Millrace and the Pop-up Hole, then start the long flatwater slog to the Zoo bridge and back upriver to the Sandy Beach; racers exit their boat and carry them back up to the top of Millrace, navigating it for a second time; racers must exit their boats above the Pop-up Hole and swim to the finish line at the Sandy Beach with their gear – including their boat - in tow. In total, the competitors cover roughly 1.5 miles of paddling, running, and swimming. This race is brutal and challenging on many different levels. In our eyes, every competitor that enters and finishes this race is a winner. In the end, the fastest Male and Female are crowned the Iceman Champions!
The cash prizes are drawn from race entry fees; all other prizes come from donations from sponsors.
Prizes to be Awarded
Cash to first place Female and Male winners in the Massacre
2nd and 3rd place Female and Male winners in the Massacre
1st, 2nd, 3rd place Female and Male winners in the Straight Shooter
1st, 2nd, 3rd male/female winners in the Iceman Championships
Our community is what makes this event possible, and our sponsors are big part of that growing community. We encourage you to give them you patronage throughout the year and thank them for their support of our rivers, our community, and the Iceman.
If you would like to become a sponsor or donate prize click on the button below .
Our 2022 Sponsors
Mast General Store
Half Moon Outfitters
Edward Jones (Chris Barnhill)
1st Choice Realty (Tyler Keen)
We are still planning for the 2023 Iceman, if you are interested in helping out let us know.
The races will begin at noon. Prior to that racers will have an opportunity to practice and run laps through the course. During the race there will be a DJ, a food truck and vendor booths.
We will be accepting donations to American Whitewater, and providing you an opportunities to win several ranging from original art work to paddling gear to kayak instruction. New items are being donated everyday! We will also be giving away a one of kind custom-colored Dagger kayak made just for the Iceman!