They are not what you generally see on the water, not around here anyway.
“Duckatello” was one, paddlewheels made from Coke bottles, piloted by a young woman dressed as a duck, although the bill was backwards. It was fabricated by the NationalArtEducationAssociationFloridaStateUniversity student chapter, its thematic qualities unmistakable, more so than its water dynamics.
The fact that it was made from metal square tubing from bed frame, metal legs from a computer desk, wood, cardboard, plastic bottles and sheets, duct tape, metal bleacher chair, did not help.
These were watercrafted made of junk, river debris, lots of duct tape. The FranklinCountyHigh School one, “S.S. Seasquawk,” made by Pamela Pehrson’s fifth grade, was a plastic tub surrounded by noodles and plastic milk jugs and bottles. Pehrson helped senior Kendyl Meyers to launch it, but she was on her own after that and got nowhere, like so many of her non-buoyant colleagues.
Others, in fact many of the others, got along just fine on the water, past the inflatable Nemo lane markers, and back, to fine, adventurous music played from the judge’s box.
None could compete with the magnificent flight along the water by Christopher Matechik, who works at the marine lab. He flew past the competition in what easily was better than the winner, the “Bearly Floatin’” from RiverSpringsMiddle School, which ran the course it nine minutes.
But Matechik did not compete, not only because employees were disallowed, but so too were superheroes, and Matchechik’s cape, fashioned from an old McDonald’s McNuggest poster, clearly indicated that.
He said he and Dan Overlin and Mary Balthrop put in a combined 48 manhours, wrapping an extensive spine of PVC pipe, with the remnants of a McDonald’s vinyl billboard, blended with polyurethane mesh. The watercraft was named the cNugget.
“It’s made of recycled garbage. It doesn’t mean it has to perform like recycled waste,” Matechik said.
All together there were 16 entries, triple last year’s.
The races were just part of the day. Holly Parker, from Surfrider Foudnation, had one on recycling, as did Barbara Shoplock, from Saturday by the Sea, on “Nature’s Recyclers,” and Hustin Mennemur, from the FSU chemistry department, on “The Chemistry of Plastics.”
Kathy Houck was master of ceremonies, and the right honorable judges Bryce Hill, Peter Marxsen and Rhonda Work.
Felicia Coleman, who directs the marine lab, gave out the awards, which included Titanic Award for the Most Spectacular Failure (many were called but only one was chosen), Most Creative Use of Materials, ‘TrashTrawler by Anni Ross; People’s Choice, “Bearly Floatin’ from the River Springs Middle School and First to Cross the Finish Line, first Bearly Floatin’, second Kentucky Gentleman (The FAMU-FSU Society of Women Engineers , in 9:06, third kNOTical Pirates, made by FSU Sustainable Campus , and fourth, made by Diesel Truck Services, Inc , the “ U S S DTS ,” made from 10-foot wood skids, rubber inner tubes, and recycled truck parts.