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Top Plankwalker Named At National Walk the Plank Championship

KEY WEST (CBS4)- A pirate re-enactor from Baltimore successfully defended his title Saturday at the annual National Walk the Plank Championship in Key West.

The championship is a  wet and wacky highlight of Key West's Pirates in Paradise Maritime Heritage & Music Festival.

Dressed as Santa Claus, Klaus Chroszielewski emerged as the top plankwalker. He won last year's contest looking like King Neptune.

Pirate re-enactors from around the United States demonstrated their plank-walking skills in the hilarious challenge, that took place Key West's historic Schooner Wolf. The event is believed to be the only competitive opportunity in America for plank-walking practitioners.

Contestants plead for mercy before plunging off a plank into the briny deep. As well as their pleas, challengers were judged on their costumed attire, overall plank-walking style and splash.

National Walk the Plank
Tommy Smith competes in the National Walk the Plank contest Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, in Key West, Fla. The Shawnee, OK, resident participated in the competition that was a facet of Key West's annual Pirates in Paradise festival that ends Sunday.(Source: Bert Budde/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

Created to appeal to children and adults alike, Pirates in Paradise attracts hundreds of buccaneer aficionados and costumed re-enactors each year to the island city renowned for its adventurous seafaring history.

The festival continues through Sunday with activities including tall ship sailing excursions, the Pirate Village Marketplace, Art Fair & Holiday Bazaar with nonstop entertainment by strolling minstrels and other performers, swashbuckling film presentations and a "scurvy crew" pirate party and feast.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Andy Newman of the Florida Keys News Bureau contributed material for this report)

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