All American River race
by Elaine Campbell
This past weekend Jeff and I raced the All American River Race on the Quinebaug River in Sturbridge, MA. The race is put on by the Sturbridge MA Lions Club as a fundraiser to help individuals in the community and worldwide who are blind and visually impaired. It's one the oldest and largest river races in New England. It was a great event to be a part of.
It's a 6 mile long race mostly flat water and a couple of Class II rapids. Jeff raced the Wave Hopper and I raced the Pau Hana Big EZ Air SUP. I decided I wanted to challenge myself for this race so I went with the SUP. Jeff started a minute ahead of me and had a great start out of the gate. There's a mandatory portage and he had some trouble getting his skirt back on but other than that his race was pretty flawless. He took first in the long boat category.
My race was a little interesting lot's of low bridges and low hanging trees. The river was pretty narrow most of the way so I didn't have many options when it came to avoiding tree limbs and branches. I would have to get on my knees and sometimes lie down on the board to avoid getting my head taken off by a bridge or get a face full of branches. There's a mandatory portage and an optional portage and I portaged both. The optional portage was a broken dam that I was told has rebar sticking up and it could puncture my board since it's an inflatable, I opted to walk around it. The two class II rapids were a bit tricky on the SUP because the deepest lines were in the trees. I had to do some interesting maneuvering around those. I only fell in once and it was at the end of the last rapid. I hit a rock trying to avoid a face full of branches and got knocked off but luckily getting back on is really easy.
The event had lot's of spectators and over 100 competitors. A lot of canoes and kayaks and just me on the SUP. Jeff and I had a great time and met some really awesome people. Jeff took first place in the long boat cateogory and I took first and last in the SUP since I was the only one. We are so glad we decided to go.
This weekend I'll be at the Saratoga Paddle Fest in NY with Wave Sport. Come by and try some boats out!
Here's a link to some photos
Here's a video from the race i put together.
Till next time,