Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Paddle Smart Symposium 2010

Sticker courtesy of Castine Kayak. Yes, you too can buy one of these badass stickers for your own car or boat! Simply go to the event.

The 2010 Paddle Smart Symposium is something I look forward to every spring. Workshops, water demos, door's all good, and it's all about staying smart and safe on the water.

But wait...there's more! You can also pick up some very useful tips & techniques. Or learn about favorite paddling trips and trip planning. Learn how to put together a "plan of action" in case of an emergency. Or maybe you're new to paddling and you don't know where to begin when it comes to buying a boat, a paddle, or a life jacket. There will be on-the-water equipment demos and gear discussions to help you out with all of that.

Donate $5 at the door to support the event and you'll be entered into a drawing for a brand new sea kayak! Sweet.

And for anyone interested in doing the Kenduskeag, the good folks at MaCKRO (Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Organization) will be hosting yet another "Kenduskeag Prep" session at Paddle Smart. This will be the third year they have put this popular session together; check it out.

(And be sure to check out the Kenduskeag tips section on my website. That can be found right

Choosing which session to attend can be tough! This year, I think I'll attend the "river reading" session presented by the Penobscot Paddle & Chowder Society in addition to a "what to do if you capsize" demo which is held at the swimming pool.

If you live within driving distance and you're into paddling, you really owe it to yourself to spend some time at this annual event. Veteran paddlers return year after year and there are many good reasons for that. It's informative AND fun.

When & Where:
Friday, April 9th, 2010
Husson University (Newman Gym)

Check out Castine Kayak's downloadable, printable schedule of events at Paddle Smart 2010.


Passy River Race: Fun In The Sun


The Passy River Race on Saturday was a blast. The weather was beautiful (I have a mild sunburn to prove it) and the water was truly inviting.

Over 100 paddlers participated this year. It was nice to see so many young paddlers involved in this year's race.

In part, this is clearly the result of hard work by the Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Organization (MaCKRO) to engage young people in the sport of paddling. If the St. George and Passy River races are any indication, these efforts seem to be working!

I've posted some race photos here.

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Next Up: Passy River Race!


The second chapter of Maine's all-too-brief whitewater
season begins near Belfast on Saturday, April 3rd at 11am.

Passy River Race - Saturday, April 3rd at 11am
at Littlefield Farm near Belfast

Registration: 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Cost: $20 per paddler

Race Location & Directions: Take Rte 7/137 NW out of Belfast. After about 3 miles, take a left on Shepard Rd. (Side note: about a half mile up Shepard Rd is where the race ends, at a spot where the river comes close to the road. You'll see lots of cars and paddlers and if in doubt, just ask someone where the start is!) Continue up Shepard Rd. At the stop sign, bear right onto Poors Mill Rd, then after about a half mile, bear right again. Continue across the bridge on Poors Mill Rd, and after about 1.5 miles, bear right onto Savage Rd (a dirt road). The start is about a half mile up Savage Rd where the river goes under the road.

Course:Race starts at the Littlefield Farm, first mile is flat water with many curves. Course passes under a cement bridge to another mile of flat water followed by a short stretch of Class II rapids. A two-mile stretch of flat water to the Rolerson’s bridge, then Class I, II and III whitewater for a mile and a half, leading to a flatwater stretch to the finish. According to race director Dale Cross, "...this river also finishes with about a mile straightaway, very wide. It’s like a stock car finish. You can see people all around you, so it’s really cool. Several boats wide could finish at the same time."

(Source for Dale Cross quote: Bangor Daily News article).

* * * * *
Stop by the Waldo County YMCA to register for the St. George or call (207) 338-4598.

More information can be found on the
Waldo County YMCA canoe race page.


St. George River Race Sees Nice Turnout


According to this Bangor Daily News article, over 100 paddlers took part in the St. George River Race earlier today. (The article also features a short video).

I've also posted my photos from the race here.

UPDATE: Full race results for the St. George have been posted! Download the document here. Courtesy of the Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Organization (MaCKRO)


Baby, It's Cold Outside

A note from Jeff Owen, President of the Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Organization (MaCKRO) on the eve of the season-opening St. George River Race:

Paddled the St. G with the clinic yesterday with a nice large group, experts and novices (and everything in between). The water level is awesome--most rocks covered, some really nice wave trains and eddy lines, but not too pushy. The race should be fun and fast.

BUT, please be extra cautious regarding proper clothing with the forecasted temperatures only in the teens or twenties for race time. Those are "dangerous cold" temperatures if you get wet anywhere where help is not immediately available. If you see paddlers on shore who have just swum, it'll be a good day to just automatically pull in and help (instead of the usual yell of "you okay?"). Let's be safe out there!


St. George River: A Paddler's Point Of View

Ray Wirth of Belfast (and Water Walker Sea Kayaks) has posted a nifty video on YouTube of his paddle down the St. George River on March 17th. The river looks good and hopefully our recent rains will have boosted the water levels a tad.

Update 3/25: According to this Bangor Daily News article, the recent rains have raised the river levels, and so the St. George is "...even better now. It’s so close to perfect it’s not even funny.”


This Week: St. George River Paddling Clinic & Race!

If you're looking to try out a race or just get your sea legs back, the St. George River Race is just the ticket!

This season-opening race is always a lot of fun and there are prizes to be won. And as the St. George Race is a good 10.5 miles shorter than the Kenduskeag, it's the perfect "primer" race.

But wait! There's more. If you are new to paddling and you want to prep yourself for any of the races this spring and summer (including the Kenduskeag, of course) you can try out a paddling clinic hosted by the good people at MaCKRO (Maine Canoe & Kayak Racing Organization).

You will have to fill out an American Canoe Association (ACA) waiver form, which I have provided links for right here. You can download the waiver forms for both minors and adults. (These are PDF documents).

St. George River Race (Paddling Clinic): Thursday, March 25th at 4pm, Searsmont.

Bring the applicable waivers and your boat. Clinic is free. Experienced paddlers will guide you through the stream at your own pace. Designed for fun and for building confidence!

St. George River Race - Saturday, March 27th at 11am at Searsmont.

Registration: 8:30 - 10:30 a.m.
Cost: $20 per paddler
Race Location: Searsmont Methodist Church, Route 131, Searsmont, Maine
Course: Race starts at St. George Bridge in Searsmont Village. Three miles of dead water, 1 mile of rapids, 2 miles of dead water and curves with one Class III drop. This race has Class II – III rapids (plus or minus depending on the water level.)

* * * * *
Stop by the Waldo County YMCA to register for the St. George or call (207) 338-4598.

More information can be found on the
Waldo County YMCA canoe race page.


New Facebook Page For Canoe Race

If you're one of the 400+ million users of the venerable social networking site known as Facebook, you can now become a fan of the newly minted Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race page.

Updates, comments and fan photos are welcome. Or you can just stick around here and haunt the blog. That's cool too.


Are You Experienced?


Tough sledding on the St. George - 2009

Certain traditions in March allow me to mentally check out of winter.
I can pinch someone on St. Patricks Day if they neglect to wear green and my chances of being slapped are at least 50% lower than if I tried to do this on any other day. Girl Scout cookies are on sale, certain types of which should be classified as habit-forming drugs. We set our clocks ahead one hour but the net effect is at least five times that, and many of us are grumpier than post-hibernation bears on Monday morning.

And John Holyoke interviews Dale Cross for the Bangor Daily News.
As far as I'm concerned, spring is officially here.

Dale Cross, the director of the season-opening St. George River Race on March 27th (as well as the Passy River Race which takes place the following week), offers sage advice for newcomers to paddling:

“...I think it’s wise for folks that are just getting started … that they go with other folks that may understand the sport a little better,” Cross said. “It keeps everybody safe. It’s important to back up two steps and make sure they’ve got the proper equipment...I think that what any paddler needs to do is just get in the boat...flat water, anywhere they can get in where it’s safe, to get their sea legs.. get some things straightened out with a partner, on flat water, before they get into the whitewater stuff."

Read John Holyoke's full article here from the Bangor Daily News. Cross briefly outlines each of the upcoming races. Highly recommended reading as we approach the Maine whitewater season.


2010 Whitewater Season Just Around The Bend


Captain Morgan cruises by during the 2009 race
The whitewater season in Maine is almost upon us, and this blog is officially out of hibernation for the next couple of months. Woo-Hoo!
I mean, Arrrr!

Lots to talk about in the near future, but here's a wee dram:
The St. George River Race opens things up in just a few weeks, and get this...the St. George River has already iced out. I'll have more on the St. George (including when & where) in about a week.

If you haven't pre-registered for the 2010 Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, what in the name of Long John Silver are you waiting for??

Whether you plan to go solo or assemble a motley-looking crew, pre-registration saves you time and money. $36 per paddler this year if you wait until race day to sign up, but only $18 per paddler if you beat the deadline (Friday, April 16th at 1pm).

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