Canoe Racing????

My girlfriend and I are getting into tandem paddling and are interested in getting into racing…but I know little to nothing about canoe racing.

Can anyone point me in the right direction to find out more about canoe racing and about scheduled events in the northeast? I’m not even sure about the different types / classes of racing.



Event down your way next week

2 in the Northeast

– Last Updated: Oct-14-10 7:50 PM EST –

New England Canoe and Kayak Racing ( and New York Marathon Canoe Racing ( Both host a number of events. If you want to be competive get a Pro Boat and train, train, train. Or bring what you got and race the rec class. It can be addictive.

work up to this one

– Last Updated: Oct-14-10 9:57 PM EST –

on waters that eventually flow past your home

Decide now, resistance is futile
I have been racing for years, win some, lose most. I Lost 30 pounds, fear of high blood pressure, and and fear of losing…

Go for it Matt. Missed you at Raystown

Used to always beat Baldpaddler
when I was in the bow, but now that we can’t trim the boat out anymore with me in front, he now wins all the races. I have to say that I got into racing purely for the commeraderie and as just a way to get exercise and prove to myself that I could do it. Winning some races was just icing on the cake. The Mid-Atlantic Paddlers Association publishes a list of races for your area. Start out with some short ones to find out what kind of food & hydration sit well with you (everyone has their own preferences) and what partners you like paddling with (or go solo). Then worry about what type of boat you want to race. After doing a few, you’ll inevitably start getting boat envy…

This weekend (Sunday)
Matt, this one is in NJ

Cooper River Park

Pennsauken, New Jersey

United States

Goodbye gentle drifting.

– Last Updated: Oct-15-10 12:31 PM EST –

It's over. It only takes maybe one or two races. If it takes, there is no going back. Your fleet will grow and grow. Your paddle selection will look like the finest of outfitters. Duct tape and foam will cover your craft. You may never notice a duck again as you are seeking the hottest line. Welcome... booowaahhhaa haaa haaa...

just have to hunt around and find races and enter. If you can find some with beginner classes thats a great place to start. Get good paddles. ZRE paddles are pretty standard race equipment. Train hard, work on hydration and food. Both of them are pretty important, and what works when you are just paddling will probably be puked up when racing.

This guy has a great site with racing tips

Check out WaterTribe for long distance racing tips (in their “magazine” section)

The Missouri River 340 website has a forum too with tons of great information on long distance racing, as well as a classified ad section where you can usually find great deals on racing boats.

PA canoe races
There are several in the spring that i have journeyed south to race in. The Keystone Canoe Club has their race on the upper Schulkyll River north of Reading and just downstream from the big Cabelas Store. Itrs about 10 miles downriver from one park to another. A well run race with recreational classes and racing classes for canoes and kayaks. No WW or tight manuevering, some shallows and old eel weirs to negotiate. Lots of prizes for almost everyone who finishes.

Another is the Northbrook Canoe Challenge on the Brandywine Creek near West Chester PA. Its run for the Chester County United Cerebral Palsy. About 8 miles downriver on what starts as a small creek and finishes as a medium sized creek. Lots of boats, well over 100. Mostly recreational tandem canoes. Its a timed race with a canoe launching every ten seconds. Some fast water sections, but no WW. Classes for Girl and Boy Scouts, school bus drivers, old folks. Both this race and the Keystone Race are the same weekend in late April, early May. Keystone on Saturday, Northbrook on Sunday.

In the fall, usually the first saturday in October, there is a great little race in Tom’s River NJ. About 8 miles down the Tom’s River, ending in the town of Tom’s River. Tight, Twisty stream. Another race against the clock with a boat starting every minute. Classes for canoes and kayaks, and some open water races downriver and out into a bay and back. You register at the finish line and they transport you and canoe upriver to the start. The open water races are loops from the finish line downstream and back.

The spring icebreaker is up in NW PA. in Emporium PA. Downriver about 10 miles on a fast big creek that would be a major river in NJ Almost all fast water that still has chunks of ice in it most years. A well run race with lots of recreation classes. Its easy to spot the tricky parts of the course, there are people on both shores with lawn chairs, and video cameras on tripods, and rescue guys in Gumby Suits. Lots of carnage and hypothermic people in jeans and cotton sweatshirts. Major hazards are submerged boulders and standing waves. Really dependent on water level and that depends on snowmelt and rain.

The Philadelphia Canoe Club runs 3 races at their clubhouse on the Schulkyll. They are loop races of 1 to 8 miles. The upriver legs can be easy or torture depending on water flow. You can paddle any kind of canoe or kayak, they all go off together. Usually get a doorprize for finishing that is worth more than your entry fee. Same guy, Glen Green, is running the Cooper River Race this Sunday that Andy mentions above.

The Cooper River race and two others in NJ during the summer are just minutes across the Delaware from Philadelphia. Easy flatwater rivers, only current is from tidal flow. Glen Greeen posts a schedule of races on the Philadelphia Canoe Club website.

On of my favorite races in the spring is the Round-the-Mountain Race in Saranac Lake NY in May. Its about 10 miles of flatwater across 3 lakes, two ponds and down the Saranac River. It has one short carry around a lock on the river at about the halfway mark. The unique thing about this race is the start and finish lines are about a mile apart across the village of Saranac Lake.The scenery in the spring is my favorite part of it. Everything is so green, and you have 10 miles of great Adirondack vistas.

there are so many other races to paddle, from the General Clinton Regatta (AKA the 70miler) on Memorial Day to the Adirondack Canoe Classic (AKA the 90 miler) the weekend after Labor Day. It does become addictive as mentioned. But its all good, you condition yourself, you learn teamwork with your partner, you get outside and see lots of scenery at a much slower pace than in a car, and you make lots of friends.

Red Cross Randy, the Baldpaddler, Jack L, from the Carolinas; Glen L. from the Adirondacks, are regulars here on Paddling.Net that i met thru canoe races. There are dozens of people from just the 90 miler that i count now as friends. The song from that race says" 90 miles of hard work and 90 miles of water, 90 miles of family and friends." And it is so true.

The best training for any canoe racing is seat time in the boat with your partner. Paddle every kind of water you can, paddle longer and longer distances as you train. And practice your carries, a lot. Races are won on the water, and lost on the carries.


Get book too
Peter Heed wrote THE marathon canoe racing book. I think its called “Canoe Racing” or marathon canoe racing. Writes about technique, strokes, strategy, training etc etc. YOu can get it on amazon.

There are plenty of canoe racing videos on youtube too,

The oldest canoe race in the county has some links on there website…i think to race forums etc.

google other race such as the Yukon River Quest, Missouri River 340, Texas Water Safari, Le Classique etc etc…they all have links to more info other than the race itself.

Wenonah canoes has a special section of just their racing canoes online…i think look for “pro-boats”

Pretty comprehensive list
Matt, take a look at the Keystone Kayak website. Here is a link to their page that lists a ton of races.


slalom as well

Once you get hooked if the two of you

– Last Updated: Oct-17-10 7:40 PM EST –

gel, there is no turning back!

First bit of advice: don't get discouraged with each other. Give yourselves a good year of paddling together, and then it will improve every year after that.

- there are a lot of races that have classes for a variety of canoes as well as ages.
For instance: plastic canoes 17 feet and under, composite canoes 17 feet and under, racing canoes 18 feet and above, Ages catagories: some in ten year increments, others 50 and under, 50 to 60, and over 60.
Very few have the same classes, and some only have a few classes.
You would be in the C-2 mixed class.

If you get into it, and want to race with the fastest and best, you will need a "pro Boat", but don't run out and buy one until you are sure racing is for you.

The learning curve on canoe racing never stops and is a tremendous way to stay healthy as well as have fun.

My wife and I just got back from the Suwannee river Race in north Florida, and through racing up and down the east coast have made many lasting friends whom we never would have met if it wasn't for the racing.

Ask any of your questions here, and you will get good advice from a variety of racers.

If you are interested in Marathon racing, there is a great training video by The Fries, and you can get it through J& J Canoe in upstate NY

Jack L

Hi Jack, how was the Suwanee? I assumed it was run from White Springs down…

This is the first time I missed it in since 2007 (a business travel compound with low water did not help).


If you want to practice with us

We like learners. Our group members did quite well this year. We don’t mess around while practicing on the water. Socializing after practice is always fun, but there is no time for dallying and drifting. We hit a lot of races in PA, OH and NY. Almost always someone from our group going which can aid in coordinating your day.

We missed you
Everyone was wondering where you were.

the water was the lowest that I have ever seen it and the flow was nil (14 cfs).

They started it below White Springs.

Fifty yards after the start paddlers had to go single file through a narrow place between two sets of limestone rock, so you can visualize the mad scramble.

One guy with a Epic 18 with that skeg like undrstern rudder type skeg widgit tore it up and broke the stern of his boat about half way down the course, and many of the other boats including ours had a lot of bad scrapes.

Many of us opted out of the 50 miler and did the shorter 29 miler, so we wouldn’t be on the river after dark trying to see all the impediments.

It was still a lot of fun with a lot of the regulars and quite a few new racers all hob nobbing before and then again at the award ceremony.

Jack L

You in the Bow
While most men I see out paddling for easy recreation are in the stern, most mixed marathon teams put the man in the bow and the usually lighter woman in the stern. The idea is if you have more power and weight, it will have less yaw and less of a trim issue in the bow.

I could be really wrong, as I am no expert on racing or go-fast, but I believe this is the case.

The bow paddler
Can transfer more power to the boat then the stern paddler. Not sure how or why it works that way, but many many years ago when I raced in the rec class and my brother raced in the boat specific race classes, the wisdom of that day was that the nature of a canoe’s design, you get more power -speed from your bow paddler then you do from your stern paddler. Do I know this for a fact? No, just what was the word back then.

less yaw
and a tighter paddling station allows for solid full stroke. besides with a good team all the fun is up in the front!