Westfield River Race

Has anyone ever run the Westfield River Race in Massachusetts?

I would like to try it this year, but am not sure what to expect. I paddle flatwater only, but my understanding is that unless you run the expert route, the rapids are fairly tame.

My questions are what kind of kayak should I use? I’m debating between Necky Manitou 13 (my preferred), or an Emotion Glide (stable, but slow with a cavernous opening to take in water).

Also, are any kind of shuttles available to take people back to the start of course to get cars?

Any advice would be appreciated. I am not a novice, but a fast moving, freezing river is new for me. By the way, I will be wearing a PFD, dry-suit, helmet, and skirt (nylon, unless I can find one in neopro for the kayak I settle on.)

Thanks for any advice.


Westfield canoe race

Here are some pictures …
from the Hill and Dale Rapid which I believe is the largest on the Novice Run.


I’ve never actually run the race (I was there to help with the safety crew), but it seems well run, so there must be shuttles to get you back to your car. My understanding is that it is mostly flatwater below Hill & Dales (maybe someone else will chime in). I’m an open boater, but I think you would be fine with a 13’ boat. The shorter boat would be tough in the flats.

Hoping to do the expert run with Daggermat this spring - we’ll see.

Thanks again to all

– Last Updated: Feb-26-12 9:46 AM EST –

I really appreciate the advice from everyone.

I will definitely paddle the Manitou. I much prefer that kayak, but thought maybe the stability of the Glide would be helpful. The reason I outgrew the Glide after one season is that it was too slow, and I don't think I will appreciate that any more in a race.

I found someone who plans to canoe the race, so we now have two cars for shuttling.

I hope to see some of you there.


dang, my posts dissapeared
must have been while playing with my android thingamabob. Looks like you got the info. I had posted, and like I nentioned NPMB will be posting info as time approaches.

Stability in whitewater . . .
. . . is primarily gained via the leverage of your paddle in the water.

Take a look at some photos of whitewater races. The more experienced paddlers will have a blade in the water, the less experienced, maybe not.

In the words of one of my mentors, “Paddle with authority!”