Portraits of Vermont Kayaking
Capturing the faces behind Vermont's New Haven Ledges Race
PHOTOS AND TEXT BY SCOTT MARTIN
The weekend before last I headed to the New Haven Race in Bristol, Vt., in hopes of photographing some of Vermont’s rarely documented local paddlers. This particular mission was especially exciting to me as traveling to Vermont always gives me a real sense of being in the mountains. The rivers there are steep, the people are friendly, and it’s not often you see portraits of the local paddlers at their home run for the unique, two-lap Ledges race. The time-trial race starts from a ramp next to the road and extends just over a half-mile to 15-foot Toaster Falls. Each racer is allowed two laps. In the end, Tino Specht claimed both the creek- and longboat titles with blistering times pushing the four-minute mark. There was something else unique, however, off the water, beyond the race times, that keeps bringing me back north. I can’t put my finger on it, so I tried to capture it in the faces of the passionate racers who call this stretch home.