Text by Danny Doran
Photos by Tumblerock Media
In the past 5 years, Kenny Unser has executed his vision of a unified race series taking place on some of New York’s finest whitewater. Labor Day weekend marks the beginning of the fall paddling season in the Adirondack Mountains and kayakers travel from all over to take place in the festivities.
This weekend I met a hand paddler from Montana, some hooligans from Tennessee, and countless Canadians. The Raquette River located in Colton, New York, is a Class V stretch that has you begging for more as soon as you shoot through its last major rapid: Particle Accelerator.
The Raquette Race is nothing to joke about. Straight out of the gate, the racers have to navigate through Colton Falls. This year’s winner was Emrick Blanchette followed by Pat Keller and Charles Arseneault.
On Saturday night around 300 kayakers gathered in a field just across the pond from the old Taylorville camp spot. As the event has grown over the years, it was necessary to find a new location to house all of the new paddlers. This year’s location was a huge success, complete with a gigantic bonfire, nighttime swimming, and even a pizza truck with homemade pizzas.
We woke up Sunday morning and headed to the Moshier section of the Beaver River for its one day per year release and then onto the race at the Eagle section. The Eagle section is steep and short, with the winning race times generally hovering around 1:30 seconds. It is a dead sprint to the finish and this year, Pat Keller came out on top with a time of 1:21.
On October 17th, we will finish the race series on the bottom section of the Moose River in Old Forge, NY. Hope to see you there. For race results and more information on how to get involved, please visit www.whitewaterkingofnewyork.com
–See past stories and videos from the King of New York series.