Pyranha Logo
facebook twitter vimeo




The New Haven Race…Grassroots Creek Racing At It’s Finest


This Year I finally had the great pleasure of participating in the annual New Haven River Race near Bristol, Vermont.  While I’ve been make the commute across Lake Champlain from New York to paddle the New Haven “Ledges” section for several years, this was the first chance I’ve had to make it to the race since they started holding it in 2009.  As temperatures rose into the 70’s (That’s Fahrenheit) the day before, melting all the snow and bringing the river up to a fantastic flow on Friday evening, it was clear that I had chosen a good year to attend.  It was a great opportunity to see so many of the great folks that I hadn’t seen since Moose Fest. and do some fantastic paddling.

© scott martin-2370

A huge thank you goes out to Scott Martin and Nick Gottlieb.  They took a ton of photos and shared them graciously.  If you get a chance visit their sites: Scott Martin Images and Nicholas

© scott martin-1917


© scott martin-2497

At the competitors meeting, held on the side of the river early Saturday morning, it was clear the flow was too high to hold a safe race but the river was dropping fast.  Racers and organizers agreed to hold a sprint race above the major rapids for the morning, and then see what the flow was like for a possible afternoon run.

© scott martin-1901

You’re gonna shorten the race to where???

Everyone had fun racing the thirty second sprint course that included a great start ramp constructed by the organizers.  We wrapped the sprint up around noon at which point myself and some other very eager racers took a run down the still “juicy” full race course.  We all agreed that the course was difficult, but reasonable to hold a race.  After much debate amongst the organizers and competitors, the race was on!!!

© scott martin-2338

I was the first racer off the starting ramp and almost immediately began to have a sloppy run.  I bumped rocks and almost came to a complete stop in a rapid called “Secret Compartment.” I was paddling hard and definitely in the moment.  Towards the end of the four minute fourty-five second course there is a rapid called “Rooster Tail” where I had a little trouble in my practice run earlier.  Well…It got me again.  I flipped at the top and made a really slow roll before taking a few strokes before the final waterfall called toaster.  I sprinted for the finish line with my heart about to beat out of my chest.

Matt Young lining up

I knew I had a lackluster run, and the group of talented Vermonters paddling behind me would probably keep me off the podium (which they did) but you still couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  I love racing my kayak down difficult whitewater.  There is something about putting the bib on, and paddling harder than would otherwise be reasonable that is so damn fun regardless of the result.

© scott martin-2335

It was so good to see a lot of the faces I hadn’t seen since September, catch-up, and talk about our plans for the great season ahead of us.  A big thanks to the group of guys that poured their hearts and souls into organizing the New Haven Race this year.  I am sure the decision making was stressful, but from where I sit, it was definitely worth it.

1 ping

  1. The New Haven Race…Grassroots Creek Racing At It’s Finest | Whitewater News Blog - Kayaking, Rafting, Canoe, SUP & River Conservation says:

    […] Read the full story over at the Team Pyranha Blog. […]

Comments have been disabled.