The stars aligned just right for the 4th annual Cuyahoga Falls Kayak Race with fluffy flows, perfect weather, jammin group of people and an overall high stoke vibe. This race has come a long way in the past 4 years and always amazes me to see the community so intrested and supportive of the event and kayaking in general. Also very humbled by the people who sacrifice their day to making it happen including Don Howdyshell and an army of volunteers.
The level this year had everyone on there toes. Rain almost all week before made for higher flows and even “over cut-off” online gauge readings the night before the race. Even members of the saftey team were wondering if the race would happen. Luckily Don, being the local-yocal and whitewater mayor of the Sheraton, assured us that the online gauge was false due to it being downstream of the confluence with the Little Cuyahoga and the race was most definitely ON!!
Races kicked off with the safety team at high noon so their times were in, then boater X in full throttle at 1PM. Canage and head to head competition was in no lack and the action was pumping. 1st: Jeff Hall. Time trials, long and short boat came next with Adam Homberg taking 1st in longboat and Bryan Kirk 1st in shortboat. With carnage ramping, still nobody was hurt due to a killer safety team fishing out all the swimmers and what not.
The event scene this year seemed livelier than ever with the massive Sweetwater Brewery tent and smaller tents including Stuck In Ohio, Monster Energy, Burning River Adventures and a few other venders. As always the racers received a free beer and food voucher with registration. The prizes this year were beautiful wood carved medallions that I personally loved along with a few other goodies including an Astral Green Jacket and an Immersion Research Paddle Jacket. Overall it seemed to be a great success and another year for this young race to grow more meaningful for kayakers and the community.
– Tommy Piros