Blazing Paddles Paddle Race
2 mile, 5.7, mile, and 12.9 mile SUP, Kayak, and Canoe Races
5.7 Mile Kayak Race (Fast Sea Kayak Division)
Finish Time: 53:16
Overall Place: 6th Place
Division Place: 1st Place.
Race Recap by Scott Orlando
This was the second year for the Blazing Paddles race and the first year that it was open to kayaks and canoes. The race was actually a series of 3 races. A 2 mile race, 5.7 mile race and 12.9 mile race were all offered. Each race had separate divisions for all of the different shapes and sizes of paddle boards and boats. The race itself was amazing! I believe there were over 300 boats and boards on the water. Having the opportunity to paddle the Cuyahoga River Flats with restricted power boat traffic was something special. I competed in the out and back 5.7 mile race. The race began with some choppy water created by the mass start but smoothed out as the race field spread out across the river. Not knowing a lot about that part of the river I chose to compete in my Stellar S16 Multisport. This kayak gave me the stability I needed at the start. I felt very strong and pushed hard to keep pace with the front of the race field. The first half of the race was up stream and then it was around a buoy to finish the second half down stream. There wasn’t much current in either direction in the deep channel of the river. I was surprised when I made the turn to see how many faster longer boats I was in front of which motivated me to really dig in and paddle hard. The best part of the race by far was paddling under the giant water arc created by the docked fire boat cannon. I am hoping someone took photos of all the boats passing underneath with the Cleveland skyline in view. I passed a few paddle boards in the second half of the race but kept my position to the other kayaks and held them off for a very strong finish. I was very pleased with my performance having beat some longer faster boats and a few people I have never beaten in any race. Unfortunately due to some timing issues I was not included in the awards ceremony. I reported the issue to the race directors. It took a day or two, but they were able to correct the issue and add me to the results placing me 6th overall and 1st in my race class. Although there were some logistics issues with the pre and post race, it was a wonderful event. I believe most of the issues occurred due to the explosion of last minute race registrations. Please do your race organizers a favor and register for events early when possible giving them better opportunity and time to prepare. I am sure any issues will be worked out for next year’s race. The race celebrated and raised funds for the Share The River group to help the continued return of the Cuyahoga River.