Pittsburgh Paddle Sports Championships
6 mile Canoe, Kayak, and Paddle Board Race
Men’s Touring Composite Class
Finish Time: 59:26
Finish Place: 15th Overall
Division Place: 5th Place
Race Review By Scott Orlando
The Pittsburgh Paddle Sports Championships was a new event this year added to the weekend long celebration of the Three Rivers known as the Pittsburgh Regatta River Festival. The Pittsburgh Regatta is one of the largest in the country with a weekend full of river and land events drawing hundreds of thousands of people all centered around Point Park and the Three Rivers area. For a new race I must say it was very well organized by the fine people at Performance Kayak and the American Heart Association. The race course consisted of 2 loops around the Three Rivers area. The course was challenging with up river and down river sections but might just be the best river course I have ever raced. Feeding off of the energy of the spectators at Point Park was a real pick up after a tough up river stretch. We even paddled directly past a decommissioned submarine! What I liked about the course besides the scenic views everywhere was that you could see the entire course and field of racers. Often on river races all the participants spread out early and you spend a lot of time alone on the river. This course was wide open making you feel like you were part of something great and not out there alone. The entire race course was closed to power boat traffic and patrolled by the coast guard and police keeping the waters smooth and all of us out there very safe. I raced my Stellar S16 Multisport touring kayak. Racers came from all over PA, OH, VI, and NC many of which used the race as a tune up for next weekend’s National Championships. I finished 15th overall beating several longer faster surf skis. Any time you can beat the surf skis in a shorter touring kayak is a good day. I finished 5th in the composite touring kayak division. 3 of the top finishers in the division did have surf skis so I am left a little confused on the classes and boat definitions. I can only conclude that they either combined composite boats into one division or the specific surf skis used did somehow classify as touring kayaks. Either way I am not complaining as this race probably rates in my top 3 all time kayaking experiences. The huge extra bonus for me is that I actually won the raffle of a brand new Stellar S16 Sport Fiberglass Kayak! Thank you to Performance Kayak, Stellar Kayaks, and the American Cancer Society for donating the kayak and all of their time and effort putting on this amazing event!