Coolville Paddle Sports Race
8.4 mile canoe, kayak, and paddle board race
Finish Time: 1:26:34
Overall Place: 7th overall kayak
Division Place: 2nd place
Race Review By Scott Orlando
This was my first time competing in the Coolville Paddle Sports Race. I haven’t been kayaking as much as I would normally like in order to prepare for a race like this but with so few races happening this year I decided I would give it a shot. Many kayak racers have stated that this is one of their favorite races in Ohio and after my experience at the race I can now certainly understand why. The race takes place on the Lower Hocking River close to the Ohio West Virginia Border. The course starts with 4.2 miles of up river paddling with a tight turnaround under a bridge followed by another 4.2 miles back to the finish line. The river is fairly wide with little to know current . I actually didn’t see much difference at all in the water speed from the up river to the down river sections. The race was very small this year and scaled down due to the pandemic. The total race field was about 20 paddlers. I think the cold temperatures, scaled down race, and pandemic kept a lot of recreational as well as competitive paddlers at home. I will say that the paddlers that were there were some of the best in the area which made for a very fast race field. The only kayak races I have completed at this distance have been all down river so my plan was to start a little slower and hopefully rely on my cardio training to help me pass other kayakers in the later parts of the race as they became fatigued. It was a good plan in theory but in practice didn’t work so well as the strong field of paddlers never slowed down. The race classes adhered to strict USCA guidelines. I raced my Stellar SR Multi Sport which was in the touring class that included kayaks 18′ – 20′ in length. I finished 2nd in the class well off the pace of the winner of the class who also finished 4th overall. I really enjoyed the course and thought the race was really well organized. Hopefully the race will bounce back strong next year with a larger field that I plan to be a part of.