Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

No TV Coverage Of Kenduskeag Race

No need to set the VCR or Tivo this year if you are doing the race.

WABI-TV (Channel 5 in Bangor) has decided not to provide television coverage of the 2009 Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race due to budget priorities. (Story here)

The race will be broadcast on the radio and streamed on the web, however:
"For the 13th straight year, Bangor all-sports radio station WZON (620 AM) will provide live coverage of the race on radio. It will also stream live coverage on the internet ( Coverage will start at 8 a.m."

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Bangor Daily News Race Video & Article

And I'd be remiss in my blogging duties if I failed to mention John Holyoke's post race article.


Kenduskeag Water Lookin' Good For All Paddlers!

Over 700 paddlers are registered for the 2008 race, not counting race day registrations!

Powerhouse paddlers Robert Lang (eleven time winner of the Kenduskeag) is returning to the Kenduskeag this year, and Trevor McLean will be participating in this year's race as well.

And from today's Bangor Daily News, quoting Bangor Parks & Recreation director Tracy Willette:

"I think the stream is at a pretty good level for everybody. Not too low, not too high," Willette said. "I think it’s going to be a pretty good course for everybody. I think the technical paddlers, the experienced paddlers, will enjoy it, and I think the beginners and recreational paddlers will have a good course to run."

Read the rest of John Holyoke's article here for more information and last-minute tips!

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A Passel Of Race Prep Information

Jeff Owen of MaCKRO leads the Kenduskeag
sessions at the Paddle Smart event in Bangor
on April 12, 2008.

In case you were not able to attend Paddle Smart 2008 this past weekend which featured special Kenduskeag-related sessions, I took some notes and have posted them on the information page on my canoe race website. I hope you find this information helpful in prepping for the race next Saturday.

By the way, if you'd like to scout out the stream from Six Mile Falls to downtown Bangor in your boat, members of MaCKRO will be hosting an informal paddling event on Friday, April 18. Meet up with other paddlers near the finish line in downtown Bangor (near the Sea Dog) at 4pm. You'll go to Six Mile Falls and paddle (at your own pace and skill level) back to town.

Jeff Strout of the Bangor Daily News wrote a handy article about choosing a kayak that is right for you. So if you are in the market for a new kayak (heck, even if you're not) read Jeff's article here.

John Holyoke (also from the BDN) wrote an article a few days after last year's race - and his article is worth revisiting nearly a year later. "Sage Advice From a River Vulture" can be found here.


Profiles In Paddling: Reinhard Zollitsch

Nice article in the Bangor Daily news this past weekend about solo sea canoe adventurer Reinhard Zollitsch. (read the article here)

Last year I helped Reinhard develop a website which chronicles his epic solo trips on the open ocean in a Verlen Kruger SEA WIND canoe. The website features Reinhard's travel writing and photography spanning twelve years. Truly, an inspiration on many levels.

At 68 years young, Reinhard's next solo trip will take him to the western shores of Newfoundland this summer. A veteran of the Kenduskeag, Reinhard plans to do the 2008 race with his daughter Brenda, a race veteran in her own right.

Grab your favorite beverage and visit Zollitsch Canoe Adventures. There is much to read and think about in this website. This is a good one to bookmark.


2008 Kenduskeag TV & Internet Coverage

WABI-TV5 Bangor (CBS affiliate) will be broadcasting the race from the bridge at Six Mile Falls this year, and there will be a live internet stream available at for $9.95.

To get you stoked, there's a video clip of an Old Town Canoe advertisement combined with a short WABI-TV race promo here.


Other Race Photos & Videos

As we await the race results (should be released any day now) I thought I would take a moment to post some interesting photos and videos from other folks.

Check out this photo gallery from Rhesá Gordon:

Rhesá Gordon - near the finish line in downtown Bangor

And take a look at these videos on YouTube. Pretty cool stuff.

40th Annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race - here's a nifty ten minute video of last year's race by MaineMVP.

Sparky Bob's Six Mile Helmet Cam Video
- This guy straps a video camera to his helmet just before heading into the maelstrom of Six Mile Falls. Cool first-person viewpoint of the rapids and Sparky's rescue. (Warning: there is some rather, umm.."salty" language in portions of this you might well imagine).


Video Clips of the Kenduskeag

Grab some popcorn and your favorite beverage. WLBZ has posted some Kenduskeag video clips (in 15 minute segments).
You can find them here.

And the Bangor Daily News did a writeup of the race today, check it out here.


Thunder Hole

Whitewater kayakers had a ball at the Shopping Cart Thursday afternoon.

(click photo to enlarge)
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"High Water Won't Stop Kenduskeag"

"Tracy Willette, the race director and the city’s superintendent of recreation, chuckles about the rumor mill fueled by passion for the area’s biggest whitewater race.

And he assures you, there’s nothing to worry about: The Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race, 41st edition, will go off as planned on Saturday morning."

Click here to read the rest of the article


A Quickie Video of Water Levels

I visited the Shopping Cart area and Six Mile Falls today and took some video footage.

Click here to watch the 2-minute video. (Nothing fancy, but it gives you some idea of the volume and swiftness of the stream.) Will be interesting to see how much this changes by race day.

The fellow standing near the Shopping Cart is Bob Martin, who thought it would be wise to stick to river right and hug the bank going through the Shopping Cart. If you get sucked into the Shopping Cart out!
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Six Mile Swamp

Pat Davis is right: the stream is high and fast and swollen. In addition to his pics, here's another one from the Six Mile Falls area.

This is the area where spectators normally stand to watch the paddlers go through the falls.

As you can see (click photo to enlarge) the "vulture" area is completely flooded. The water goes all the way back to the Hudson Road!

UPDATE 4/18/07: Here is a closer shot of Six Mile Falls (taken today).
Where did the "jaws" go? (Click photo to enlarge)

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Kenduskeag TV Coverage & Internet Stream

Some of you may recall that WABI TV5 (Bangor) canceled their coverage of the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race last year due to low water levels.

This year sees the return of TV coverage from the bridge overlooking the rapids of Six Mile Falls. WABI is scheduled to cover the race from 10am until 12:30pm. (You might want to set the VCR or Tivo if you are doing the race.)

Do you live outside WABI's broadcast area?
You can still catch the race if you have internet access.

Apparently, the Kenduskeag will be streamed over the internet through Watch Maine Sports as a pay-per-view event.
($9.95 per stream).


St. George River Race: "A natural, wild time"

Less than a week to go before the St. George River Race gets underway, and it's shaping up to be a blast!

Here's an excellent article about the upcoming St. George River Race from the Waldo County Village Soup site.

UPDATE 4/2/07: And here is a post race article from the Bangor Daily News.


Bangor Daily News Race Article

In case you missed it:

Cushman, Sands Take Kenduskeag


Kenduskeag Is A Go

The race is on!

Race day registration has been scaled down to one hour, from 6:30am to 7:30am.

So if you plan to register at the last moment tomorrow, better get there early.

Here's the latest canoe race article from the Bangor Daily News.


No TV Coverage Of Kenduskeag This Year

WABI-TV, the CBS affiliate which usually broadcasts the action from the bridge overlooking Six Mile Falls, will not be televising the race this year.

A phone call to the sports desk at WABI confirmed this; the low water levels will likely lead to many portages, resulting in dull coverage.

However, this should not be taken to mean that the Kenduskeag will be cancelled. Nor should a television producer's idea of the "excitement factor" of this race be taken as a signal that paddlers won't have an exciting afternoon. I'm betting otherwise.

Said it before, will say it again. Don't let the rumors or news get you down. The race is on!

Stay tuned (so to speak).

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Souadabscook Stream Race 2006

The Souadabscook Sprint & Canoe Race was held as planned this weekend in Hampden, ME. Nice to see that it wasn't cancelled.

Here's a news story about the race from the Bangor Daily News.

Congratulations to Jeff Sands!

Last but not least, here's a link to my 2006 Sou photo galleries.


A Couple of April Fools Scout The Stream

(Click on thumbnails to enlarge images)

On the morning of April Fools Day, I scouted different parts of the Kenduskeag with my neighbor Chris D'Amico, a seasoned vet of the canoe race. As a paddler, I'm a hopeless novice. I work primarily as a photographer. So it was good to scout some sections of the stream with someone who could actually "interpret" the water. This we did by car and by foot - not by boat.

It doesn't take a seasoned veteran of this canoe race to see that the stream levels are quite a bit lower than in years past. But I felt a need to know just how bad the damage is. Would a seasoned race participant take a look at sections of the stream and abandon all hope? Recent race cancellations in Maine (all due to low water) have some people sitting on pins and needles. Is it possible, they ask me, that the race could be cancelled altogether this year? It is a question which has popped up in the back of my mind as well.

It's important to note that up until now, there has been absolutely no mention of a pending cancellation by the race committee. And today's estimation from Chris was one of cautious optimism: "The stream is low, yes...but it certainly appears to be doable. At least for now. Some sections will be rough going, but it appears to be passable."

I'll have to leave it up to other paddlers to determine whether "passable" is good enough for them. But in any case one thing seems certain: Six Mile Falls looks to be a dicey proposition. With such low water levels, a paddler's options are limited. We walked along both sides of the stream in the area of Six Mile Falls, all the while amazed at how much more exposed the banks of the stream are this year.

Tree stumps, knifelike slices of ledge, spits of grassy land - all of which were submerged under several feet of water last year and in years past - were completely exposed. Stairsteps of rocks and boulders riffled the stream.

Chris lined up some possible approaches to Six Mile Falls and again, he felt that it seemed passable. But tricky. He figured that lining up for a run into the low-level falls may require considerably more technical skill and finesse of paddlers this year. He also wondered if most people might decide to portage the falls altogether to avoid such a problematic obstacle. Then again, there's an outside chance that Six Mile Falls will be designated a mandatory portage.

That about closes it for our April Fools Day stream and race speculation. For whatever it is worth. Stay tuned!

UPDATE 4/5/06: Stream levels have risen in just a few short days thanks to rain, sleet and light snow. Things are looking much better. So, no more hand-wringing! I would be VERY surprised if the race were cancelled at this point. I don't think 2006 will be a year of record race times, but I don't think this race will be cancelled. Just my 2 cents, take it or leave it.


15 Seconds of Fame: A Racer's Guide to Grabbing the Spotlight

Update 4/11/06: No TV coverage of the race this year due to low water! Six Mile Falls is likely to be a portage for many folks. So perhaps this guide can be applied in 2007.

Just a few thoughts as we count down the days to April 15. (I can't believe there are less than 30 days left until the race. And I really can't believe that it's almost been one year since the last race.)

If you are planning to do the canoe race this spring, and if you would like to grab a little media attention for yourself at Six Mile Falls, here are some suggestions:

1) Do not portage Six Mile Falls under any circumstances.

2) Wipe out at the falls. Not intentionally, of course. But nothing gets camera shutters snapping like a colossal spill into the stream. And remember, the race is televised. TV crews love a good wipeout as much as anyone else. I believe WABI TV 5 - a CBS affiliate - is covering the race. Remember to set the VCR or Tivo or whatever back home.

3) Wear an unusual costume. This is a surefire way to turn heads and camera lenses all along the course of the stream, not only at Six Mile Falls. Double extra dog dare points if you wear an oddball costume AND wipe out at the falls!

4) Short of wearing a wacky prop or costume, you can always deck out your watercraft with an eye-catching prop or ornament. The more inexplicable the prop, the better. I mean, can anyone tell me what THIS is all about:

I don't know what that thing is, but notice I have a photo of it. And I was glad to see it coming down the stream. In a traditional canoe race such as the Kenduskeag, it's always refreshing to see a little character and creativity here and there.

So there you have it. Three tried and true ways to grab the spotlight for your 15 seconds of fame. See you at the stream!

PS - Remember, you can pre-register for the race by downloading this form and mailing it in as soon as possible (deadline is April 14th at 1pm).

PSS - Also keep an eye out for the Paddling Picture Show at a Maine college campus near you.


No Umbrella's Paddling Picture Show 2006

No Umbrella, Maine's alternative outdoor newspaper, is taking their Paddling Picture Show festival on the road to eight different college campuses in Maine over the next couple of months.

The editor of No Umbrella, Nick Callanan, asked if I could put something together for the traveling picture show to represent the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race. I was happy to oblige.

After choosing some of my favorite shots from the 2003, 2004 and 2005 races, I produced a 5-minute slideshow and it has been included in the festival. I will post the slideshow on the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race website at a later date; in the meantime, check out this cool show when it rolls into your neck of the woods!

Here's the current schedule:

April 13 7 p.m. UMaine - Orono
Screening will in Neville 101

April 14 Skowhegan Outdoor Expo Skowhegan, ME
Screening will be at the Skowhegan Recreation Building

April 19 7 p.m. University of Maine at Presque Isle
Please call the school or check back here for exact venue

Visit the No Umbrella website for more information.