There will be some top paddlers competing in the second annual Great Russian River Race, but don’t get the idea you have to be one of them to join the fun.
“While 20 percent of the field are serious paddlers, the remaining 80 percent are out for a fun day on the river, followed by a great party with live music, local food, wine and beer, and kid’s activities,” said organizer Tony Hansen.
Advanced paddlers will compete in the 15-mile race, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Alexander Valley Bridge. The defending champions, Carter Johnson and Kristen Podolak, will be back to compete.
Meanwhile, team and recreational paddlers, many of them in fanciful costumes, will do battle in the five-mile race, starting at 11:15 a.m. north of Healdsburg.
Last year, there were 250 paddlers in the five-mile race, and 50 competitors in the 15-mile race.
Both races end at the Healdsburg Memorial Bridge. A River Race Party, with food, wine, beer and live music, will be held at the Healdsburg Memorial Beach.
This event caters to the full spectrum of paddlers, advanced to recreational, using canoes, kayaks, surf skis and stand-up paddle boards.
Individual and double paddlers should enter by Monday, April 30, to get a $20 discount. Registration is capped at 350 paddlers.
The entry fee is $50 per person until May 1; $70 per person after that.
To register: www.greatrussianriverrace.com.
The event’s hosts are Russian Riverkeeper, River’s Edge Kayak & Canoe and Sonoma County Regional Parks Department.