|Racing is one of the best ways to
improve your paddling skills. Its great for kids and beginners because
they can try difficult moves in a relatively safe environment and not on
some class-V run.
The Pennsylvania Cup is a series of five slalom races for beginner racers. The races are held on a variety of river types from the flat water race on the Codorus to the more serious races at Riversport and Fiddlers' Elbow. Young children and their parents are encouraged to participate and it is common to see five or six year olds paddling a canoe with a parent or even paddling a kayak alone. The Codorus and Lehigh Valley races are particularly great places for children and beginner boaters to enter the world of racing. The goal of these races is not the racing so much as a way to improve your paddling and have some fun while making new friends.
The Penn Cup supports a variety of boat classes, such as, K-1 (single decked slalom kayak), C-1 (single decked canoe), OC-1 (open single canoe) and OC-2 (open tandem canoe). The race course consists of 20 to 25 gates that must be negotiated by the racers. Each gate is a pair of poles, about three or four feet apart, that hang from wires strung over the river. The object of each race is to paddle down stream as fast as possible while negotiating the gates. If the racer hits a gate, or misses a gate altogether, penalty points are assigned.
The day before each race, there are clinics, free to all racers, for beginner to advanced paddlers. These clinics are worth singing up for even if you don't have big time racing aspirations. The instructors are some of the best around, and include nationally ranked racers, coaches and US Team members.
Racers are expected to help with race setup and take down and with judging assignments. If you are not of a mind to race, come and watch...and learn!
For more information on the Penn Cup