Keith Looks Into Summer-Long River Racing 

Many paddlers forget that river racing continues long after the Kenduskeag Stream canoe race in April.Jeff Owen is a local paddling leader.He’s put together the first of a nine-race championship under the Maine Canoe and Kayak Racing organization.Owen’s goal is to expand the sport to a younger generation.Everyone is there to have a good time. “Yeah we keep it fun but it’s also competitive. When we are out there we want to be in that front boat but there are a couple fast kayaks out there.” “Well my grampy got me into paddling and stuff, and it makes we feel pretty good… healthy and stuff.”And Crystal Ludwig is exactly who Jeff Owen wants to see in his new race series.The big emphasis in on new paddlers and youth. “I did pretty good tonight the water was a bit low… so it was hard to turn and stuff.” “Are you going off the rope swing?” “I don’t think so…”This is the last of the nine race series. They did also race on the Messalonskee and Androscoggin, but they had their best participation here on the Stillwater. “If we try it again next year, we will center it a little bit more here in Orono.”Competitive paddlers are a close nit group, even though some are from away like Stephen McAleer of New Brunswick. “Been coming down here for 30 years racing in Old Town and Bangor, and I love coming down here.” “How’s the view?” “It’s so calm and with the sun setting it’s really nice.”Even though this is the last race of this nine race series, Mackro is putting on one last race September 12th called the Ebb Tide Marathon from Brewer to Orrington.