Monday, May 14, 2012

Race Winners!

2012 Rivanna River Regatta Canoe & Kayak Races Official Results are here

Winners of the downriver race are: 

Solo Kayak Under 16' Men
1. Dave Segars 58:49
2. Rick Barnett 1:00:04
3. Ryan Quinnelly 1:06:41

Solo Kayak Under 16' Women
1. Lynn Lipp 1:23:37
2. Alexandria Searles 1:44:13

Solo Kayak Over 16' Men
1. Greg Hudson 59:07

Solo Canoe Men
1. Kirk Havens 1:04:09

Tandem Canoe Men
1. Cory Maine & Heath Riggleman 1:35:59

Tandem Kayak (mixed)
1. Dave & Josh Dolak 1:10:08

Winners of the 7-mile mini-marathon kayak flatwater challenge are:

1. Bob Decker  1:04:03
2. Dave Dolak 1:04:58
3. Greg Hudson 1:05:18

Congratulations to all!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Rivanna River Regatta Canoe & Kayak Races 2012 - photos

Results will be verified and posted some time this week.

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Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who came out yesterday for the Rivanna River Regatta Canoe & Kayak Races.

We apologize for the seeming lack of coordination at the beginning of the afternoon flat water events, but the morning downriver race ran a bit longer than anticipated and by the time the crew got to the reservoir, many kayakers were already on the water and had dispersed.  By our count and calculation, (and thanks to the Charlottesville Outdoor Adventure Club for being on the water at a different part of the reservoir at the same time), the established record for the highest number of canoes and kayaks on the S. Rivana Reservoir at the same time now stands at 29.  This is certainly a low bar that can be easily exceeded next year.

Please give us feedback in the forum where we've started a topic thread for 2012 Regatta Feedback.

Results will be posted soon.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Important Race Information...The 7th annual, Charlottesville, VA area Rivanna River Regatta Canoe & Kayak Races are coming Saturday, May 12, 2012, and they promise to be bigger and better than ever!

Do you have a canoe or kayak? If so then get on the water with us TODAY, May 12, 2012.

Rivanna River Canoe & Kayak Races are coming here!

Update Friday, May 11: The S. Rivanna dam and looking upstream and downstream from the Rt. 29 bridge as of 8am: 


You DO NOT have to be preregistered for any of the events.  Just show up on Saturday and join the fun.  Be sure to bring your kids for the free kids races in the afternoon on the S. Rivanna Reservoir.  They might just go home with a medal.

May 6, Update: Papa John's Pizza will have a booth set up at the Virginia Rowing Association location (S. Rivanna Reservoir) starting just before lunch time and will serve pizza by the slice or whole pie plus drinks so please consider Pappa John's pizza for lunch.  Let's support them for supporting us!

Also, thank you to The Hook for giving us a little love in their Fun Stuff preview and The Daily Progress for a mention in the local news section of Tuesday's paper.

* * *

 The medals are ready to be awarded to top paddlers!

The 7th Annual, Charlottesville, VA area Rivanna River Regatta Canoe & Kayak Races are coming Saturday, May 12, 2012, and they promise to be bigger and better than ever!

- Traditional 6.2 mile downriver races in the morning ($15)

And new this year...
- Youth (ages 10-17) flat water races (canoes & kayaks) Free!

- Come set a record for the greatest number of canoes and kayaks on the S. Rivanna Reservoir at the same time Free!

- 7 mile, flat water, mini-marathon for the seriously fast & competitive kayakers ($15)

- “Anything that floats” race Free!

In the morning…

6.2-mile downriver race: Begin assembling at registration/start line, below the dam at the Route 29 bridge north of Charlottesville, VA (just north of the DoubleTree Hotel/Sam’s Club on the upstream side of the bridge off Rio Mills Road) between 8-8:30am. First race starts at 10am. Finish line is 6.2 miles later at the boat ramp in Darden Towe Park on the east side of Charlottesville.

Then in the afternoon...
We move to the S. Rivanna Reservoir starting at 12:30pm. Thanks to the generosity of The Virginia Rowing Association for allowing us to use the grounds at their boat house at 276 Woodlands Road, Charlottesville, VA 22901, we will gather at and launch from the VRA dock. This is a family-friendly afternoon of races, picnics, and fun! Race or just enjoy watching the festivities. There will be kids races (500m), an “Anything that floats” race (1,000m), and a 7-mile mini-marathon kayak race. Help us establish a record for the most canoes and kayaks on the reservoir at the same time!

Bring your own boat, paddle, and life jacket and join us on the water for friendly competition or just plain fun! No boat? Then come out to watch the fun and bring a picnic basket to enjoy the beauty of this scenic & precious natural resource—The Rivanna River.

- Medals awarded to top racers in each division -

* The race coordinator reserves the right to refuse any boat if deemed unsafe. All participants will be required to sign a waiver of liability and minors must have a parent or legal guardian sign for them. Race coordinator reserves the right to combine, modify, or cancel events depending upon the number of participants. All profits (if any) will be used to support Rivanna River recreational access improvement projects. Life jackets must be worn by all paddlers.

Race Categories (click here for printable copy):

The 7-mile, flatwater, mini-marathon race will start at the UVA/Rivanna Rowing dock and proceed to the bridge at Reas Ford Road, circle one bridge pier and then return.

* * *

Map & directions for the starting line for the downriver race is found here.

View Larger Map

And a map of the downriver race is here.

Map & directions to the VRA Boathouse for flatwater events on the reservoir in the afternoon found here. ** Please note this is private property and VRA is granting us special access for this event only! This is not a public boat ramp and cannot be used by the general public except for May 12, 2012 during the Rivanna Regatta event.

View Larger Map

And a course for the mini-marathon is found here. It will start at the boat dock, circle one bridge pier at the Reas Ford Rd. bridge and then return..


Merrill Bishop, Race Coordinator
rambishop1 [at) gmail [dot} com or
Tel: +1 434-975-3072


Communications Coordinator:
Dave D.
dave [at} cvillepaddlers [dot} com or
Tel: +1 434-975-6584


Ask your question in a special, online forum that resides outside of our Facebook group at

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

We've been getting many questions about the upcoming races and I'd like to address the most common questions in this post.

Q: "I'd like to paddle this section of river before the race. Where can I launch/how do I get in through the gate below the bridge?"

A: It is not possible to launch inside the gated area near the bridge 364 days of the year. This is private land and the private land owner only allows us to launch from this area one day per year specifically for the races. However, if you go a little further up Rio Mills Road to where it makes a sharp bend, there are a couple of short trails through the woods that lead you to reasonably good launch areas. One is immediately below the dam and the other is a bit further downstream where a large rock makes for a good launch area.

Q: "I'm a little concerned about the rapids on this section of the river. Do you think I can handle them?"

A: It would be irresponsible for anyone to suggest to you what type of water you can or cannot handle without knowing anything about you or your paddling skills. Nobody can or should suggest to you what class of river you can handle. That said, this section of the Rivanna has a few sets of rapids but is mostly flat water. The biggest rapids on this section are Class II, BUT water conditions can change rapidly based on the weather and flow levels. These same rapids may come closer to Class II+ at times but do not typically qualify as Class III.

The answer to the question, "How is the river right now?" is also complicated to answer.

This section of the Rivanna is directly below the South Rivanna Reservoir/dam and there are no gauges on this particular section of river that are good indicators of current conditions. The gauge at Palmyra is the closest gauge but the water level on the Charlottesville section of the Rivanna depends upon if and how much water is flowing over the dam at any given time so the gauge at Palmyra may or may not be a good indicator of current river conditions on this particular section of the river. My personal, subjective way to judge the current river condition is to cross the Rt. 29 bridge and look upstream to see how much water is coming over the dam and then look downstream to see how high the river looks and whether or not any visible islands or sand bars exist.

Below is a video that shows a 9-yr-old girl solo paddling this section of the river for her first time. The video was shot on March 31, 2012 and the gauge at Palmyra was 843 cubic feet per second, 3.83' at launch time and the early part of the video shows the flow level over the dam at launch time.

Only YOU can judge for yourself what type of water you can handle and only YOU can best determine if the river is at a comfortable level for you at any given time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seeking volunteers

The 7th annual Rivanna River Regatta Canoe & Kayak Races are coming on May 12! The race coordinator is looking for volunteers to help both on water and on land. He's seeking volunteers to serve as safety patrol (from boats on the water and from shore), traffic cops, work registration tables, assist paddlers, etc. We're also seeking a local non-profit group or charity willing to work a concession table and grill hot dogs, hamburgers, and/or serve pizza, drinks, etc. This is a great fund raising opportunity for such a group!

If you are interested in helping then send an email to rivannaregatta [at] deervinehollow [dot] com and I'll put you in touch with the Race Coordinator. If volunteering your charity or non-profit group, please state the organization's name and website URL (if you have one), and provide contact information for the best person to speak with.

This could be the biggest year for this event and it is now attracting some highly competitive paddlers from up and down the East Coast. Let's get our act together and show these competitive paddlers a great time in Charlottesville!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

New events being added this year

Immediately after the downriver race on May 12 we will move to the reservoir (above the dam) for flat water events and family-friendly events. Come on out and help us establish a record for the most canoes and kayaks on the South Rivanna Reservoir at the same time! The Rivanna Rowing Club is graciously allowing us to use their grounds and dock for these flat water events.

All kayakers and canoers welcome.

Watch this space for more details or join our Facebook group (link at the top of this blog.)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Announcing the 7th Annual Rivanna Regatta Kayak & Canoe Race, Saturday, May 12

The 7th annual Rivanna River Regatta Canoe & Kayak Races will be held Saturday, May 12, 2012. Racers to assemble starting at 8:30am for registration. First race starts promptly at 10am.

Racers may be started together at 10am sharp or there may be several heats. Race Coordinator reserves the right to combine or eliminate categories depending upon the number of paddlers in each category on race day.

Paddlers assemble at registration/start line under the Route 29 bridge north of Charlottesville (just north of the DoubleTree Hotel/Sam’s Club on the upstream side of the bridge off Rio Mills Road.) Race finish line is 6.2 miles later at the boat ramp in Darden Towe Park on the east side of Charlottesville. First place paddlers may finish by approx. 10:45am. Awards ceremony will be held at Darden Towe boat ramp shortly after the last racer completes the race (estimated 12:30-1pm.)

Small entrance fee (watch website for updates.) All kayakers and canoers welcome. Race course includes Class II—II+ rapids. Paddle at your own risk. (Signed waiver forms required.) Public spectators welcomed and encouraged at the finish line at Darden Towe Park.

Please keep on eye on this site for more information and updates!