The 62nd Annual Whitewater Derby has been set for Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5 in the Town of Johnsburg Hamlets of North River, North Creek and Riparius, along the Hudson River.
The Derby began as a celebration of the Upper Hudson River and it’s history especially the log drives which ended in 1950. The Derby began in 1958 and the Hudson River Whitewater Derby is one of the oldest canoe and kayak races in the United States.
Slalom Races and the Not-So-Whitewater Race have been set for Saturday, May 4, and The Downriver Race on Sunday, May 5, 2019.
Slalom races, are held on Saturday (11 am start) of whitewater derby weekend in the Perry Ehlers rapids that run along Rt. 28 in North River. Just like on snow, racers negotiate a course of gates. In river races some of the gates require passage straight ahead others require a boat to go through a gate backward and still others require a racer to come back from downstream and go through the gate heading upstream. A penalty is assessed for each gate touched or missed. The racer with the lowest score – fastest elapsed time minus penalties is the winner. The Hudson’s close proximity to Rt. 28 in North River makes for great tailgating and spectating at this event.
Soon after the slalom race is over (usually by 2 pm), the Not-So-Wild race is held on a 2.5 mile stretch of the Hudson just upstream of North Creek. The Not-So-Wild race is a great introduction to canoe and kayak racing. The Saturday awards ceremony is held at Basil and Wicks, Rt. 28 in North Creek at 4 pm.
The Downriver race on Sunday is a challenging 7.5 mile race from North Creek to Riparius. Rapids are plentiful, culminating in the Spruce Mt. Rapids just above the finish line. Spectators walk up the railroad tracks for better vantage points to the thrills and spills of whitewater. Awards are held immediately after the race in Riparius.
Photo of Hudson River Whitewater Derby provided.