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McKenzie Todd traversed the course in West Cornwall during the New England Slalom Series event on  May 21. Photo by Lans Christensen

Slalom race benefits from Saturday’s rain

CORNWALL — On Sunday, May 21, the New England Slalom Series came to West Cornwall for the Covered Bridge Slalom. The series consists of ten races, held throughout New England and New York. Competitors paddle all manner of downriver kayaks and canoes,  both open and closed, and recreational or race worthy.

Paddlers of all ages competed in three different classes.  K1 and C1 can be difficult to identify without the simple clues that give away the name. Though the boats look identical, C1 (closed canoe) paddlers knelt in the boat and used a single bladed paddle, while K1 paddlers sat in the boat and used a double bladed paddle.

The slalom course started at the covered bridge and progressed down the river for about 300 yards with 22 gates. Some gates were crossed going upriver while most were done downriver.

River difficulty and condition were different for all of the ten race series. Amy Hunt, an OC1 competitor, said the .8 inch of rain Saturday afternoon and evening made a difference.

“The course was set yesterday when the water was low. It’s about 6 inches deeper now, and a tiny bit more challenging.”

Nonetheless, all paddlers, in every class, navigated the course as best they could and with true enjoyment.

Clarke Outdoors, a long-time fixture on the Housatonic, was the race registrar. A well-known paddling association, HACKS (Housatonic Area Canoe and Kayak Squad) helped by manning the on-course stations.

Results for all competitors and classes can be found online at www.nessrace.com

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