GREEN RACE: “The Fountain of Youth.” North Carolina, USA, November 2021
The 26th Green River Narrows Race had a lot of records, though not necessarily the one many were hoping to see. Though racers all hoped for a push at the four-minute race lap, what they saw instead may be more encouraging for the sport itself. There were more women (12) and juniors (26) competing than ever before, and it probably would have been the biggest field of racers ever if entries hadn’t been capped. On top of that, the junior and women’s categories were deeper in skill level and up to the task of racing the Green. The prevalent story of this year’s race was the overall quality of the paddlers. There wasn’t a final tally on the number of swimmers, but most believed it to be less than 10, which is probably half the average compared to the races of the last 10 years. All that to say, it was an incredible day in the Gorge with the shores packed with spectators and the river full of paddlers for the first time in a little while. This year racers saw about nine inches on the gauge, a medium flow that makes some of the bigger rapids less pushy but harder to break the elusive four-minute mark. Dane Jackson took his fourth win despite being upside down and backward through Gorilla. Isacc Hull finished second and Holt McWhirt in third. Sage Donnelly took the coveted women’s title over the local legend and reigning Green Race Queen Adrienne Levkenecht and Emily Shanblatt. Kaelin Friedenson took first in the junior class with a time that placed him fifth in the men. Sam Sharp and Casion Porter-Shirley were only a few seconds behind. For full results or access to the Livestream to practice your race lines from the couch, visit greenrace.us.
Words: Kayak Session | Photography: The Green Race