Click the link below to view all the photos from the day.
If you didn’t know… today was the 2nd annual Onion River Race & Ramble held on the Winooski River in Vermont. The course started below the Bolton Dam and finished at the bridge in Richmond. This ten mile stretch is a gorgeous scenic cut through the green mountains.
The morning started out a little chilly for early June but attendance wasn’t affected from the cooler temps. Close to 90 people signed up this year to show their support and have fun at the same time which was almost double the turnout from last year. Umiak Outfitters helped out again by providing the shuttle for the eager participants. Noah from the Friends of the Winooski River led the group with a safety briefing before the heats started.
Early in the race was the biggest obstacle, a set of rapids and rock garden, that stood between the racers and the flat water below. The tricky eddy lines surprised many paddlers letting them feel the cold temperatures of the Winooski River in June. There were many safety boaters on the water to help people to shore and recover their gear.
Below the rapids lay many many miles of reasonably flat water on a normal day but today was different. A Northerly wind of 17 mph gave the paddlers a steady head wind most of the trip. At the end of the ten mile stretch you passed under the Richmond bridge and thus the finish line.
After the racers finished and pulled their boats to shore they celebrated with a feast provided by Richmond Grange and sat down to reflect on the past few hours and enjoy some much needed food.
All in all the day was beautiful, the people showed up to had fun and the Winooski River was once again conquered…at least for today.
Big thanks to all the sponsors who without them this event wouldn’t have been possible. Sponsors include Friends of the Winooski River, with support from the Vermont River Conservancy, Umiak Outfitters , the Vermont Paddlers’ Club , and the Richmond Grange.
This is one of those rivers that you can not miss. The Rainbow River bubbles up from its headsprings at Rainbow River State Park and winds 5.7 miles downstream before it flows into the Withlacoochee River. The crystal clear river is loaded with oversized fish and other wildlife that call this river their home. This is the fourth largest spring system in Florida producing 400-600 million gallons of water everyday.
There are three put-ins along this river. The first is at the Rainbow River State Park and costs $2 per person. This put-in has the longest walk to the water, requiring you to walk all the way through the park.
The second put-in is at KP Hole Park, which has bathrooms, changing rooms, a swimming area and a snack bar. The fee to put in here is $5 per person, but you can drive your SUP right up to the waters edge. From here you can paddle 1 mile upstream to the head springs and 1 mile back to KP Hole. From here, if you’re feeling adventurous you can paddle 4 more miles downstream to the Public Boat Ramp in Dunnellon.
The Public boat ramp requires no fee and is just a parking lot with a ramp. This is located on FL 484 dirctly across the river from Swampy’s Bar and Grille.
This is a beautiful river that a lot of people enjoy. It’s recommended to avoid the area of weekends and hot days because their is limited parking at all put in locations. On busy days the state park can reach capacity by noon. Go early, or go on slower days.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation issued a draft water quality certification decision Wednesday regarding the future operations of Green Mountain Power’s Waterbury Hydroelectric Project. Under this decision, the Waterbury Reservoir would be maintained at the current summertime level year-round to protect water quality and recreational use of the reservoir. Also, flows through the dam would be managed to more closely mirror the natural flow of the Little River in a manner that improves fish habitat and the ecological health of the river. – Vermont Business Magazine
In the days when play-boats were more than 10 feet long, freestyle was called rodeo and pirouettes were a hot move, paddlers had a problem.
It was the early ’90s, and the Pro-Tec and Wildwater helmets of the day worked well for protection but nothing for sun protection.
People layered baseball caps under their helmets to add a brim, but the pressure of the hats’ buttons pressing into their skulls meant every paddling session ended with headaches.
Around the same time, Patrick Kruse sat in his Seal Beach, California, basement apartment trying to solve a dilemma of his own: how to launch his startup gear company into the world of whitewater and stand out against other manufactures.
A paddler himself, Kruse had heard complaints about the baseball cap conundrum.
After a two-day flurry of cardboard and fabric cutting and pasting, he emerged with a design that would push his new business into the mainstream.
The Salamander brim was a hit.
For years, every Dagger Crossfire and Perception Pirouette contained a paddler whose helmet had a sticky Velcro strip and colorful, three-inch, foam-filled visor.
It came out in more and more colors and jungle and hibiscus patterns that would’ve made the Fresh Prince proud.
More than two decades later, the same brim comes with the same Salamander logo on the same 600-denier poly-cloth and Volara foam with Velcro-705 molded hooks, as when Kruse first designed it.
It remains on Salamander’s best seller list and is easily the company’s defining product.
In the late ’90s though, helmet companies like Orosi started catching on – modern helmets emerged with built-in brims and started turning heads.
The Salamander does offer one advantage over built-in brims, says current owner, Shane Preston, who’s been with the company for six years. “If a kayaker is upside down, the bill will actually flip back rather than catch the water and yank your head back.”
The company still sells 2,500 visors every year, although for the most part, it’s not us buying them.
“To be 100 percent honest, it’s the horse industry – they love these things,” says Preston.
Salamander now sells 20 times more brims to its equestrian market than to whitewater paddlers. The visors fit on riding helmets just as well as they once did on whitewater helmets.
He’s also selling to bike and ski shops.
“For the hot kayaker, not too many kids are wearing them because they’re a little dorky looking,” Preston says. “But they work. You can’t deny that it gives you some nice protection.”
Salamander’s original visor designer Patrick Kruse now runs a company called Ruffwear selling performance dog gear in Oregon.
Three years ago on a hot summer day he was driving down Highway 395 towards Red Rock Canyon when a giant grin spread across his face. On the side of the road he saw a crew of 20 or so road workers, each with a bright red Salamander visor Velcroed to their hardhats.
Today I received great news that The Friends of the Winooski are organizing a river race on the Winooski River on Saturday June 7th (from Bolton-Richmond). In the spirit of collaboration, the Vermont River Conservancy is a co-sponsor along with Umiak Outdoor Outfitters. This event is geared toward generating enthusiasm for water-based recreation in the Winooski River watershed, and raising awareness about the efforts of the two organizations in the region. Proceeds from the race will support projects to improve public access and riparian land restoration in the watershed.
Registration is only $25 if you signup before May 31st.
Vermont SUP will be there sharing there love for the sport with fellow paddling junkies. For more info about the event and to sign up or help volunteer visit their website.