Paddlers Brave Rapids and Cold Weather during RRCA’s 51st Raisin River Canoe Race

Paddlers Brave Rapids and Cold Weather during RRCA’s 51st Raisin River Canoe Race
Kayla Groulx and Jordan Lalonde came to a dead stop at the Devil's Chute rapids after getting beached on a boulder. (Photo : RRCA)

On the chilly Saturday morning of April 13, participants in the Raisin Region Conservation Authority’s (RRCA) 51st annual Raisin River Canoe Race left St. Andrews West in South Stormont, making their way downstream to Williamstown in South Glengarry as a convoy of canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards. A total of 388 paddlers in 237 boats participated this year.


“Ever since the RRCA launched the Raisin River Canoe Race in 1973, the event has been an annual springtime favourite for the community,” says RRCA Canoe Race Coordinator, Lissa Deslandes. “Paddlers of all ages, from near and far, are always excited to brave the River’s cold waters in this friendly, festive competition.”


The Race is held during the spring melt when water levels are typically at their highest. While this year’s early spring initially resulted in slower flows, recent precipitation brough the Raisin’s waters to a respectable 740 cubic feet per second by Race Day morning, leading to the Martintown Dam’s chute being accessible to the pluckier paddlers.


“Once again, thanks to the support from many local organizations and sponsors, as well as the Race Safety Committee and volunteers, the RRCA has been able to continuously coordinate a safe and successful race throughout the decades,” adds Deslandes.


Several contestants experienced an icy plunge at the Devil’s Chute rapids shortly after their departure. One pair of paddlers drew laughs, and then incredulous gasps from the shoreline crowds as they managed to miraculously extricate themselves after getting beached on a boulder mid-rapids. A total of 44 boats did not finish the Race this year.


The oldest participant was 81 years of age, while the youngest was 7.


The fastest time down the River was the Pro Boat Tandem of aptly-named Pierre Lavictoire and Ryan Stepka (of Gatineau) in a time of 2:19:55.


Full interim results are available at Other top finishers by category, where applicable, were:


  • Pro Canoe, Male: Christopher Weber & Gaetan Plourde, Cody Van Loon & Corey Van Loon
  • Pro Canoe, Mixed: Sarah Lessard & Jeff DeFeo, Mike De Abreu & Sophie Coupal, Thina Pham & Joël Lamontagne
  • 17 Foot Open, Male: Bob Vincent & Sebastian Courville, Erik Petersen & Greg Lutick,  David Marzell & Peter Marzell
  • 17 Foot Open, Female: Kayla Groulx & Jordan Lalonde
  • 17 Foot Open, Mixed: Jonathan Lachance & Geneviève Hamel, Russ Senior & Leslie Davenport, Brandon St. Martin & Victoria Valade
  • Double Kayak Male: Zaché Gauthier & Daniel Lemieux, Ivo Finotti & Stephen Liska
  • Double Kayak, Female: Wendy Bray Van Loon & Morgan Santerre, Olivia McDonald & Anna Parks, Krista Bowen & Sarah Arblaster
  • Double Kayak, Mixed: Valeria Hernandez & Sam Burrell, Michael Boekhoff & Melanie Glover
  • Recreational Canoe, Male: Lachlan McDonald & Dave Robertson, Emmanuel Lauzon & Alex Wertwym, Brandon Gay & Shaner Burkholder
  • Recreational Canoe, Female: Sarantia Katsaras & Anna Katsaras, Emilie DeRochie & Emma Bacchiochi, Olivianne Devine & Chloé Devine
  • Recreational Canoe, Mixed: Simon Dessureault & Karina Blanchette, Michael Stewart & Andrea Stewart, Eva Kwiatkowski & Brendan Watson
  • Recreational Canoe, Adult & Youth: Michael Creamer & Ryan Creamer, Willy Suter & Rhea Suter, Shiovhan Frei & Simon Frei
  • Recreational Canoe, Student Male: Joshua Frei & Marcus Hagen, Hudson McDonald & Gilly McDonald, Cowan McDonell & Angus Vandrish
  • Single Recreational Canoe, Male: Max Finkelstein
  • Long Kayak, Male: Brad Spooner, Zachary Zuaneberg, Dominic Cote
  • Long Kayak, Female: Tammy Tripp, Dena Kaplan, Lisa Shinder
  • Short Kayak, Male: Ian Walter, Bruce Boots, Patrick Bridgham
  • Short Kayak, Female: Christine Millman, Lisa Deschamps, Sylvie Hamelin
  • Short Kayak, Student Male: Samuel Vanegas, Keith Baron
  • Stand-up Paddle, Male: Jean-Francois Hinse, Simon Mayer, Alexandre Pelletier
  • Stand-up Paddle, Female: Marie- Ève Soucy, Audrey Viau, Maryse Brouillette


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