Rivertown Racers

What started as a bunch kids splashing and playing in the Petaluma River has morphed itself into a world championship level kayaking program that has those same kids on the cusp of some pretty big things.

The River Town Racers started as the brainchild of a group of parents looking to get their kids outside and active. Lucky for these parents some world class kayaking coaches just happened to live right in their back yard. Under the leadership of Susan Starbird and Misha Riszkiewicz, the program went from taking some first time kayakers and tricking them in to some hard core Olympic Level Training. What was the trick? They made it fun! The kids got hooked and now a few years down the road they are winning National Titles, threatening World Titles, and pursuing some legit Olympic level dreams. 

As the program developed a lot of the kids started taking an interest in getting on the race course and showing up at our local races. It was fun to see their spunk and zeal as they plied the waters of San Rafael Bay doing pretty darn well right out of the gate. As they years passed something happened - they grew! The growth was not only physical but mental. A big part of paddlesports is the mental discipline it takes only to race to more importantly ro prepare to race. As they say paddle races are decided before anyone gets to the starting line.

Soon these kids were pacing the eite local paddlers, and then in 2019 it happened. The kids weren't just winning they were setting course records along the way. The best part of watching all this winning has been seeing them do it with such grace and a spirit of inclusion. The Culture is one best parts about the paddle sports world. One where competitors share in each others success and celebrate the effort over the result.  

Back in late August the kids headed out to Oklahoma City for the Junior National Championships where the results exceeded everyones expectations with medals aplenty. See results table at the bottom. Wow! 

Jasper Caddell and Elena Wolgamot

Then it was off to the Junior World Championships (sept 3-5-) in Portugal where an already raised bar was raised even higher. The kids were making finals and showing the world that Petaluma was producing some legit talent. Then it happened. River City Paddler Jasper Caddell broke though and took home a silver medal for Team USA in the K2 Under 23 500m mixed doubles with partner Elena Wolgamot.

River City Paddle Petri Alva was not done for the month. After the teams strong showing in Portugal he was off to Czech Republic Sept (10-13) where the River Town momentum just kept rolling. This time it was the Olympic Hopeful Olympics Regatta - so yes the words best were there driving towards their Olympic dreams. Petri Alva not only made the final he put up a solid 6th place in the under 17 K1 500 meter sprints.  

Again one of the best parts of the River Town club is the welcoming inclusion these elite kids extend to anyone looking to join them. Even if your kid has never paddled before the kayaking world is ready to get them on the water and off their phones. Who knows what lies within your own kids spirit but there's one way to find out, get them to hang around this group! 

Interested to to find out more in person about what makes paddle racing so special? Then come on down to any of our local 101 Surf Sports Races where you will always meet a few of the RTR kids and parents and get a taste for what the paddle scene is all about. Next race at 101 Surf Sports is October 16th. 10am start. See you there. 

More Information On The River Town Racers Click Here 

If you cant make the race check out this quick video to get a taste of the River Town scene. . 

National Championships - Oklahoma (Aug 2021)

The team placed 9th out of 16 teams in total points and its members won the following awards:
GOLD:
K1 1000 Junior men (Greg Barton Award): Petri
K1 500 Junior men: Philip
K2 1000 Junior men: Petri & Kasen
K2 200 Junior men: Philip
K4 200 Junior men: Petri, Philip, Vaughn
K4 200 Juvenile men: Rowan
K4 500 Junior men: Petri, Philip, Vaughn, Kasen
SILVER:
K1 1000 Junior men: Philip
K1 500 Junior men: Petri
K1 200 Junior men: Philip
K2 5000 Juvenile women: Leah & Ariel
K4 500 Juvenile men: Rowan
K4 500 Senior men: Philip, Kasen, Zachary, Jasper
BRONZE:
K1 1000 Junior men: Vaughn
K1 200 Junior men: Petri
K1 5000 Junior men: Jake
K2 200 Junior men: Petri & Vaughn
K4 200 Bantam men: Jonas, Caetano, Sebastian
K4 500 Bantam men: Jonas, Caetano, Sebastian
K4 500 Junior men: Jake