Paddlers roll on the rapids

Three junior paddlers were joined by two national team standouts at the Cedar River Kayak Race in Seattle.

The Chilliwack Centre of Excellence took a crew of whitewater paddlers and their families to the Cedar River Kayak Race near Seattle last weekend.

Young paddlers Austin Atkins, Finley Capstick and Avery Wilkins were joined by national team members Sam Fletcher and Jazmyne Denhollander.

The trip began with practice sessions at the race site on Saturday, and concluded with racing on Sunday.

The rapids are challenging and the organizers set a difficult course for the paddlers to negotiate.

The young paddlers have not paddled in whitewater since last summer, but showed their composure and skill.

It took some time to get comfortable on the water, with help from CCE coach Jon Allen, but the boys produced excellent results in their races.

In the end, Capstick took gold with Wilkins in second and Atkins in third.

In the two-person kayak event, Allen raced with each boy,  finishing second with Atkins, third with Capstick and fourth with Wilkins. The only team to post a faster time was the American team known as Zimmberg.

Denhollander and Fletcher won their categories, challenging some of the older and  more experienced paddlers.

The Rich Weiss Memorial race is held on Chilliwack’s Tamihi Rapids this weekend. Boatercross is Saturday, the first time that format has been run at the Rich Weiss. Slalom racing is Sunday.

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