Where are the Best Kayak Races in Pennsylvania?

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Once you’ve started enjoying your kayak or surfski, it’s only natural to wonder how fast you can go. And if you go down that rabbit hole long enough, you might find yourself curious about racing against other like-minded people, which is why this post is all about the best kayak races in Pennsylvania.

As you can imagine, many events were forced to call off their 2020 races, but most expect to be back in action for 2021. 

While Pennsylvania doesn’t have an epic marathon race like the MR340 in Missouri or even the 70 mile long General Clinton Regatta in NY, our diverse waterways mean that our options for kayak racing in the state are many; whether you’re looking for white-water river racing, flat water racing or even adventure races where your kayak might only be one-third of the challenge. Either way, the state as a lot to offer, including the following events:

The Penn Cup is a fall series of races designed to introduce paddlers to the sport of slalom racing. In 2020, this program planned to have six races. All were curtailed due to COVID, but they hope to be back in 2021. Check it out here.

The Red Moshannon Downriver Race takes place in March and is often considered a “season opener” in PA. It’s 7.5 miles and the current varies from year to year, as will the action. You’ll find all kinds of boats in this race, from inflatables to kayaks, canoes and SUPs. Helmets are required on all decked boats, though, so plan accordingly. Check it out here.

The 2021 Fawn Sensenig West Branch of the Susquehanna River Canoe/Kayak River Run celebrates its 20th’s Anniversary this year. Scheduled for May 1, this event covers 11 of the most scenic miles on the Susquehanna’s West Branch. Register here

The Pittsburgh Paddlesports Championships has moved to Moraine State Park and become part of their annual regatta. This event was also put on hold in 2020, but they’re expecting to be back for 2021. Check out their website for frequent updates!

The PA Association of Canoeing and Kayak racing includes a full list of races, both inside and outside of the state. Regardless of where or how you like to race, you’ll want plenty of opportunity here

Paddlers looking for some action on the southern section of the Susquehanna have had three new options in one at the Dam Challenge, held for the first time in 2019. Choose from 1, 3 or miles. Register for this one here

And finally, how Yough are you? Hopefully yough enough for the Youghness Monster, a 22 mile race, sponsored by your friends here at Performance Kayak! We’re proud to host one of the best kayak races in Pennsylvania, and we’d love to see you there! Click here to register!

Be sure to check out our Event Calendar for more upcoming races!