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Kayakers Ride the Rapids of Record Snow Melt

Updated: 04/25/2014 6:18 PM
Created: 04/25/2014 4:55 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

A handful of kayakers trudged through the melting remnants of a record snowfall to reach the Lester River in Duluth. Spring has made it a playground for them.

“Looks like it's here. We got good water. It's high, it'll be a full-on race tomorrow,” Ryan Zimny said.

Zimny is the director of the Lester River Race and Friday's run was just a bit of practice.

This is only the second year for the race, but Zimny expected a a good turnout for the Saturday race.

“Paddling white water isn't for everybody, paddling Class V is for fewer still and racing down it narrows the field even more, but the fact that we have got almost 30 people signed up says a lot about the paddling community up here,” Zimny said.

Class V means the mile run along the Lester River is one of the toughest challenges a kayaker can face. Zimny said riding the rapids is an incredible experience, but it's not for everybody.

“It definitely attracts, I guess, a different type of personality. It's not warm, it's snow melt. It's the freezing point of water basically,” Zimny said.

With Lester River running right through Duluth city limits Zimny said anyone can enjoy the sport.

“So it's really unique to be able to showcase your sport where there's people that can be involved and spectators to see what it's all about. Usually, we're out in the canyons where there's nobody,” Zimny said.

He said anyone wanting to try out kayaking has a lot of easier options along the North Shore.

“If you drive up Highway 61 to Canada every few miles there's a river with waterfalls, with rapids and it's almost all runable,” Zimny said.

He said whether you're washing through the white water or just sitting on shore the Lester River Race will impress. Kayakers take off down the river at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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