Arts & Entertainment

LA River Boat Race returns for its second annual event

File: Advanced whitewater boaters from the LA Kayak Club take on the mighty LA River one hot summer Sunday.
File: Advanced whitewater boaters from the LA Kayak Club take on the mighty LA River one hot summer Sunday.
Anthea Raymond/KPCC

Over 100 people participated in the first-ever L.A. River Boat Race last year, paddling down the water using paddleboards, canoes and kayaks. This year it's back, with organizers aiming to make it bigger. 

"We've raised our profile significantly, both within the racing community and within the larger northeast Los Angeles community," Boat Race producer Anthea Raymond said. "We've really reached out."

The original sprint course is open for everyone, even those who don't own boats — boats will be provided for anyone who needs one. A new more advanced course, however, will only be available to contestants who have prior experience, and their own boats, Raymond said. For this race, contestants will race down the entire river, going from the Glendale Narrows rec zone to the end near the 5 and 110 freeways, Raymond said.

"We want people to be familiar with their equipment if they take on the more challenging [route]," Raymond said.

Honorary paddlers for the race include the chair of the L.A. County Arts Commission and Highland Park's Chicken Boy. Prizes will include trophies, yoga lessons and pickles. 

Raymond emphasized that the point of the race is to have fun, encouraging everyone to stick to their own pace. She said races will be divided by age and gender. 

Raymond said the L.A. River offers a unique experience, with her favorite part of the event being the uniqueness of the river itself. 

"I love looking up and being able to see and to feel that contrast, because there is that urban energy around you that you can kind of feel being dissipated by the trees, but it's still there," she said.