Scantic Spring Splash attracts hundreds of paddlers and spectators

By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Enfield - posted Wed., Apr. 3, 2013
Enfield Scantic Spring Splash
Enfield Scantic Spring Splash competitors Nicole and Eric Gottier of Vernon paddle hard through the relatively calm waters below the Powder Hollow rapids toward the bridge and a first-place finish in the mixed recreation two-paddler canoe class. Photos by Tom Phelan.

Perfect spring weather and the call of the river brought almost 200 canoe and kayak paddlers, as well as hundreds of spectators, to the 22nd Annual Scantic Spring Splash in Enfield on Saturday, March 30.

"We always have a good turnout when the race is held on Easter weekend," said Spring Splash organizer Mike Dynia. He and his brother, Jeff, have been intimately involved with the event since its inception. Dynia thought families gathering together for the Easter holiday probably had something to do with the large spectator turnout at the popular vantage points. But there was no doubt in his mind that the optimal weather drew many people to join the crowds along the river's banks and at the finish line in Powder Hollow.

Dory and Michael Manfre were in sight of the Powder Hollow bridge when their white open canoe became hung up on the rock ledges in the Class II rapids. They had to jump into the 38-degree waters of the Scantic to dislodge it, only to lose it to the current. Once they caught up to it, Dory got in, while Michael hung onto the canoe as it passed under the bridge and crossed the finish line. Despite their difficulties, the two paddlers finished fourth in their class.

Many competitors in the two-paddler open canoe class fell victim to the last set of rapids on the Scantic racecourse, as they veered to the north bank of the river, and became lodged in the shallow water covering the ledges there. Once free of the rocks, several crews found their boats completely turned round, and facing upstream as they rushed down the rapids.

For Bianca Krzynowek of Somers, this race was her third on the Scantic. In her first two races, she competed in a kayak. This year she paired up with a friend from the Coast Guard, and competed in the mixed (male/female) recreation canoe category. The two were forced out of the canoe to free it from the shallow waters at the top of the Power Hollow rapids. "I got much wetter this year," she said, but she expects to return next year to compete again.

The course for paddlers in the expert class covered the entire 5-mile stretch from the start near Quality Street in Somers to the bridge at Powder Hollow Barn in Hazardville. Racers had one mandatory portage around the dam below the Route 191 bridge, and had to navigate through three sets of Class II rapids, the last set within sight of the Powder Hollow finish line.

The novice class paddlers navigated the first 2.5 miles of the Scantic racecourse, including some Class I rapids, and finished their race near the bridge at Route 191 (Broadbrook Road).

The Scantic Spring Splash canoe and kayak race is a part of the New England Canoe and Kayak Racing Association (NECKRA) racing series. The Scantic River Watershed Association sponsors the race, which this year included five novice classes and 13 racing classes.

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