Amateur whitewater rafting team Redwood Rafters prepares for competition

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The Redwood Rafters are ready to take on whatever comes their way. Team members range from ages 10 to 17.

“After forming the redwood rafters, so I and other moms decided we needed a bit more structure to it, so we founded the united states amateur rafting coalition,” head coach Abby Grundman-Guthrie said. “And we support youth teams in the sport not only in Humboldt County, but that organization supports teams throughout the country.”

The rafters have been training in the Eel and Trinity rivers, out at Big Lagoon, and on the Humboldt Bay itself. The team hopes to bring attention to the sport on the North Coast.

“One of the goals of this team is to put Eureka and Arcata on the map for whitewater rafting and spread the word about local whitewater rafting,” team member Amaya Teraoka, 12, said.

Right now, they are training to compete in the amateur competition, the Boatsmith, scheduled for February.

That means learning the four disciplines of rafting competition such as downriver and slalom.

“Downriver is basically racing down river which means going down to see who gets to the finish line first,” team member Kiera Mckiver, 11, said. “Slalom is your going through gates and they are color coded and some of them you are going to have to go downstream and some your are going to go upstream.”

Two other competitions such as sprint and head-to-head are also featured. Each member of the team has a specialty.

“You don’t have to do that big splashy whitewater part. You can be a sprint specialist, so you’re pretty much on flat water, so if that’s your jam, you can do that. Or that gates; they’re very technical,” Grundman-Guthrie said. “You might be a kid that’s kind of athletic, but thinks more in a chess sort of atmosphere and running the rivers is a lot like chess, you know’ finding the plan and making the plan and going to a plan b if that doesn’t work out.”

Yet, there is a lot more to the team than just competition.

“It’s definitely fun. There’s a lot of cooperation, I’d say. As well, as everyone is really nice to each other,” team member Sol Cardines, 11, said. It’s really nice when we get out to the bay and paddle and get ice cream together.”

The Redwood Rafters is hosting costume paddle across the Humboldt Bay event on October 28th.

Those attending can paddle along the Humboldt Bay with the team from 12 p.m. To 2 p.m.

Tickets are available at usarc.us