WCC's boathouse restoration project made front page news in April 2017 edition of the Northwest Current, a community newspaper, in an article that gives important exposure to local efforts. 

Boathouse Rehabilitation Committee Chairman Chris Brown helped provide perspective, noting the Club's commitment to preserving our historic landmark building, continuing our community events and outreach and promoting paddle sports on the Potomac for recreational users and athletes. That members maintain those commitments - even as they "endure portable toilets and outdoor rinse showers" as the article archly notes - only underscores our dedication to the cause. 

The article also included comments from Chris Graae, the architect working on the renovation plans. Check it out here.



The WCC Mile Rock Challenge

Written by Meredith Brandt

The Washington Canoe Club is renowned for encouraging and producing high caliber athletes. It’s home to scores of national champions and over two dozen Olympic paddlers, including two gold medalists.

But, there’s another thing the Washington Canoe Club is known for: its community of like-minded water enthusiasts and ambassadors. And, as our water sports grow more and more competitive, there’s one longstanding race that reminds us that camaraderie on the water is what’s most important.

The event began in the 1990s as a 5k fun race to get members of all paddling skills together to gain racing experience. While it’s clear that the Club’s race team members didn’t lose momentum, the Mile Rock Challenge did. By the early 2000s the race disbanded, but was soon revived by a former WCC sprint coach in its current format: 2 laps to Mile Rock and back (1 lap if you’re on a standup paddle board)

Today, the Mile Rock Challenge is run by the Aquatics Committee and is not only a good opportunity for WCC team members to log training hours, it’s also as a way for Club members to get exposed to other types of paddlesports, introduce kids to paddling, and promote camaraderie among WCC members.

The Mile Rock Challenge is only open to WCC members. Races takes place on the first Sunday of each month from May to September at 10:00 a.m. Register for free the morning of the races and refer to the WCC Facebook page for any updates or changes.

Not race ready? Volunteer with the Aquatics Committee and gain experience in regatta timing. Contact aquatics@washingtoncanoeclub.org for more information.

Will we see you at the next Mile Rock Challenge?

WATCH: These Two Animated Skeletons Will Teach You How to Be a Better Paddler

What’s the difference between an elite and novice paddler? And how much better for your body is a good stroke technique? Watch these two paddling skeletons and find out…


This video comes from the Water Based Research Unit, which is based at Bond University on Australia’s paddling mecca of the Gold Coast and studies the physiological effects of surfing and paddling.

For this experiment, the Unit drafted a local elite paddler (can you guess who?*) to produce a 3D model of how your body should look when you paddle. Next up they got an amateur paddler to provide the contrast, and that contrast is quite stark.

The elite athlete looks very fluid and smooth, using their entire body to gain maximum power and leverage (pay attention to the hips), whereas the novice paddler looks stiff and jerky. As the Unit says:

“Note the use of the entire body in the elite paddler, less right sided elbow flexion and less rotation through the lumbar spine.”

We all know that a good technique is a good thing for racing, not just because it’ll make you paddle faster but also (generally speaking) it’s easier on your body. However it’s difficult to really visualise what a good technique is; I’ve seen a lot of paddling demonstrations over the years, but this might just be the single most innovative and effective way to show it.

WCC Seeking Space – help needed!

As a crucial initial step before applying for grants and fundraising for the restoration of the WCC Boathouse, the Archive and Records Committee needs secure office space in which to store and sort Club records, ledgers, photographs, and other memorabilia. These documents are currently scattered in several private and vulnerable locations. The need to consolidate, access and describe these materials of the Club’s history and architectural and structural plans before any formal applications are made is essential. The Committee is seeking a location suitable for this undertaking. Any suggestions welcome. Please contact Susan Hershey Johnston at susanhjohnston@gmail.com. Any and all suggestions will be appreciated.  Thank you for your help.

Paddlers brave rough waters in 29th Annual Blackburn Challenge

The 29th edition of the Blackburn Challenge proved to be more of a challenge than usual.

Dan Havens, Kathleen McNamee, Theresa Haught and Will Rhodes

Dan Havens, Kathleen McNamee, Theresa Haught and Will Rhodes

A 20-plus mile trek around Cape Ann is difficult enough at face value, but add choppy seas and high winds to the equation and the race becomes an incredibly difficult test of will, strength and technique.

Rowers were hit with four-foot swells once the race hit the 16-plus mile, open ocean portion of the race making it difficult for even the most experienced rowers. At the end of the day more than 200 boats entered the race and nearly three dozen did not finish the race because of the rough ocean conditions.

The Blackburn Challenge has been a Cape Ann staple for the last three decades and is seen as one of the most difficult, and most popular open water races on the East Coast.