Every spring, New Paltz hosts a peculiar regatta on the Wallkill River. First there’s the kayak race (usually, the only competitors here are injection molded boats, though the one time I competed, I raced the skin-and-frame kayak I’d built myself – came in second, which also happened to be last). The kayak race is followed by the canoe race, which in turn is followed by the main event: the home made boat race. Anyone with a creative idea and some drive to bring it to fruition can compete. This year, we had Vikings versus Shop Rite versus pirates versus Tiki bar versus Doctor Seuss versus ninjas versus a big rubber ducky versus the New Paltz Greens versus… I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting. So many classic battles – ninjas versus pirates. Vikings versus Greens. Shop Rite versus… everyone. As usual, the ninjas came in first by a mile. Almost as predictably, Shop Rite came in dead last, after many difficulties getting to the starting line and some apparent confusion regarding which way to paddle.


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