Paddling the James River in Richmond, Va.

Moving from New England to Virginia was a challenge but we made and settled in this summer and my first paddle here was around July 10th on the lower James River in Richmond, Va.

It worked out really well as a few locals showed me the lines on the river after I got lost trying to find the take out. As we paddled into the first rapid I was told there was going to be a surfing competition that night at Pipeline. Perfect.

This stretch of river is really fun at the levels I’ve been able to run it so far. From 5 feet to 14 feet it has been a blast. The coolest part of being here so far is seeing all the paddlers here on the James. The paddling community here are all very skilled and more than willing to show people around. I’ve been able to meet a bunch of paddlers and can’t wait for the King of the James Race this November.

I did make it to Z Dam a few times and also paddled the upper a couple of times. Z Dam is such a powerful spot that really tosses playboats into the air with lots of pop!

Probably the best flows I’ve seen so far was 13 feet at Z Dam and Pony Pasture and 10 feet on the lower was just a surf fest.

Any flow is fun with lots of squirt spots, waves and play spots. Looking forward to more paddling in Richmond!

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