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News: WWSUP at the Kibler Valley River Run

Creek-style Downriver Racing

Calling all whitewater SUP paddlers and racers!

The 34th Annual Kibler Valley River Run features a new riverside site, a shorter 2 mile course, on-site camping, and excitement for the future of this Appalachian tradition. The event is hosted by the Red Bank Ruritans on the Dan River in Kibler Valley, Virginia, the last Saturday of July every year.

For official information go to For a recent video tour of the highlights see Coming Attractions: Kibler Valley 2016 The Dan River in Kibler Valley can be an intimidating and humbling experience for the unprepared despite it’s moderate class 2+/3- rating. The narrow passages, plentiful rocks, and cold, swift water combine to dump the uninitiated and occasionally pin and mangle boats.

It is unlike any downriver race I’ve entered in 15 years … and an absolute joy to run on a SUP.

This year my goal is to attract more Whitewater SUP racers. For the past 2 years I’ve barely managed to recruit enough SUP paddlers to fill out one co-ed whitewater SUP class – and I’ve won each year despite handicapping myself with a heavy, barge-like Jackson SUPerNatural. The race already attracts some of the fastest canoe racers in the southeastern US and I think the level of technical control required of SUP could attract new whitewater SUP racers ready to prove themselves on an unforgiving class 2+ creek.

Training and Practice

As an enticement to would-be competitors, contact me to get in on training runs throughout the month of July leading up to the race. The Pinnacles Hydro Plant provides recreational release water every Saturday in July and I am scheduling my time to be there. Join me to learn the race lines as well as the boofs, splats, eddies, and rock-spins.

Community & Whitewater Fellowship

The Kibler Valley River Run is a 34 year old institution of not only Patrick County, VA, but the regional whitewater paddling community as well. It is a place to make new friends and catch up with the old ones you haven’t seen in a while. With the new on-site camping opportunity I am anticipating tons of fun and great campfire stories.

In addition to camping at the race site expect to see the homes along the creek bursting with celebration and – in many cases – boating friends camping in the yards. The whole Kibler Valley community comes alive for this tradition with many residents, vacation home renters, and guests lining the river to cheer on the racers.

Venue and Red Bank Ruritans

Water for this event is provided by Danville, VA’s, Pinnacles Hydro Plant, built in the 1930’s. This plant releases water for recreational boating purposes on July Saturdays every year. Local boaters also often catch weekday releases when the plant provides peak-demand auxiliary power when the temps climb into the mid 90F’s.

The starting line for the downriver race is located at the historic power plant.

The Red Bank Ruritans, a local chapter of the national Ruritans civic organization, founded the Kibler Valley River Run in 1982. Back then the tandem canoe class was the most popular … which is where the most intense competition prevails over 30 years later. Funds raised from the KVRR go to support the Ruritans various charitable projects in this beautiful Appalachian Mountains community.

Freestyle Downriver Competition

In addition to the traditional downriver race – if there’s interest – one of our local downriver freestylers will lead an informal game of HORSE down the creek in a Follow-The-Leader format. Catch tiny eddies. Make difficult ferries. Style a rock splat. Squirt the outflow at Public Enemy #2. Catch air off Sammy’s Boof in Basketball Rapid. The locals have this creek dialed in – can you hang?

As with the Training runs – contact me if you’re interested in participating. Event schedule is still in development.


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