Paddling the River City
This city. This wilderness. Richmond, Virginia, is an amazing mix of the urban and the middle-of-nowhere. Within the city limits runs the James River, home of Class III and IV rapids surrounded by miles of protected wilderness park. I moved to Richmond a few years ago and was immediately drawn to the river; I had to connect with it.
Paddle boarding connects you with the river. I’ve been a member of the RVA Swim Team for a couple years, and the only qualification to join is having attempted the Lower James, which runs through the heart of Richmond. Downtown is home to rapids with names like Washing Machine, Stripper and Flipper, Triple Drop, Pipeline, and more. Paddleboarding will connect you to the river. I love it.
People I’ve met on the river have become close friends. We watch out for each other and party at the take-out, telling stories about clearing a rapid or swimming for your gear after wiping out. Sometimes you don’t say anything. Early in the morning, fog floats above the river, sinking the Richmond skyline. There are no words. I look around and realize heaven is real, and I found it on a paddleboard.
– Matthew Rosenberg, 6 year resident of Richmond