The Marsh Stream races are the final test for paddlers in preparation for the “granddaddy” of them all in Maine paddling — next Saturday’s the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race.

And Mother Nature provided paddlers with significant challenges during Sunday’s Marsh Stream downriver race and sprints held in Frankfort.

Race director Bill Deighan explained that water conditions might even have been a little too free flowing for the annual event.

Deighan said the downriver race was shortened from six miles to five because of the dangerous water conditions that existed toward the end of the full course.

“We left off the last two big sets of rapids because of the potential loss of equipment and the potential loss of life,” he explained, only half-kidding about the latter dynamic.

His son Angus Deighan is an experienced paddler who won the Open Canoe 1 Racing division with a time of 36 minutes, 57 seconds, got a little more than he bargained for after opting to complete the original course.

Angus Deighan got caught in a hydraulic at the Fire Island Rapids and spun around five times before he was able to safely extricate himself and paddle to safety.

Bill Deighan explained that the high, fast water created the hydraulic in a spot where one had not been expected, even for a paddler who was familiar with the stream.

“It was a fun day except for that little bit,” said Bill Deighan, who said competitors paddled 26 crafts in either the downstream race or the sprint event.

Hank Thorburn was the overall winner in his long kayak, posting a time of 33:20. He edged Ray Wirth, another K1 Long entrant, who was second in 33:25. Bill Deighan and Patrick Deighan finished third (35:11).

In the Marsh Stream’s short race, the OC2 Mixed Century team of Terry Wescott and Ander Thebaud posted the fastest time, 37:13.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...