Loma Prieta Paddlers
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Mokelumne River Races

Hosted by the Sierra Club since 1978

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  • 2024 Moke Races are scheduled for Sept 20th-22nd

    More details and registration info to come

    Quick links

    What are the Moke Races?

    The Mokelumne River Races - also called the Moke races - are a weekend whitewater kayaking event with a three mile downriver sprint, an 18-22 gate slalom race and plenty of slalom course practice time.

    The races are open to all boaters from novice to expert.  It's a fun weekend and great for your paddling skills, no matter what your level.  Many boaters use their standard river running or play boats, but you'll also see people in carbon fiber slalom racing boats, whitewater canoes, wildwater downriver race boats, and even Stand-up Paddleboards (SUPs).

    If you're unfamiliar with running a slalom course check out our Slalom Course Basics page

    Even if you're not sure that you're up for racing, watching the races, practicing on the slalom course and lending a hand can be a lot of fun and can give you a taste for what it's all about.

    Since 1978 the races have been sponsored by the Loma Prieta Paddlers.  LPP is an activity section of the Sierra Club and an American Canoe Association Paddle America Club. We are based in the San Jose and San Francisco Bay area. We support the California paddling community through river trips and the annual Mokelumne River Races.

    Proceeds from the races go to support the club's activities and donations to various river advocacy organizations.

    Part of 2008 Race Crowd
    A weekend at the races.
    Part of 2011 Race Crowd
    Part of the 2011 Race Crowd.

    Location

    The course is set up on a Class II stretch of the Mokelumne River known as the Electra run.   It's in California's gold country, just off of Highway 49, south of the gold rush town of Jackson.

    It's a pretty stretch of river with some nice beaches for swimming, relaxing and fishing when you're not kayaking.   It has easy road access, a short stroll up the bank from the river's edge.

    The Mokelumne is a dam controlled river.  PG&E has been a great supporter of the races; delivering consistent flows for race weekend.

    To get to the races drive approximately 5 miles south of Jackson on Hwy 49.  Turn left on Electra Road.  This is the last road on the left before Hwy 49 crosses the Mokelumne River. You'll find the race course about 1.5 miles up the road.

    This road paved, but very narrow, please drive carefully. You must park off of the pavement along Electra road.   Parking is always limited so carpooling is recommended.

    It's about a 2:30 drive from the Bay Area, a bit over an hour from Sacramento, 3 hours from Chico, Fresno or Reno and about 5 hours from Bakersfield.

    Here's an interactive map of the race course location including points of interest in the area.

    Slalom Event

    The slalom course is 18-20 gates spread out over 300 yards of class II whitewater.   The course is available all day Saturday for practice and the race takes place on Sunday.

    If you're unfamiliar with running a slalom course check out our Slalom Course Basics page.

    Looking upstream
    Here's a look upstream from about halfway down the course.

    Your score for each run is your time, in seconds, plus penalties for touching (2 seconds) or missing (50 seconds) a gate.  You get two runs down the course and your standing is based on the best of your two runs.

    Looking upstream
    Here's a typical score sheet from Dan's two runs

    You'll see lots of custom slalom boats at the races, but many people choose to practice and race in their everyday whitewater kayak, canoe or IK.

    Boats at the put-in
    Boats of every description at the put-in for the races
    Keith in a K-1 Slalom boat
    Keith in a glass K-1 Slalom kayak
    Erica in a K-1 River boat
    Erica in a plastic K-1 river kayak
    Darrick in C-1
    Darrick in a C-1
    Jessica & Charlie in a C2
    Jessica & Charlie in a C-2
    Vince OC1
    Vince in his OC-1
    Jim & Jan in OC2
    Jan & Jim in their OC-2

    Race Classes

    The type of boat you choose to paddle and your gender and age determines which class you race in.  Racers may participate in a maximum of one K1 event, but may race a combination of K1, C1, C2, OC1, OC2 and IK events.  Men's and women's are separate categories and two paddler boats also have a mixed category.

    Class Gender Boat Type Age
    K1 Master M, W 1 paddler kayak 40 & over
    K1 Expert A M, W 1 paddler kayak Any
    K1 Expert B M, W 1 paddler kayak Any
    K1 Intermediate M, W 1 paddler kayak Any
    K1 Novice M, W 1 paddler kayak Any
    K1 Junior M, W 1 paddler kayak 15-17
    K1 Cadet M, W 1 paddler kayak 14 & under
    K2 M, W, Mixed 2 paddler kayak Any
    C1 M, W 1 paddler closed canoe Any
    C2 M, W, Mixed 2 paddler closed canoe Any
    OC1 M, W 1 paddler open canoe Any
    OC2 M, W, Mixed 2 paddler open canoe Any
    IK Any 1 or 2 person inflatable kayak Any

    If you're paddling in K1 Novice, Intermediate or Expert B and you won your class in a previous year when there were three or more paddlers in that class you must move up to the next class.

    Here are some thoughts on how running gates in a slalom course can be used to gauge and improve your river paddling.

    Downriver Event

    Saturday afternoon we hold the downriver race.   Racers paddle as quickly as possible the 3 miles from the starting line at the beach near the Electra powerhouse to the finish near the Highway 49 bridge.

    Wildwater and slalom boats are started at one minute intervals.  The river boat (longer plastic boats), play boat (short plastic boats), canoe, inflatable and SUP classes have a mass start.

    2002 RPM class mass start
    Lined up for the river boat class mass start
    2002 RPM Class They're off
    They're off! Downriver mass start

    Most boaters do this run in 20-30 minutes; which is a big change from the two the three hours boaters take when they are playing down this same stretch of river.

    There is a pre-race meeting at the put-in beach and there is always an assortment of vehicles leaving from around the registration tent to carry racers, their gear and boats to the put-in at Electra beach.  Help with this downriver shuttle is always appreciated.

    Race Classes

    The type of boat you choose to paddle and your gender and age determines which class you race in.  Since there is only a single downriver race you may only participate in single downriver event.

    Class Gender Boat Type Age
    K1 Wildwater M, W 1 paddler widlwater & sea kayaks Any
    K1 Slalom M, W 1 paddler slalom boats & long kayaks such as dancer, pirouette, green boat Any
    K1 Juniors M, W 1 paddler kayak - all boats 15-17
    K1 Cadets M, W 1 paddler kayak - all boats 14 & under
    K1 River Runner M, W 1 paddler plastic kayaks 7' 6" and over Any
    K1 Play boat M, W 1 paddler plastic kayaks under 7' 6" Any
    C1 M, W 1 paddler closed canoe Any
    C2 M, W, Mixed 2 paddler closed canoe Any
    OC1 M, W 1 paddler open canoe Any
    OC2 M, W, Mixed 2 paddler open canoe Any
    IK Any 1 or 2 person inflatable kayak Any
    SUP Any 1 paddler stand-up paddleboard Any

    Schedule of Events

    The races usually take place around the third weekend in September. We post the race date for the coming year in early spring as we get confirmation of water availability and dates for other fall paddling events.

    Registration

    Check back here a few weeks before the next races to find a link to the race registration.

    Are There Prizes?

    The races are entirely supported by registration fees and are not a corporate sponsored event.  In lieu of large cash prizes the winners get the applause and admiration of their fellow paddlers.

    Weather

    The weather in late September or early October can range from sunny and hot to cool, with a slight chance of rain.  The water on the Mokelumne is dam fed and is a bit on the cool side, even when the days are hot.

    Here are the averages for September & October:

    Month Avg. High Avg. Low Avg. Precip Record High Record Low
    September 84.6 F 50.8 F 0.9 108 F
    9/6/1988
    33 F
    9/27/1948
    October 77 F 46 F 2.1 100 F
    1987
    23 F
    1971

    The current weather in Jackson is:

    What to Bring

    There are no concessions at the races and no drinking water available along the river corridor.   The nearest stores are back down the Electra road and then north on Hwy 49 into Jackson.   We recommend you bring enough to eat and drink for each day.

    Trash cans will be set up near the slalom course and there are pit toilets available at several points along the river.

    Depending on your judging station folding chairs, sun umbrellas, a tarp, rope and plenty of sun screen can be a good idea.

    Each judging station needs a throw rope and a whistle.  If you have these items, please bring them along and while you're at it put in your personal first aid kit.

    You'll of course need your boating gear which must include your PFD, helmet and float bags.

    Feel free to bring your own fans and cheering section.   If you have non-boaters who'd like to help out at the races please let us know.   We always can use an extra hand.

    Safety

    The races are held on a class II section of the Mokelumne River.   Participants must the have river skills and experience for this difficulty of river.   If you have never boated on this section of the Mokelumne River we recommend that you take an opportunity to paddle the Electra run before the races to familiarize yourself with the river and it's rapids.

    All participants are required to have an approved PFD, helmet and float bags in order to race or practice on the course.

    All participants are required to help any boater requiring aid.

    During the downriver race there may be times when you are paddling in a large group of boats and other times when you may be out of sight of other boaters.   Two sweep boaters will follow the last racers down the course.  We will also have a safety boaters stationed at each of the two largest rapids on the run, "The Slot" and "S-Turn".

    The slalom race course will have throw bags stationed at each judging station.   There will also be two racers in the water at all times at the end of the slalom course to lend assistance if required.

    In the event that medical attention is required Sutter Hospital is located in the town of Jackson a short distance away.   A medical professional will not be on location at the races.

    Loma Prieta Paddlers has also put together a brief river safety plan for the Mokelumne River.

    Lodging

    There are several campgrounds near the town of Jackson such as Indian Grinding Rock State Park, Gold Country Campground, New Hogan Lake and Lake Camanche.   There is no camping allowed along the Mokelumne River itself.   The nearby gold rush town of Jackson has many hotels to choose from.   Here's a Google Map showing the river and a few of the common places to stay and eat in Jackson.

    Volunteering for the races

    We can always use an extra hand so if you or non-boating significant others would like to volunteer to help out at the races please contact us.

    Promoting the Races

    If you'd like to put up a flyer advertising the races here is a flyer:   Link to PDF races flyer

    Contact Us

    For additional information about the Moke Races email us at: or visit the Loma Prieta Club website at www.LomaPrietaPaddlers.org

    See you at the races!

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