The water was high and fast and — literally and figuratively — helped to provide plenty of spills, chills and hairy moments for paddlers during the 39th annual St. George River Race on Saturday, March 31.

The Waldo County YMCA-sponsored event traditionally opens the whitewater paddle season in Maine and is a true sign that spring is in the air — even if the first official day of the new season was 12 days earlier.

Nonetheless, on a beautiful day, with temperatures in the high-40s, 177 paddlers in 109 craft made the fast, tricky trek down the river, most over the surface of the water and around the dangerous boulders in the river.

However, more than a few paddlers also, often without warning, took an unexpected and unwanted dip in the cold water.

The high, raging water often covered the rocks — the bones of the river — so collisions between crafts and hard surfaces were plentiful — and those unforeseen meetings did not often end well for the paddlers.

Watch video below from this event.

On a day when many canoes took on water and needed to be bailed out as paddlers navigated down the river, Ben Randall finished with the fastest kayak time in 39 minutes and 10 seconds, while Rod McLain had the fastest canoe time in 41:54.

Canoes, kayaks and one standup paddleboarder came down the river.

The St. George River Race started with registration at the Searsmont Methodist Church. The course started at the St. George Bridge in Searsmont Village, then included three miles of dead water, one mile of rapids, two miles of dead water and curves with one Class III drop. This race has Class II and III rapids — plus or minus depending on the water level.

Next up is the 45th annual Passagassawakeag River Race, or "Passy," on Saturday, April 7. The registration is 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., with an 11 a.m. start. The cost of is $20.

The canoe and kayak circuit begins with these two Waldo County YMCA-sponsored races.

For more information or to register, call 338-4598 or stop into the YMCA at 157 Lincolnville Ave., Belfast.

The Passagassawakeag River Race starts with registration at Littlefield Farm, Savage Road in Waldo. The course is one mile of flat water with many curves, and passes under a cement bridge, then one mile of flat water followed by short stretch of Class II rapids and then two miles of flat water to Rolerson's Bridge then Class I, II and III whitewater for one-and-half miles with a flat water finish.

The individual St. George River Race results included:

Anything goes — 1, Names of paddlers unavailable, 50:58; and 2, Emmanual Boss, 58:22.

Century — 1, Chip Loring and Ander Thibaud, 46:48; 2, Terry Wescott and Dale Hartt, 47:26; 3, Tammy Kelley and Bob Hessler, 48:37; 4, Andy Abello and Peter Abello, 52:52; 5, Eric Taylor and Ellen Hall, 54:33; 6, John Lightner and Huges Kraft, 54:36; and 7, Jon Thurston and Roy Thurston, 58:53.

Clydesdale — Roland Littlefield and Justin Sanderson, did not finish.

College — 1, Jasper Houston and Jesse Newton, 49:49; 2, Megan Nowland and Sidney Beardsworth, 1:01:14; 3, Bryce Graves and Liam Harrington, 1:02:20; 4, Adam Williams and Libby Washburn, 1:23:55; and 5, Eliza McGarr and Sean Anderson, 1:37:19.

High school — 1, Kellen Doyle and Damon Gallipeau, 43:12; 2, Kell Fremouw and Cole Way, 49:00; and 3, Brady Burke and Jack Burke, 53:49.

Junior/senior ages 12 and younger — 1, Jamie Hannon and Corva Hannon, 48:43; 2, Ryan Mitchell and Alana Mitchell, 50:03; 3, Peter Hastings and Henry Hastival, 59:50; and 4, Andy Price and Alex Price, 1:16:07.

Junior/senior ages 13-16 — 1, Justin Wardell and Finn Wardell, 47:06; 2, Dan Kelley and Colby Kelley, 50:49; 3, Chris Dalton and Katie Dalton, 51:09; 4, Isaac Widmer and Glen Widmer, 54:25; 5, Aaron Winslow and Kayden Richards, 54:35; 6, Lee Graf and Brigham Graf, 59:20; and 7, Nathan Harrington and Isaac Harrington, 1:02:49.

Kayak — 1, Ben Randall, 39:10; 2, Ray Wirth, 40:31; 3, Hank Thorburn, 40:49; 4, Justin Varney, 43:54; 5, Andrew Cooper, 44:25; 6, Dave Kelley, 51:04; and 7, Ben Fuller, 1:01:08.

Kayak short — 1, Mark Bamford, 46:46; 2, Brian Foley, 46:50; 3, Adam Scott, 48:15; 4, Dan Baumert, 48:44; 5, Jason Baltes, 49:45; 6, Larry Merrill, 50:13; 7, Chris Steiner, 1:02:35; 8, Chris Schreiber, 1:09:10; 9, Ben Greeley, 1:11:19; and 10, River Bourgoine, 1:24:10.

Kayak women — 1, Leslie Gregory, 49:13; 2, Alex Horme, 50:26; 3, Jessica Sterling, 52:31; and 4, Aili Hartikka, 1:08:20.

Kayak weekend warrior — 1, Matt Jameson, 48:31; Mark Gaffney, did not finish; and Chris Biggart, did not finish.

OC1 — 1, Rod McLain, 41:54; 2, Bob Martin, 48:23; 3, Brian Battista, 51:18; 4, Dick Kelley, 58:21; and 5, R.W. Estela, 1:06:02.

OC1R — 1, Rick Gause, 51:24; 2, Morgan Baxter, 52:19; 3, Mark Risinger, 53:41; 4, River Robertson, 53:55; 5, Bob Winslow, 58:23; 6, Roger Merchant, 1:03:03; 7, Chris Corey, 1:04:08; 8, Edgar Lamb Jr., 1:05:41; and 9, Wayne Pitre, 1:07:11.

OC1W — 1, Hannah Rubin, 48:50.

OC2M — 1, Tommy Owen and Jeff Owen, 42:07; 2, J.R. Mabee and Nolan Mabee, 43:56; 3, Eric Gallandt and Karl Kruetz, 44:03; and 4, Ashton Mabee and Clayton Cole, 44:45.

OC2Mix — 1, Bill Deighan and Eve Dana, 47:02; 2, Dan Littlefield and Ade Macleod, 47:34; and 3, Bucky Owen and Susannah Owen, 49:29.

OC2Mix Rec — 1, Nicole Grohoski and Shawn Burke, 46:43; 2, Angus Deighan and Abbey Verrier, 48:03; 3, Dale Cross and Caitlin May, 48:11; 4, Lara Dorr and Greg Dorr, 48:40; 5, Christina Halsted and Emily Jolliffe, 49:42; 6, Anna Bastides and Eric Guiana, 51:55; 7, Noah Klemr and Lauren Cote, 56:05; 8, Hester Kohl and Erik Brooks, 57:20; and 9, Jennifer Neptune and Tom Moriarty, 58:52.

OC2RM — 1, Nolan Steele and Ted Steele, 46:45; 2, Rich May and Aaron Cross, 47:01; 3, D.W. Smith and David Lee, 47:04; 4, Chad Robertson and Greg Caruso, 48:46; 5, James Robbins and Noah Robbins, 52:07; 6, John Dietter and Chris Richmond, 56:16; and 7, Hunter Tzovarras and Arrian Stockdell, 1:06:50.

OC2RS — 1, Brian Wagner and Kevin Coombs, 51:23; 2, Greg Shute and Kate Ziminsky, 51:28; 3, Sam Howell and Matt Lewis, 55:09; 4, Eddie Hatch and Nick Bambrick, 55:54; 5, Joe McGowan and True Bragg, 58:11; 6, Benjamin Marriner Pratt and Logan Perkins, 1:00:32; 7, Robert Hanscome and Adam Sawyer, 1:02:30; 8, David Baird and Steve Withers, 1:07:31; and 9, Jacob Pendleton and Ivan Bragg, 1:13:12.

OC2W — 1, Jen Adams and Hannah Marshall, 56:05; 2, Katie Schoette and Grace McMullan, 56:53; 3, Dana Williams and Sofi Lopez, 1:02:43; and 4, Megan Jackson and Leah Jackson, 1:19:02.

OC2WW — 1, Josh Howell and Billy Day, 52:01; 2, James Seymour and Bud Robbins, 54:23; 3, Erin Fay and Ed Varney, 56:38; 4, Murphy Macleod and Jeff Littlefield, 58:13; and 5, Rob Roberts and Shawn Roberts, 1:00:20.