The 48th annual Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race happens this weekend in Bangor. It’s a lot of fun for the hundreds of canoeists and kayakers who actually brave the fast, cold water, but it’s probably just as fun for the people who line the banks of the stream to watch the participants as they pass – and maybe hoping for an occasional (or not-so-occasional) tip of a boat as the racers move over the rapids.
I’ve been going to the races as a spectator for quite a while, and it’s been a lot of fun to see how the art of canoe race spectating has evolved over the years. And as it has in so many areas of our lives, technology has been a big part of the changes.
As cameras have gotten more and more advanced (and less and less expensive), it seems like they show up in more places than ever. There’s always been a crowd of people standing on the stream’s banks, but it seems like more and more of them bring cameras along with them. Taking photos of the race is tough but fun, and luckily even high-quality cameras are relatively affordable now.
It’s been great watching as more people share photos and videos of the race from interesting perspectives in recent years, and it’s amazing to think that even just a few years ago, it was difficult to share information from the stream. These days, people can tweet or share media or thoughts as they happen on Facebook and Twitter, and it lets people who weren’t able to head down to the Kenduskeag take part in the race vicariously.
It will be interesting to see how spectating continues to evolve. It’s amazing to think that things like a video livestream from the banks is possible (and pretty easy to do with the right apps) now; when I first went to the race, that wouldn’t have been an option! Maybe in the future technologies like GPS or advanced photo sharing will allow people watching the race to be more immersed in what’s happening along the 16-mile route. As usual with technology, it’s tough to predict until it actually happens!