Founded in 2003, the Yonkers Public Paddling Program, an arm of the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club (YPRC) was initially created to introduce people to the sport of kayaking.
In 2016, the YPRC’s Public Paddling Program was renamed the Hudson River Riders and adopted a new mission: to create a classroom on the water for disadvantaged youth, helping them to develop paddling skills and become the next generation of environmental stewards.
Hudson River Riders (HRR) operates out of JFK Marina and Park and the YPRC Boathouse, offering free kayaking on the Hudson River to youth and adults. In addition to their walk-up kayak program, HRR has weekly paddles for teens to introduce them to the sport of kayaking.
Hudson River Riders is supported by YPRC membership, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the City of Yonkers, and more.
During the summer of 2023, HRR put over 1,500 youth and adults on the water. With funding from an Estuary Program Grant, HRR purchased smaller-sized kayaks for teens. Without the right size kayak, youth could have difficulties steering and paddling the vessel.
In 2022, Hudson River Riders received a grant from the American Canoe Association to develop Black, Indigenous, and people of color paddling instructors. YPRC trained seven club members, including three of the Hudson River Riders staff.
All three not only received the Level 1 Certification, but also reached Level 2 instructor certification. Director Chev Dixon and Manager Alex Morales, run the day-to-day HRR public paddles and also train all the HRR staff in kayak skills and rescue.
Photo of Hudson River Riders courtesy Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club.