This Saturday over 220 teams will be descending on RiverCity Sportsplex (13030 Genito Rd, Midlothian)
for the Spikeball Nationals Tournament.
There are eight different divisions and unfortunately, registration has closed so your dream of Spikeball glory will have to wait another year.
The format of the tournament is straightforward.
- Pool play will consist of all teams playing every other team in their pool once. Pools will be made by the SRA team with the intention of having even pools based on rankings and past tournament results.
12:00pm – 5:00pm: Bracket play
Teams will be seeded in a bracket based on the pool play results. Each division will have its own bracket. Seeding will be done by win/loss, point differential, then head to head. Bracket play will be single elimination.
There will also be a meetup for all the Spikeballers at Byrd Park on Friday between 2-4:30 PM, Welcome Party at Southern Railway Taphouse Friday evening from 5-8 PM and an after-party at Bingo Saturday night kicking off at 7 PM.
At its heart, Spikeball is fairly simple. All information gleaned from Spikeball.com.
- The game is played two on two. The serving team starts a rally by spiking the ball off the net towards the opposing team.
- The receiving team has up to three touches alternating between the two players, to spike the ball off of the net and back to the opposing team.
- Once the ball has been served, players can move and the ball from anywhere they choose. There are no boundaries.
- We the ball hits the ground, the rim, bounces more than once on the net or isn’t returned to the net in three touches, the opposing team receives a point.
- Games are typically played to 11, 15, or 21.
Tips for Using the River Safely
As the temperature climbs so does river usage and not everyone is well-versed in river saftey.
The following advice was submitted by avid whitewater boater Teresa Ann.
Here in Richmond, we have the great pleasure of easy access to the James River. Oftentimes, we feel confident that nothing can go wrong in the flatwater sections or in the relatively “easy” upper James section from Pony to Reedy.
As summer approaches and many folks are headed to the James to relax, kayak, paddle board, canoe, or tube, we need to be sure that some very important guidelines are followed by ALL, not just the whitewater boating community.
Too often, rescues are necessary, and they almost always involve recreational users who are not familiar with the river. The James is NOT a fun lazy river ride like at the parks. We can’t turn it off when things go south that users aren’t prepared for. I’ve found most recreational users only understand the large changes in river level but not the differences between 6ft and 8ft which are not easy to notice for an untrained idea but actually huge and dangerous.
- As you all may know, a man died on Monday at Z Dam and on Sunday, a young woman died on the Balcony Falls section further upstream. There were several factors at play here in both deaths. But most noticeable, neither was wearing a PFD. I’m sharing this information to educate not intimidate, and I hope you all will help spread the word.
All kayakers, paddle boarders, and river users (swimmers, tubers, etc) should use a PFD (personal flotation device. AKA: life jacket) whenever they are participating in water sports. While it is only legally required when the river is over 5ft, it’s a best practice to always wear one. Almost every death on this river involved a person who was NOT wearing a PFD. Accidents are just that – not intentional and unexpected. Your life jacket does no good on the back of your boat if you accidentally end up in the water. Even swimmers should be using PFDs. Several times a year there are swimmers drowning at levels under 5ft.
- When doing the Upper or Lower section (anywhere between Pony and 14th Street), all kayakers should be wearing a whitewater approved helmet. Not a bike helmet.
- Our river is a rocky bottom river, and while largely friendly geographically (no undercuts, major sieves, etc) there are still deadly features at all water levels – including strainers (woodpiles) and dams.
- This brings me to the next point. Low head dams are deadly. Never, ever go over a low head dam. We have several – Z dam, Williams Dam (other side of Williams island from Z), Vepco Levee, Boshers. All are deadly. Avoid dams at all costs. Always portage (walk and carry your boat) around a dam.Watch this video for more information about low head dams:
- Know the river level. It can be found at this website: https://water.weather.gov/
ahps2/hydrograph.php?gage= rmdv2&wfo=akqUnder five feet is the best level for beginners on flat water and the upper. Hazards still exist. For instance, more rocks are out which actually leads to more kayak and boat flips, resulting in more people in the water unexpectedly (did I mention you should always wear a life jacket regardless of level?)Over five and under nine varies greatly. I can’t go into the complexities here. Here are some general rules.Inexperienced boaters should generally not be on the James River over 6ft. Flows increase quickly making self-rescue more difficult and swims much longer. Just this weekend, I watched two inexperienced recreational kayakers (sit on tops) on the upper at 7.9ft with no PFD and bike helmets. One flipped and pinned his boat. He had to swim off the river. His boat came loose after an hour. It was too heavy to flip over. He was nearing hypothermia as we got out after a mile swim. Another rec boat is still pinned under the Powhite bridge.Between 6-9 is all very different. It gets faster. Rocks disappear, but hydraulics form where rocks once were. Most will let you out eventually, but not all of them. There is at least one “terminal hole” on the lower section once the river gets to 7.5+
Over nine feet is minor flooding and no one but advanced whitewater paddlers should be on the river at any point.
- Know the river temperature. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/
usa/nwis/uv?02035000You need a combined water and air temp of 120 to not become hypothermic. Most experienced white water boaters are still wearing dry gear when water and air temps are at 120. Cold water contributes to drowning. While 60 may feel warm in the air, water is another beast. Remember your body maintains a 98 degree norm. 60 and even 70 degree water shocks the system. Always dress for a swim. Cotton kills. It cools the body when wet and is heavy. Never boat in cotton.
- Always carry safety gear, including a throw rope to help if someone needs a rescue. But you have to learn how to properly use a throw rope because ropes on the river can be an entrapment issue.
- NEVER STAND UP IN MOVING WATER. If you are floating down stream because you’ve been flipped off your board, boat or tube, putting your feet down could lead to a deadly foot entrapment. Always float “Nose and Toes” nose points downstream and toes above the water. Float in your back or actively swim on your stomach. Never stand up.
I’m probably missing some stuff but these are basics. I would encourage anyone thinking of kayaking to take a swift water rescue class to learn how to rescue in the river. Someday, you may be glad you did.
Editor’s Note: To address some of the concerns Teresa has put up some homemade signs seen above and in the header image. The Parks Department is hoping to have permanent signage up at Huguenot Flatwater over the weekend. They are also planning to reinstall buoys but have to wait for the right water levels. They continually get washed away after high water events. Additional signage should be coming on the river as well and new portage signage on the island.
Black Bear’s Visit to Richmond Comes to a Safe End
No picnic baskets, bears, dogs, cats, or humans were harmed in today’s adventure.
A black bear decided to explore Richmond today. First spotted on the Northbank Trail he later headed into town. Previous reports earlier in the week had the bear up near Pony Pasture. The picture above is from RACC Instagram which reported on the sedation and transportation of the bear.
We just received a call about a bear-and it really was a bear. Sometimes we laugh and arrive on scene with a giant Rottweiler, but nope-this was a real bear. We named him Fuzzy Wuzzy. Shout out to @richmondpolice for helping keep us safe and to @virginiawildlife for tranquilizing and relocating the bear out of the City!
Here he is in town.
Critters of the Week
A wild critter we spotted in the RVA area and a critter up for adoption by SPCA or RACC.
Where Spotted: Bryan Park
Common Name: Blue Jay
Scientific Name: Cyanocitta cristata
Length: 8.7 – 12 in.
Weight: 2.3 – 3.8 oz
Wingspan: 13–17 in
Quick Facts (Courtesy of the Cornell Lab)
- Thousands of Blue Jays migrate in flocks along the Great Lakes and Atlantic coasts, but much about their migration remains a mystery. Some are present throughout winter in all parts of their range. Young jays may be more likely to migrate than adults, but many adults also migrate. Some individual jays migrate south one year, stay north the next winter, and then migrate south again the next year. No one has worked out why they migrate when they do.
- The Blue Jay frequently mimics the calls of hawks, especially the Red-shouldered Hawk. These calls may provide information to other jays that a hawk is around, or may be used to deceive other species into believing a hawk is present.
- Tool use has never been reported for wild Blue Jays, but captive Blue Jays used strips of newspaper to rake in food pellets from outside their cages.
- The pigment in Blue Jay feathers is melanin, which is brown. The blue color is caused by scattering light through modified cells on the surface of the feather barbs.
Kurt Cobain at Richmond SPCA
With the food out it’s less dangerous
Here we are meow, entertain us
I feel frisky and outrageous
Here we are meow, entertain us
Age: 8 years, 1 month
Gender: Neutered Male
To reduce visitor traffic, during the COVID-19 outbreak they are scheduling adoption appointments beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Please leave your phone number in a voicemail or email and an adoption counselor will call to set an appointment for you to meet with a pet. Email the adoption center or call 804-521-1307.