Our History

Wenatchee Row and Paddle Club was founded in 1989 when three Wenatchee Valley residents - Larry Tobiska, Elliot Scull and Bob Derry - began discussing the need for a place to store their rowing sculls along the Columbia River.

At the same time, the Chelan County PUD was considering tearing down the old Lindston barn near the foot of Ninth Street while the PUD built new waterfront parks. The three men asked the PUD to preserve the barn as a place to store boats and as a spot to launch boats. The PUD agreed and the club was born.

Originally called the Wenatchee Rowing Club, the organization soon evolved to serve as an umbrella for the sport of paddling as well.

According to an 1989 story in The Wenatchee World, the club's original goals were to encourage rowing in the area and to hold competitions. The first officers were Scull, president; Tobiska, vice president; and Steve Crossland, secretary-treasurer.

The World reported the club's initial 12 members had plans to remodel the old barn into a facility that could accommodate "19 to 24 racks for rental use by club members. ... This will make the Columbia more readily available by eliminating the need for rowers repeatedly having to transport their vessels from home on top of cars."

Club members also spoke of adding a small dock just offshore from the old barn. "This would avoid difficulties at the foot of Orondo Street, where organizers say motorboats take off and create waves big enough to tip over the narrow 19- to 25-foot-long rowing vessels," The World reported.

That dock was put together with hammer and nail at Len Pugsley's waterfront home in East Wenatchee and then motored across the Columbia River to the Wenatchee side and the Ninth Street spot.

"More than two decades later what originally began as a rowing club is now the Wenatchee Row and Paddle Club with two storage buildings accommodating some 106 boats, both club and private," says Kim George, 2012 club vice president. "What was merely a vision shared by a trio of rowers is now a growing, dynamic organization dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of rowing and paddling."