Sunday, June 29, 2014

Secesh & Payette River Games!

 8 Ball Podium- Me, Rowan & Martina Photo credit: Erik Boomer & River Roots
 Boater Cross Podium- Rebecca Gibbens, Martina, me, Claire Photo credit: Erik Boomer & River Roots
 SUP Podium! Winner took home $10,000! Photo credit: Erik Boomer & River Roots
 Rounding the bouy- Photo Credit: Ryan Lucas
 Boater Cross Photo Credit: Ryan Lucas
 SUP Race, Photo Credit: Ryan Lucas
 Crushing the SUP heat! Photo Credit: Ryan Lucas
Photo Credit: Ryan Lucas
Boater Cross, Photo Credit: Ryan Lucas
Secesh River- Crux rapid (Magical Mile) Photo Credit: Ryan Lucas

After the North Fork Championships we headed to the Secesh River. This is a class 4 run with continuos boulder garden sections of whitewater. We had a sweet crew with Ryan, Nicole, Claudia, Clay, Martina, Will and Sam. Unfortunately when we got to the put in it was freezing cold and pogees were essential! The run started off slow and as the gradient increased the rapids became faster and faster. The crux section of the river was the magical mile and this was a really fun section with some good moves. All up the run took around 6hours and we finished at the confluence for the South Salmon. Half the crew kept going while Ryan, Martina, Will and I took out. 

After a chill week in Cascade with a couple of trips down to paddle the North Fork people started rolling into town for the Payette River Games. The Payette River Games is held at Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade Idaho. This event was super well organised and had an awesome turnout with world class athletes. The best SUP and Kayak athletes were invited to the event and the field of racers was to a high standard. The heat for the woman's kayak had the best competition that I have been up against all year with ex US American Olympic medalist Rebecca Gibbens, Martina Wegman, Adrienne Levkenect, Brenna Kelly, Jen Chrimes etc. 

I entered in all of the kayak events (except the freestyle) and I also entered the SUP events. Each day of competing was pretty full on with multiple races! I just took one race at a time and tried to just perform as well as I could without thinking too much about the results. The first event was the 10min downriver sprint in which I finished just behind Nicole and Martina in 4th, I took it pretty easy as I wanted to conserve energy for the SUP sprint event which was next. I was stoked to finish the SUP sprint in 4th place securing a spot in the top 5 overall SUP competition. Next was the 8 ball which is always a bit of a gamble. I focused on my own run and tried not to think about the 8 ballers and it worked as I finished out on top in 1st! After the 8 ball was the Boater cross event and after a heated semi-final I managed to pull through into the final 5. In the finals I finished in 3rd after Rebecca Gibbens and Martina Wegman. I was quite happy with this result as there was a lot of competition in the field. Finally the final for the SUP Cross came and I definitely did not realise just how exhausted I was going into the race until around halfway through when I fell off my board and struggled to get my paddle back. I finished in 5th and although I was a bit disappointed with my performance in my final I was stoked to take 5th place among the many hardcore SUP ladies!

The support for this event was pretty incredible. The athletes were treated to three meals a day, hot tubs, music, free accommodation and a prize pool of $50,000! The work that the volunteers and local community put in was amazing and we were made to feel like Kings! I was really stoked as an added bonus to take home some prize money to help me fund some more of my kayaking trips! I will definitely be back next year!

For more info about the event and more results checkout:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

North Fork Championships!

 Above: Aniol Serrasolses halfway down the course
 Above: Joe Morley on his way to rock drop
 Above: Dane Jackson
 Above: Katrina Van Wijk 

After an epic 12hour car journey Martina, Joe Morley, Jen Chrimes and myself finally arrived to camp on the banks of the North Fork of the Payette in Idaho. This river is like no other that I have paddled. It is roadside and has characteristics of big volume yet is not very deep and has sharp rocks. The river can be broken down into sections with the Upper 5, Swingbridge-Jakes, Golf course into lower 7 and then the main. The top sections are the most difficult but are a lot of fun! They just have a continuos style so you need to be on your game and ready to make moves. I did a lap from top to bottom (with a portage around the mighty Jacobs Ladder) and it took around 3-4hours. 

The third North Fork Championship was to kick off on the Friday so we did a bunch of laps on the lower 5 which was the section we were to race down for the ‘Expert’ Class. A lot of people came into the area for the race from around the globe making for a lot of hype in the atmosphere. I had a good race run but went through a couple of holes towards the bottom of the course loosing a small amount of time. I was pretty happy with my run and finished 4th in the womans just behind Jen Chrimes, Katrina V W with Martina Wegman taking the win. The top 5 men from this race went through to the Elite race down Jacobs Ladder. 

The Elite Race down Jacobs Ladder was invite only with around 25 racers + the 5 wild cards from the lower 5 race. Slalom gates were set up in a number of places down Jacobs ladder making for a technically difficult course. Each racer had 2 runs and it was awesome watching each talented kayaker race down the course. I was stoked to watch my good friend and the only female Katrina Van Wijk race down the course too. 

Stoked to come back next year, this event is for sure one of the stoutest and one of the best!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

GoPro Mountain Games, Colorado

 Crowds gather for the opening night concert- Xavier Rudd
 Steep Creek Championship Podium- 1st Martina Wegman, 2nd Sage Donelly, 3rd Louise Jull
 Mens Steep Creek Podium- 1st Issac Levinson, 2nd Dane Jackson, 3rd Joe Morley
 Homestake Creek
 Me coming into the last drop on the course 'Leap of Faith'
Photo credit- Gopro Mountain Games
Female Podium for the Downriver Race- Martina Wegman, Myself, Natalia Grey

The first event for the Gopro Mountain Games was the Steep Creek Championships which is held on Homestake Creek. It is a short race course around 2mins long and this year it fortunately had plenty of water! The competition was hot, with around 50men competing and 9Females from around the World. I raced consistently but lost time in all of my runs in the middle section of the course with varying lines. The top 5 went through to the Finals and it was here that I finished in 3rd after holding together a solid enough run, Martina Wegman had a clear lead ahead of Sage Donelly and I was just a second down on Sage. Issac Levinson threw down a really smooth run to take 1st ahead of Dane Jackson and Joe Morley. There were a lot of upsets in the final drop 'Leap of Faith' which can be a tricky crux move. 
The next event for me was the 17minute downriver event which is held on the Creek that runs through Vail township. It is class 2 and very gruelling. Martina once again took the win, I was second and Natalia 3rd. Issac Levinson took the win for the mens ahead of Dane Jackson and Joe Morley. 

There are heaps of awesome events going on each day here at the Gopro Mountain Games and it was really fun checking out the mountain biking slope style, freestyle and slack lining. 

The final events for me were the SUP Cross (Slalom SUP downriver) and the Kayak 8 Ball! Going into the SUP event I was a little unsure what to expect as there were a lot of pro SUP paddlers. The slalom gates and obstacles on the river were to my advantage as I was able to cut into the gates nice and high...even though I was a bit slow on the flat water sections! Stoked I took out 2nd place.
The Kayak 8 Ball is always a pretty random event with people trying to take out all the head to head races. This makes it quite random as to who wins as the people out in front first might get taken down first. I was stoked to see Kiwi Soph Moulder take out this event!

Really glad I came and I am definitely going to try and make it back next year. Thanks a lot to everyone that has helped me out this week, especially Rafa and Rush who picked me up from the airport etc.

Photo Credit below- Gopro Mountain Games
Racing the SUP Cross

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

2014 Little White Race

 Kind of overboofed Spirit Falls in the race... Photo Credit- Francois Bassard

 Boofing Spirit  Photo Credit- Francois Bassard

 Getting Spiritual

 With the finish in sight- Wishbone

 Cruising down 'Getting Busy'

Stoke in the eddy above Chaos after my first run down Spirit with Nicole & Katrina

The Little White Race is definitely one of the best extreme races I have been to! Organised by World Class Academy Director Capo Rettig, this event is so epic because it is well organised, backed by an awesome community and held on a incredibly beautiful class 5 river. Having arrived in Washington State at the end of April I became familiar with a bunch of the runs in the area that were running nice and high due to the Spring flows. I waited until the Little White dropped to 3.8 for my first run and found it pretty exciting and magical. I only got in a few runs at this flow before heading out to the Grand Canyon. I returned around a week before the race to lower levels of 3.5, then day by day it dropped until finally race day it was around 3.2. With the lowering of the water the longer sections of continuous whitewater became a lot easier (Getting Busy etc.) and the gorge drops became more rocky but still super sweet. 

2days out from the race my long time friend Katrina Van Wijk arrived. A large crew of us hit the water and with the stoke was high. Clay Lucas talked me through the line and I finally rallied off Spirit Falls! I was really happy with my line and managed to get my bow down nicely! I took the sneak on Chaos as I felt like being conservative. 

Finally the race…the stoke before the race was epicly high with competitors rolling into town from all corners of the world (Including Chile, New Zealand, France, Canada & Spain) just days before the race. There were maybe 30/40 men competitors, 3 Females in the Individual and then a bunch of team racers that included a combined female/male team with young charger Hannah K & Chris M. The downriver race kicked off first with the open men, open woman than teams. Evan Garcia took out the mens while Katrina Van Wijk took home the Woman’s competition for the 2nd year in a row! I finished in 3rd just behind Nicole Mansfield and was happy with my run. With 10runs down the river under my belt I was going for smooth and clean lines and managed to have a solid run with a few costly mistakes, but all in all I was stoked! The continuous style of the Little White keeps you busy and on your toes for the whole race run (for me 17mins 32sec). 
After the downriver event was the slalom on Spirit Falls! By far the stoutest slalom race I have ever done! It was pretty nerve wracking watching a lot of the men competitors as quite a few (including some very good paddlers) got sucked out the back of the ‘Hyphy’ eddy just above Chaos. To be honest though I felt more nervous for Spirit Falls. I ended up boofing Spirit Falls far too much & landed a little on my tail then rolled! I was a bit flustered by it & missed the 2nd super easy downstream gate. I then pulled myself together and went for the ‘Hyphy’ eddy and made it nice and clean then peeled out for a nice line over Chaos. Nicole & Katrina followed nailing all the moves! We were all stoked!

Final results overall:

Mens- Evan Garcia, Louis Geltman, Rush Sturges
Womans- Katrina Van Wijk, Nicole Mansfield, Louise Jull

Stoked to come back next year!