The competition circuit that takes place in Colorado is quite an amazing experience. It all begins with the small town competition in
Buena Vista, Colorado, the CKS Paddlefest. The Buena Vista Whitewater Park is
one of the best whitewater parks I have ever been to. It keeps getting better
and better. Last year, they had only 4
features and this year they added one new feature, a wave making it the fifth
feature in this already exciting park. That wave was where they held their
competition this year kicking off an exciting competition season. Everyone had
so much fun on the new feature and the turn out of people was awesome. The
whole shore was covered with on-lookers to all the blunts and pistol flips
being thrown. The junior women’s class only consisted only of Hannah Kertesz
and I. So, for our last ride in the wave we jumped in a Duo for our both first
time and surfed the wave. Screams coming from both of us, we even flipped
almost swimming surprising everyone as we rolled up the massive boat. In the
end, it was an awesome first festival.
The next competition is the Teva Mountain Games. This is biggest festival not only consisting of a kayaking but, dog jumping, mountain
biking, running, and many more. This is the biggest venue I have ever been to
and its one of the most exciting. There is so many people walking around and
the number of vendors promoting their product is nothing to shake a stick at. The
giving away of free swag is plentiful. You could get a bag from one vendor and
fill it up by stopping by each vendor’s tent. The first kayaking event at the
Teva Mountain Games is the Homestake creek race. You will see all the big names
in creeking show up such as Andrew Holcombe, Adrienne Levkhenect, Teo Burman,
and many Europeans and Kiwi names too. The Teva Games are an event that
everyone from all over the world will come too. The next kayaking event was the
freestyle which consists of the Men’s and Women’s class making it a challenge
for all of the juniors. But its still fun to have your heat consist of the
people you look up to and have them cheer your on. The levels during this event
go to record highs making the hole rise dramatically throughout the day making
for an interesting showing. The water turned a chocolaty color compliments of
the mud. The next kayaking event here was the downriver sprint. It starts 8
miles upriver of the hole in Vail village, it ends at the bridge right before
the beginning of the village. The last kayaking event there is the 8 ball which
is ridiculousness at its finest. You better make sure your wear a fullface and
some elbow pads because a paddle to the face is the least of your worries
during this race. Those are all the events during the games and as always this
festival ended leaving everyone with a satisfied feeling.
After the Teva Mountain Games, you move on to the small town of Lyons for the Lyons Outdoor Games. Even though they are a small town they
sure know how to throw an event. At first, everyone was concerned about the
feature that the freestyle was going to be held at. The usually high levels
were making it a tricky feature. But little did we know until a couple days
later was that they had an amazing high water feature they didn’t even know
about upstream. I’d have to say the feature here was my favorite one out of all
of the ones we paddled at throughout the competitions. The hole was so much fun
and was ‘huge air loop central’. I saw some of the biggest loops thrown here.
It did start raining here which continued on throughout the whole event but it
still went on without a hitch. All you saw was more tents go up. It was still
just as fun because I mean we’re already wet in the water anyways.
The event following the Lyons Outdoor Games, is FIBArk (First In Boating the Arkansas) which is a mix of a carnival and kayaking. At
this festival there was of course the freestyle, a slalom event, wildwater, and
some of downriver races. Then there was some pretty funny events thrown in
there too. These include the raft rodeo and the hooligan race which is always a
crowd pleaser of ridiculous crafts made to float or not float down the river.
After you take place in your event for the day you can go enjoy the yummy
carnival food, ride the rickety rides, and enjoy the music that plays at night.
FIBArk is really a town event and so many people of Salida go to it.
The last event everyone journied to on this tour was Missoula, Montana for the US team trials. Missoula is a small town surrounded
by rolling green hills. An ‘L’ is located on one standing for Loyala and a ‘M’
on the other for University of Montana. The feature is located next to a nice
green park and has an overlook above it for viewing. It also has a great shoreline.
So, it was the perfect venue for our team trials to be witnessed by everyone in
Missoula. The wave-hole was another very fun feature and it was very versatile.
I saw every trick throw there. The town of Missoula is very focused on making
their whitewater much more prominent. They are starting work on another great
feature called the “Max Wave” which they hope will host World Championships one
year. As you can see the competition circuit is an amazing thing to attend to
every person should at least go to one event in their kayaking career. It sure
is the experience of a lifetime.