Sunday, May 18, 2014

Reno River Fest

The Reno River Festival kicked off the 2014 USA freestyle kayaking competition circuit this weekend. Held at the Reno White Water Park in downtime Reno, 'the smallest, biggest city in Nevada', the Reno River Festival is a big music, shopping and kayaking festival that draws in massive crowds to this awesome little urban park.

An awesome view over the park

Young and Old. Nathan 12 watches new mum Amanda train

The kayaking events started on Saturday with the freestyle. The weather wasn't great so the crowds were small but the standard was very high. Hole 5 was selected for the competition and is one of the best small freestyle holes in the world. Every hole move can go there, however it still takes precision, understanding and skill. As there's only a couple of deep spots in the hole . But with the right timing and technique things can go and go massive. Even the complicated new moves and combos. The heats went pretty well. In the cold, wind, snow and hail everyone battled to get the points to go through.

Claire O and Ruth wait for their rides (photo by Scott Sady)

As the heats wrapped up everyone hit the hot showers and hot tubs in the local hotels to warm up before heading back out to the water for round two. It was during the afternoon session though where the action really kicked off. The sun came out and with it came the huge scores. In the mens it was a Jackson v's Pyranha battle.

Stephen and Jason chat before the finals (photo by Scott Sady)

Jason Craig dominated the first place spot with some massive 1,300+ point rides and huge huge huge air on his moves. 
Jason Craig goes huge (photo by Scott Sady)

Jason celebrates his win (photo by Scott Sady)

That left the battle for 2nd and 3rd and it was well fought by Stephen Wright, on his first day back using a paddle in weeks due to an injury, Alec Vorhees, Dave Fussilli and Matt Anger. In the end it s was the 'Dem Boys' who managed to pull out the big moves and combos and secure the top 2 spots.

Dave Fusilli sets of into a combo of moves (photo by Scott Sady)
In the womens finals the battle was first place. I took the lead at the start with a solid first run. Then Emily Jackson threw an epic 2nd ride putting her clearly in the front with a massive 740 points. I chocked on my 2nd run scoring a new personal best low score of just 10! Before finally getting into my groove to nail a 780 point ride right at the last minute in my very last run. It was awesome to take the win but even cooler that me and Emily had been able to set down such big rides with all the big tricks. Ruth Gordan came in 3rd closely followed by Sage Donnelly and Jessica Yurtinis.

Claire O in action (photo by Scott Sady)

Claire throws a massive loop (photo by Stephen Wright)

Claire O celebrating after a good ride
On Sunday was all about the races with non stop action in the park as kayakers raced down through buoys first in Slalom, then in Boater X and finally in the inflatable tubeacross. There was carnage and swims. Great display of athleticism, tactics, speed and power. Slalom trained young Sage took the wins in the ladies and Colin Kemp got an awesome sneak round the bouy to cut in front of the lead two guys and power his way to the men's BX win. I had fun racing the slalom in C1 and taking out the JK Karma for the first time in the Boater X. I was stoked to make the finals in Boater X and even more happy to survive my 2 C1 runs hitting 4 rolls and over a dozen buoys whilst being heckled the whole time by Hoeve on the mike.

Claire O racing slalom  (photo by Jason Lighthall)

Claire and Amanda Race it out in the Boater X heats
(photo by Jason Lighthall)
Opps!!! (photo by Jason Lighthall)
Colin Kemp takes the inside line and the win in the Boater X
(photo by Scott Sady)

With the sun shinning and the music blaring the prizes were awarded in front of the main stage.

Mens medal winners (photo by Phillip Robert)

Jason and Claire O Reno Freestyle Champions 2014 

Thanks to the City of Reno for hosting a great event and great weekend, for the awesome Cowboy / girl style hat trophies and for the prizes and cash purses for the winners.

Thank You Reno

What a great weekend of competition fun.