Sunday, June 22, 2014

My Kayak Session Report on the Payette River Games - Day 1

Claire O battling hard in the Boater X (photo by Phillip Robert)
Huge rides, names and prizes at the 2014 Payette River games. by Claire O’Hara (World Champion Freestyle Kayaking)
Set in the beautiful Payette valley competitors from around the world have just come together to battle for their place on the podium and their share of the massive $105,000 prize purse at the Kelly’s white water park. Idaho USA
Split between three river sports (whitewater kayaking, sup and river surf) the athletes will have to battle hard in gruelling races and competitions for 3 days if they want to take home a part of the purse.
Add to that the extra incentives of free food for the duration of time you stay in the event, access to a hot tub overlooking the wave and numerous freebies, deals and swag and this really has become the event to be at. It is Cascades own real life river version of the ‘hunger games’.
Over 600 Competitors from 16 Countries took part in the first days preliminary rounds.
Throughout the day the action barely stopped as the event switched from sup to kayak to surf to sup to kayak to surf all day.
The action kicked off early with a stand up sprint race. This predominately flat water race saw the top stand up ocean, flat water and white water paddlers come together and battle hard. There was crashes, clashes and some pure moments of brilliance as the athletes made their way down the course.
Then In the scorching sun the kayakers took to the water. First in creek boats in a time trial sprint race down the boater x course (The fastest racers winning the vital placements in the boater x) Then in the freestyle preliminary round.
Before the action moved back to the SUPpers for the boarder cross which soon became known as fall down paddle boarding race due to the exceptionally challenging style of the course.
There was world class paddling, epic rides and runs, carnage, laughter and plenty of swims Both in Sup and kayak. With Everything from Olympians and world champions, to novices and new comers to the sport it was a great demonstration of all the ways to enjoy the river.
The commenters brought life to the event helping broadcast and explain all the action as it unfolded as the red bull truck DJ Pumped out an epic collection of tunes to the crowd.
Standout moments from the day included.
Kai Lenny (Hawaii) Dominating the sup events showing some true skill and style. Dane Jackson (USA) and  Mathieu Dumoulin (France) destroying the freestyle as they battled hard  throwing epic rides to qualify in first place in the freestyle with some huge moves and a massive 3,300+ score closely followed by mathieu from France.
Adrienne Levkenecht launching into her personal best.
But the highlight of the day had to be watching Blind surfer Derek Rabelo (Brazil) standing up and ride the main wave, his first ever river wave. As athletes and the crowd watched and went wild. His documentary film will be premiered tonight at the fantastic  Roxy cinema in cascade.
The event concluded with all the athletes receiving an awesome meal of  local organic  food and chilling at the new arena listening to live music and watching the sunset over the park.
This is only day 1. We have 2 more days to go. This event is wild.
Follow all the water action live online tomorrow and Sunday.
This is the best of the best, battling it out in an amazing wave and park for the biggest purse in kayak history.
Did I mention There’s over $105,000 on the line.

Check out the full report and photos online here
Jez announces the event from the Hot Tub!!!