Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My Kayak Session Report on the Payette River Games - Day 2

Brandon Hepburn (UK) collides with Barney (NZ) during the Boater X heats

How fast would you race for $10,000? How many tricks could you throw for $3,000. by Claire O’Hara (World Champion Freestyle Kayaking)

…That’s the size of purses these guys are racing for this weekend.
Today was the second day and the second round for the races who had made it through the massive first days cuts.
There was athletes and spectators everywhere. Thousands of people came to the park to watch and cheer them on as they battled for their place in the finals. Thousands more watched the action live online.
The event kicked of early as with so many athletes the organizers had to fit in over 13 hours of competition into the semi finals day.
There was disc golf, volleyball, lumberjack, freestyle, SUP, river surf, fishing, yoga, rafting and even dog jumping events. Everywhere you looked athletes were showcasing exceptional skill and talent as they battled it out to win there specific event.
Here’s a quick summary of the action on the water throughout the day.
Juniors – Its was an early yet awesome start to the day as the junior freestylers kicked things off. Throwing everything from Mc’Nastys, Pan am’s, loops, space Godzilla in the main hole they would have been strong contentious in the senior men’s. Brody Kellogg took the win in a close fought competition in the boys and Cady Kellogg got some sweet blunts to take the crown in the junior women’s.
Cadets – next up it was the crowd favourites. The peewee’s, little nippers, the cadets.  The kids, all 13 years and under, showcased how healthy the sport of freestyle is. There rides we’re unbelievable. There was loops, Mc’Nastys, space Godzilla, split wheels, cartwheels, tricky wu’s. The list of moves thrown and scored just went on and on. In their tiny little specially designed kids kayaks they we’re able to perform many of the advanced tricks thrown by pros 2 or 3 times their age. The event took place on the mini cadets wave just down stream of the main feature, The cadets drew a huge crowd to the island to watch and did not fail to impress. Everyone of these paddlers showed that they we’re a little superstar in the making. It was a very proud moment for all the mums and dads. Even the professional judging team we’re stunned saying how it was one of the best events they had had the pleasure to judge so far during the event and how excited they we’re for the future of the kids and the sport.
Boater x – there’s was so much action it’s hard to know where to begin. Heres one of the many massive races that took place during this event. Joe Morley vs EJ. Olympian vs Sickline champion. Joe got a great start. EJ rode Joes stern from the start and they just battled and battled until the end of the course where Joe sprinted ahead to take the lead. Securing his place in tomorrow’s finals. During both the men’s and women’s the hole took it’s toll on a lot of athletes including a number of the top names. Claire O’hara (UK) Heather Herbeck getting some epic surfs mid way through the race.  Adrienne Levkenecht was on form making her way easily into the boater x finals day. she was quoted as saying she was going to boof of the ramp and not stop till she passed under the bridge and she did just that landing straight on top of Marlene before sprinting effortlessly through the course and under the finish line bridge.
River surf - enjoying the spiritual moment of the day an expression session took place at lunchtime on the main wave for up and coming surfers. Surrounded by a great atmosphere and great friends there was no time limit on rides. Giving each surfer the chance to just go out and enjoy this awesome wave. Points were awarded for best move, air, cutback, carve. Derek rebelle was a clear crowd favourite.
Sup – Candice Appleby is a dominate force in every event she has entered at this years event. Sitting well in the lead so far she has shown an combination of great speed and balance as she has completed the white water stage of each race as if it didn’t even exist. In the men’s it’s anyone’s game. Everyone of the athletes in the top 20 has the skills and power to be able to take the win. The design of the course means that athletes are choosing a wide range of different boards to try gain the crucial few seconds advantage in the areas of their strengths. We’re seeing super narrow composite race sups being races against thick wide plastic whitewater boards and everything in between. It interesting as all boards seem to have an advantage at different stages meaning it’s a race to the very end in each and every heat. Kai Lenny again looked impressive powering his way down the course as did Super experienced racers Dan Gevere and Mike Tavares.
8 ball – bones we’re crunching and lungs we’re hurting as athlete after athletes launched themselves down the 8 ball gauntlet. A combination of Chilliens, American and the mighty unicornasuraus sat ready and waiting to block them and prevent them making the finish line. It’s was epic, the hits we’re huge. Everyone got blocked but some made it through, not all in one piece, but 14 men and 10 ladies made it and will race again tomorrow.
Freestyle – the day finished with an unbelievable display of freestyle kayaking. In the women’s 3 world champions (Claire O’hara, Emily Jackson and Rowan Stuart) will be joined by a green race champion (Adreiene Levkencht) and a kid yes cadet, 13 year old, Sage Donnelly is into the finals and currently sitting in 3rd place. Then in the men’s Dane Jackson and Mathieu continued their battle to stay at the top. However they weren’t along everyone of the semi finals athletes wanted that top spot. They will be joined by Jason Craig, Nick Troutman and local super star 16 year old Alec Voheers from Boise Idaho. That right we have our top 5 ready to battle tomorrow and the current ride score to beat stands at 1,800 points (Dane) right now!!! But this is a 2,000 point plus venue. Tomorrow’s final will be epic.
Who will win tomorrow who will take home the biggest purse in white water history? Tune in and watch it all live. This is the 2014 PRG’s
Other Highlights from the day 
Dane Jackson – Dane Jackson well clear in the lead on his heat in the SUP cross turned to celebrate to the crowd as he approached the finish line. Only to fall of his board just before he went over the line. Swimming alongside his board he got an instant DQ from that heat in the event. Luckily there was a consolation bracket so his event wasn’t completely over and he quickly got straight back into the lead again well clear if the pack this time concentrating hard as he crossed the line before celebrating on the far side of the bridge. Classic!
Maddy Kellogg (age 7) after capsizing and swimming twice hitting her roll during her third ride in the competion and coming up with the biggest smile you have ever seen to a massive cheer from all the spectators and all the her competitors and friends.

watch Day 2 video