Sunday, June 22, 2014

Payette River Games Live Streaming Now

Check out all the action as it happens online here on the Payette River Games website.

I'm into the finals in Boater X but in a crazy stacked heat with Adriene Levkencht, Sage Donnelly and Courntey Kerin at 2pm (US Idaho time)

Then my freestyle finals kick off at 5.45pm. I am currently in first place but Emily Jackson is close on my heels.

Loving the Payette River Games life.

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!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Go Pro Games

Thumbs up for the 2014 Go Pro Games

Just chilling in a hot tub, listening to the sound of the river flowing by, surrounded by mountains, enjoying the last few hours of Colorado sunshine and reflecting on the last few days of non stop action at the 2014 Go Pro Games.
Clay chilling in the Hot Tub before a crazy
busy day down at the river

The Go Pro Games kicked off on Thursday with the Steep Creek Homestake race and finished yesterday with a smashing round of Kayak 8 Ball. Over the weekend 75,000+ people visited Vail and took part in or watched a massive variety of extreme adventure sports.

Jason Searle flys stateside to join us from NZ

This year I opted to take part in two events. The Kayak Freestyle and the 8 Ball. After a week of training and acclimatising. My competitions kicked off on Friday. I was a little nervous leading into the heats, as due to the snow melt the hole had been changing continuously and differently each and every day so it was difficult to know what level or shape of hole it would be for the event, Luckily though, throughout the competition, we got sweet levels and I managed to get some good rides. In the heats, I had two solid runs with Mc'Nastys, spaces and massive loops. In the finals, I got simaler moves but not quite as solid runs. I tried to go a little too big flushing several times during each run but still managed to sneak the win ahead of European Champion Marlene Devillez and 2013 Go Pro Games Champion Sage Donnelly.

Claire O flying high during the Heats
(photo by Go Pro Games)

Prelim results

Claire O massive loop in finals
(photo by Stephen Wright)

Ladies Freestyle Podium Marlene, Claire and Sage
(photo by Steff Donnelly)

Having fun with the Golden Axe

Getting some great press coverage from the event

Then on Sunday I joined in the 8 ball, a chaotic full contact head to head race. I was stoked to make the finals and race in a heat stacked with some of the best female extreme races from around the world. In then end I finished 4th or maybe it was 5th after a sweet run ended with me being completey closed in 2m from the finish line. I was in 2nd up until then despite taking a massive hit from Kalob Grady half way down the course.

I'm in the red helmet and green boat being totally closed out
only metres from the bridge finish line
(photo by Courtney Kerin)
8 Baller Jason Searle destroys another competitor
(photo by Go Pro games)

Joe Morley takes a massive face hit from Hunt but goes on to win
(photo by Stephen Wright)

Over the weekend I also judged the men's Freestyle, watched the Slope Style finals and Slack Line World Championships and filmed a commercial with Sasquatch for Jack Links.

Epic view from the Judges stand

Fun on the judging stand

VIP media entry into the Slopestyle finals

Insane skills at the slack line World Champs

This kids just 17 and seriously talented

Thank you Go Pro Games and the Vail Valley Foundation for another fantastic weekend of fun filled action and events. I can't wait for next years event.

Thank you Go Pro Games

Signing out from the Hot Tub in Vail.

Colorado Life

Next stop Kelly's White Water Park, Idaho and the Payette River Games.
Al packed to fly out with my awesome new Alpkit Boat Bag

Thursday, June 05, 2014

BBC Filming on the Tees

Hucking of Low Force

Next year is the 50th Anniversary of the Pennie Way and as part of the celebration the BBC a filming a 3 part documentary and have asked me to take the shows presenter, Polar Expedition and Diving Guru National Geographic's Paul Rose on a paddling journey down part of the route. The Pennie way follows a good chunk of the River Tees, one of the places I paddled a lot growing up, so as soon as I got the official invite it I knew instantly where to go to get some classic northern paddling and gem Yorkshire dales.
The mighty River Tees

Filming time

On a beautiful British summers day, with rain pouring heavily and not a blue sky in sight, I set off up north to paddle the River Tees with the Beeb. With the help of Desperate Measures, Peak UK, Carnegie Great Outdoors, Go Canoeing, Sweetwater Coaching and Mitchell Blades I had enough kit and a strong team to ready tackle the mighty Tees. We set of in the rain with cameraman Phil, producer Paul, presenter Paul and my safety and logistics crew Phil and Den. Paul (my co pilot) when asked previously about his boating experience, several times expressed his love for open boats. We didn't have any open boats to hand so on arriving at the river we broke to him gentle that it would be kayaks instead. Paul's prior kayaking experience was minimal so he was about to be immersed into a fast track course on whitewater and drops. Luckily Paul and everyone else was up for the challenge. So together we missioned all the gear into the main section of the High Force - Low Force run and set about getting some good shots. 

Phil sets up an epic Go Pro Filming rig

Thumbs up and action

As the weather cleared and the river levels came up we hit the river doing multiple runs down the S Bends / Dog Leg rapid, Low Force and the Bottom Drop. The Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo was our boat of choice and worked legendary.  It successfully helped us glide, bounce, drop, sink and fly of each of the drops.  It was the perfect craft for this type of job. In no time at all Paul had kayaking mastered, helping expertly steer the boat around the S bends, before we progressed onto the 7ft high low force drop! Miraculously with no swims and without dropping any of the camera kit into the drink we made it down to the final drop and out under the bridge. The photos looked great and show us styling everything. We will have to wait until next year for the show to be aired to find out if the video tells the same tales. In true northern style, we finished the day, as every boating trip should, with a pie and a pint down at t' local pub.

Blasting down the S bends

Lineing up for the drop

A massive mystery move in the Dynamic Duo

Resurfacing ready for move

The show will be aired across the UK on BBC 2 and regionally on BBC1 in 2015. Thank you to Dennis Newton and Phil Scowcroft for the photos and all their help and handwork on the day. 

Thanks guys

Mystery World Championships

28 seconds, my new longest ever squirt boating mystery move ride. 

Claire O Mystery Move (epic photo by Scott Sady)
I just smashed my old squirt boating record at the 2014 Mystery World Championships. Last year I got one 24 second ride whilst training for the 2013 Mystery World Championships at the Leslie with the rest of my rides and all my competition rides around the 16 - 18 second mark. This year during the competition I broke my record with 3 rides over 24 seconds and a 5 ride total of 103.32 seconds.

Claire O prepares for her run (photo by Sara James)

It was an awesome event held on the Swallow Cliffs Squirt Boating seam on the Truckee River in California. At 5,500ft it was  high altitude event. Fed by snowmelt the water was crisp cold but clear. 25 people came to compete and the standard of paddling was insane.

The mystery crew (photo by Emilie)

In the week before the event everyone was battling to try and figure out the spot but by the weekend they had it dialled in. Organisers Colin and Noah kicked off the event with the first rides. Noah laying down a massive 42 second ride to smash the old 39 second mystery ride record previously set by Taft. Then in the 3 heat the competition went off. Stephen, Jeremy and Taft battled ride after ride smashing record after record with numbers 40 second plus runs. Huge, huge, huge times under water.

Steve O drops in for his first ride (photo by Monique Sady)

Preparing to hit the water (photo by Sara James)

Claire O watches as Jeremy gets some epic rides
(photo by Sara James)
In the end Stephen Wright set the new record high score with a massive 49 second ride!!! But it was Jemery Pugh who took the Mystery World Championship title with over 3 minutes (185.76) seconds underwater during his 5 rides. 1.24 seconds ahead of Stephen it was a super close and insane event and a massive day for the sport.

Steve O, Jeremy and Taft

Check out this awesome video Emile made from the event.

Worlds from Difficult E on Vimeo.

The night before the event we had the chance to do a glow stick photo shoot with professional photographer and local kayakers Scott and Monique Sady. They got some epic shots of us doing mystery moves. Check out the patterns we make as we move our way around underwater taping into the rivers flow.

Claire O Mystery Move (photo by Scott Sady)

Claire O Cartwheel (photo by Scott Sady)