National Championships at Kelly’s Whitewater Park and NF of the Payette

The final competition for this years tour was at one of my favorite play parks. Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade, Idaho, and for a second year in a row, it was the National Championships. The town of Cascade used to have a lumber mill which shut down several years ago, devastating the towns economy, so they built a whitewater park hoping people would come and come they do! It was funded by the awesome family of Kelly Brennan who passed away in a car accident when she was 23. Even though she had never been a boater, her family wanted to honor her by donating and building the park and funding kid’s kayaking camps to share her enthusiasm of the outdoors. There is also a memorial to a local hero who was killed in the Iraqi war, beautifully done and worth seeing.

Kelly Brennan Memorial

If you have never been there, it is worth the drive. There are 3 features from beginner to advanced and they are all fun. The parking lot and visitors center have wi-fi and the bathrooms and visitor center are gorgeous! My favorite feature is the huge top wave and hole, depending on which side your on, so you can actually do all the moves you have. Check it out at http://www.kellyswhitewaterpark.com/styled-4/index.html

Top wave, Kelly's Whitewater Park

The weather was perfect and I was finally able to try out my Kokatat Trinity Shortie Drytop and I love it! It kept me dry inside, but cool enough in the warm water where I didn’t overheat in the 90 degree temperature. I was competing against my favorite people, Anna Schehrer, Lauren Burress and Brooke Terkovich. I managed to come out of the prelims in 1st, but didn’t get my ride for finals and placed second behind Lauren. Anna and Brooke also did a great job in the challenging feature and we all had a lot of fun. I also competed in the Junior SUP competition, having never been on an SUP before, and managed to come in first! Thanks Mike Tavares and Haley Mills for the SUP board and competition, and Devon Barker and Mike Hicks for putting on such an awesome competition at Kelly’s. I look forward to coming back to Cascade and competing for years to come.

Kokatat Trinity Shortie Tops-Kokatat Embroiders!

After Nationals, I stayed a few extra days at Kelly’s Whitewater Park and assisted
Devon Barker with her beginning and advanced kid’s kayaking camps. I taught my first kid to roll, and helped teach kids how to get on the middle wave and surf. It was a lot of fun and really cool to see all of the kids out on the water and I think they progressed nicely.

Kelly's Whitewater School!

After leaving Cascade, and doing a quick Carbarton run on the NF of the Payette with Philip Robert who paddled with us for the rest of the week, my family tied in with the Voorhees family to run the Lower 5 on the North Fork of the Payette, a challenging constant class 5 run, and the Main on the Payette, a class 3 section with both entire families kayaking.

Hounds Tooth Boof, North Fork of the Payette, Lower 5

For the NF, it was my dad and I, following Mike Voorhees and Hayden Voorhees (12 y/0) with Alec Voorhees (15 y/o) running sweep. Our first few runs, we took out at the end of the warm up section, above Otter Slide, but soon we were running Otter Slide and most of the Lower 5, choosing to walk around Juicer. I was very happy to be wearing my Keen Gore Booties when we portaged Juicer, because it was a very steep, rocky railroad grade that dropped straight into the class 5 meat! That only lasted a few days and soon we were even running Juicer. I was also happy to have a few packets of my favorite energy food Pocket Fuel Naturals. It is almond butter mixed with different things (my favorite is Chunky Coconut Cherry!) and is in a conveniently re-sealable pouch that slips right into my life vest for a quick, energizing snack. http://pocketfuelnaturals.com/

Dads and kids

When we put on for the first time, I was super excited about the run, but also because I was trying out my new Zen 55. It was a super fast boat which made it very easy to avoid the frequent large holes and also made it easy to boof. I am only 4’11 and 92 lbs but this is now my “go to” boat! I never even had to brace and sliced through the bigger waves like a knife, did I mention I love this boat! I also tried the WRSI Moment full face helmet for the first time and couldn’t believe how comfortable it was and how well it fit me. It gave me some more confidence to do this run because if I flipped, my face would have been protected. Hayden Voorhees also had one and had the same feelings about it that I had, so if your looking for the best protection for your head and face, check out WRSI!
When we finished the NF section, Jody Voorhees, Conner Voorhees, (8 y/o) and my mom met us to run the Main. I let Hayden try out my Zen, since he was in his Sidekick for the NF, and Conner was in a Shooting Star, and I hopped into the Funrunner 60. The Funrunner was fast and easy to maneuver, but a little big for me right now-but still stable and fun. Hayden really liked the Zen and the rest of the group consisted of Alec in a Rock Star L, Mike in a Zen 75 which he claims is now his new North Fork boat, Jody in a Rock Star s, my mom in her Fun and my dad in his Villian s. It was a lot of fun hitting all the boofs, surf and squirt spots on the Main.

Zen 55 on the Staircase Section, NF Payette

Hayden Voorhees ended up staying with us for about 4 days while we camped the van at my moms awesome aunt and uncles house in Garden Valley, right on a bluff overlooking the river, and we paddled the South Fork Staircase and Canyon section and continued to do laps on the Lower 5. Once again, I was in the Zen 55 or my Shooting Star, my dad in his Villain s, my mom in her Hero and Hayden in his Sidekick or Shooting Star. We did laps on Staircase or the Lower 5 everyday, but took our time on the Canyon run where Hayden led us on all the rapids-it was awesome fun!

Put in ramp, Staircase Section, SF Payette

Sadly, after 2 months on the road, paddling in WY, CO, MT, and ID, it was time to go home so my parents could go back to work and we could reacquaint ourselves with my cats and snakes. The good news, there is always water in California! Hope to paddle with you soon!

Sage

2 Comments »

  • Marge says:

    Thankyou Sage. You write beautifully . We did enjoy you at KWP. You were awesome ! Your adventures since then were so engaging ! You have a beautiful family and fellow kayakers! The competition was AWESOME!! Thank;you.

  • Kim says:

    Hey Sage – great write-up! I wanted to mention how much fun I had paddling staircase with you, Hayden and your Dad. I hope to do it again when you come back to Idaho. Also I have a “Girls Kick Ass” sticker for you – you certainly deserve it!
    Cheers and happy paddlin’
    Kim

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