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Reno River Fest

By Elaine Campbell

We left Lyons, CO a little disappointed with my second place finish in freestyle, but I did have a first place finish in the womens wildwater race.  Luckily, the drive to Reno was pretty easy with no wind and blue skies. 

The Reno Fest has usually been on Mothers Day weekend but the event organizers wanted to have it later in the summer for warmer weather, so it was held on Father’s Day weekend instead.  The Reno Fest was held on the same weekend as FiBark in CO so most of the competitors stayed in CO and a few of us made the trip to Reno.  Nick Troutman, Matthieu Dumoulin, Adam Chapple, Jeff and I were the few who left CO to go to Reno and what a great choice we all made!

The water level came up to about 650cfs and hole number 5 was pretty sweet.  It was still a little bit shallow so you had to be careful where to plug and how far upstream your tricks were thrown.  It gave up some pretty big air and tricks could be thrown both ways pretty easily once you figured it out.  

Friday arrived and the festivities began. Jeff and Hobie were the announcers for the weekend and killed it with their jackassery!  Hobie started the weekend off by missing his flight on Thursday night due to a hazardous waste spill in Denver.  He slept in his car with a bottle of vodka to keep warm.  He did get on a flight Friday morning and made it to the event on time.  Prelims for freestyle was the first event for the whitewater disciplines.  There were only five men and five women so we all decided that everyone would make it to finals. Prelims would determine the heat list for finals on Sunday.  Reno locals Mary Elliot, Jessica Yurtinis, Ruth Gordon Ebens, Scott Sady and Jason Craig all competed in the pro class. Then there was Devon Barker from ID, myself(from VT), Adam Chapple and Nick Troutman from Ontario, and Matthieu Dumoulin from France.  In prelims for women Mary came in 5th, me 4th, Devon 3rd, Jessica 2nd, and Ruth 1st.  In the mens class Scott was 5th, followed by Adam, Jason, Matthew, and Nick.  Prelims is always fun when no one gets cut!

The party pretty much started right after prelims and continued until Monday morning for some people.  We went to the trampoline gym called EZ Air after prelims and the boys were out of control (thanks to Hobie getting them “housed” at the Eldorado Pool bar).  It was pretty entertaining watching drunk people trampoline!  We had a pretty fun night trampling, eating dinner and having some drinks.   

The open class was on Saturday morning and Jeff competed. He paddled well for someone who was sick that morning from the shenanigans from the night before. He did a sick air loop linked to a sweet 20 second stern stall and actually came in 3rd place but declined his spot in finals to go announce for the slalom event.  The slalom race was held upstream of hole number 5 on the north channel.  The river came up last minute so there was not enough time to put gates up in the south channel so Charlie Allbright attached to cinder blocks to buoys and dropped them in the north channel as gates.  It was a really fun course! Lot’s of moves had to be made which is what made it really fun and tiring.  I borrowed slalom boats for the race and had 2 pretty good runs which landed me a first place finish. Amanda Burnham came in second and Jessica Yurtinas in 3rd. In the mens class Nick Troutman took first followed by Matthew Dumoulin and Jason Craig. I missed the big trick contest which was happening while I was helping Charlie take the buoys out of the river.  Jason Craig won the big trick contest!  It’s so great to see him killing it again in a  boat and having so much fun while he is doing it!

Sunday arrived and it was the start of freestyle finals.  I had some really good practice rides but in competition just couldn’t pull anything off so I had a 4th place finish.  I hit one McNasty but on all my air loops and Godzillas I’d crush the rock with my stern on the landing, which would flush me or shank the trick.  Ruth killed it with McNasty’s both ways, Phonix Monkey’s, loops, Godzillas, and cartwheels. Her winning ride was over 750 points!  Jessica came in second with huge loops, Godzillas, and a felix and Devon came in third with about the same ride as Jessica sans the huge bonus. Mary Elliot came in fifth and had an awesome ride! In the mens class Matthieu took first place with lot’s of sweet combo moves, Adam came in a surprising second place getting huge air on McNastys and Phonix Monkeys, and in third place Nick just beat Jason out with one trick, moving Jason into 4th place and Scott finishing in 5th place with an amazing ride. 

When finals finished I entered my first SUP race, which was a slalom course.  Todd caranto of Pau Hana (a surf supply company out of Los Angelas) let me use one of his boards and paddles.  I could stand up on the board and maneuver it around a gate but struggled going through a rapid. Trying to ferry I would just fall off.  I was interfered with by a raft in the course so my timed run was stopped.  I’m glad that happened I was so tired and was probably just going to swim the rest of the course anyway!  I had a fun time doing it and can’t believe how hard it was.  A big thanks to Todd from Pau Hana for trusting me with his equipment!  I’m looking forward to next year’s race and plan on crushing it!  

The final event of the Reno River Fest was Boater Cross with 8 Ballers! Always my favorite event, since you never know what’s going to happen! There were 7 women and over 25 men who entered the event.  Toby Ebens and Hobie were the 8 Balls.  This was the best boater cross that I’ve competed in and watched.  The course was about 100 yards long and you had to make three moves.  The first move was a huge rock that you had to go around, the next was an upstream gate that was pretty tight on the shore, and the final move was a downstream gate.  The two gates is where the 8 ballers hung out to take you out.  When you made it past the two gates and the 8 ballers it was a mad dash to the finish line under the bridge.  There were 7 women and we all went at once. I made sure to get the farthest line on river left.  We all started facing up stream and once we were in a straight line Macy hit the fog horn and it was go time.  I made it to the rock first went around it with no issues and paddled hard down stream.  Toby and Hobie waited for us while they both side surfed in the hole. I crashed through them and the chaos began.  I made it into finals as well as Amanda Burnham, Tony and Louis from New Zealand.  The four of us lined up for finals and I took my spot on the far river left side.  Macy hit the fog horn and I was in first right up to the rock and Tony nailed me from behind and pushed me out of the way.  The three of them are ahead me around the rock.  I went around the rock and started to paddle hard and then slowed down to wait for the perfect opportunity to go around the downstream gate.  They were all beating up each other and the 8 ballers were fully in the mix.  I made it through the up stream gate with no issues and squeezed by the mess on the downstream gate.  As I was heading down stream Toby tried to knock me out but I was in the fastest current so I had a better advantage of getting away from him, which I did. It was a mad dash to the finish line, Tony broke free of the mess up stream and we finished close to each other but I was able to get ahead and take the win.  That event was so much fun!  I came in first in my Wave Sport Diesel 70, Tony was second, and Amanda was third.  In the mens class Colin Kemp put a hurting on everyone!  He’s such a big guy and just rolled over people.  He took the win, Rusty Sage came in second, and Jason Craig third.  

We left Reno and hit up Lunch Counter wave in Jackson, WY and then the white water park in Cascade, WY.  Cascade was having their rodeo that weekend so we hung out most of the day during the event.  I’ll have a write up done about the Cascade event soon, plus a video from Lunch Counter.  We finally made it home! Next up is the Deerfield River Fest and a  trip to Sweden for my brother’s wedding.

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Photo by: Scott Sady

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Photo by: Scott Sady

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Hobie with some of the boatercross chicks!

Till next time,

Elaine Campbell      


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