The year’s extreme kayak race season kicked off with a bang on Washington’s Little White Salmon River on March 26, with boaters crawling out of the woodwork to test their whitewater chops on one of the Northwest’s best Class V runs.
This year over 70 racers gathered on the Little White Salmon to compete in the annual race. The race has traditionally been held in May, but due to five consecutive years of low water in the spring, organizers moved the event to March 26.
The switch paid off this year, with the levels at optimal medium flows for the first time since 2017.
“The race went well, it was a beautiful weekend weather-wise, with lots of people out on the water and spectating,” says WCA’s Anna Bruno.
The new levels also encouraged a bit of carnage, especially in the tightly contested Men’s division. Todd Wells took home the gold in the Men’s at 14: 15, after the course favorite Dane Jackson lost his paddle in Boulder Sluice (but still somehow managed to come in 7th at 14:28). Alec Voorhees was hot on his heels just 5 seconds back to finish second at 14:20, followed by Owen Doylein 3rd at 14:22.
The women’s category was fierce, also, with Darby McAdams giving Nouria Newman a run for her money, losing to Newman by just 6 seconds at the finish. Anna Wagner came in third for the gals.
Sponsors: The event was organized by Rush Sturges and Evan Smith and sponsored by World Class Academy, Dagger, NRS, Everybody’s Brewing, Immersion Research, Pfreim Brewing, and River Roots. (Says Paddling Life: “Buy stuff from them!”)