Not all Red Bull events are uber-extreme. Case in point: Red Bull Rapids, which took place at at Riversport OKC in Oklahoma City on Aug 27, as part of the 2022 World Paddlesports Festival.
With the event drawing athletes from 20 countries for Super Cup and World Cup events relocated from Russia in the wake of Ukraine war—including the ICF 2022 Canoe Sprint Super Cup, Stand Up Paddling World Cup—it was the wacky Red Bull Rapids event that stole the show and spectators’ hearts.
In short, groups of up to five people were tasked with creating a theme for their raft, performing a short skit, and racing their manmade boat down the rapids.
The 38 teams were judged — by Mike Knopp (CEO of Riversport OKC), Dane Jackson (Red Bull Freestyle kayaker), Jayda Coleman (two-time NCAA Champion and OU Softball Player), Darci Lynne Farmer (America’s Got Talent singer), and Tre Mann (NBA Point Guard for Oklahoma City Thunder) — on their creativity, skit, and the distance they made it down the rapids. Which proved hard for some, with many teams’ boats sinking after the first rapid.
When the soggy debris was pulled from the water, three teams emerged on top:
In third place: Flambuoyancy, a team paddling a pink flamingo raft.
In second place: A craft drawing inspiration from real-life Red Bull Formula One race car driver Max Verstappen, with barrels on the base to resemble tires.
In first place: Rock ’em Sock ‘em Rafting Robots, giving a one-two punch to the rest of the paddling competitors.