Louis Geltman Takes First at North Fork Champs; Asheville Kayaker Eric Weigel Killed on Same Stretch Days Earlier

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High water, big cajones and top-notch skills were the name of the game at this year’s second annual raging Class V North Fork Championships on Idaho’s North Fork of the Payette, where Louis Geltman notched the fastest time down the hair-raising course to take home the $4,500 top prize…

In all, while the GoPro Games were holding court in Vail, Colo., nearly 30 racers showed up to compete in the extreme race, just a few days after Asheville, N.C., kayaker Eric Weigel was killed kayaking the same stretch in the area’s first kayaking fatality this year. For the race, the water level was flowing at 2,000 cfs, making the run as meaty as ever.

With thoughts on Weigel, as well as a moment of silence in his and other deceased kayakers’ honor, the racers zipped down a wooden ramp above Jacob’s ladder to enter the maw of the second annual event that has become on of the hardest events of its kind in the world. Racers had to make it through a series of slalom gates strewn about the course, with a 50-second penalty incurred for missing one — most of which occurred at Gate #2, the race’s crux move.

The best news for organizers? No accidents at all on the continuous Class V course.

In the sinus-douching end featuring the top 10 Elite finishers, Geltman earned the $4,500 purse, followed by Spain’s Gerd Serrasolses in second, Rush Sturges in third, Evan Garcia in fourth and Andrew Holcombe in fifth. Eric Deguil won the first two races, but failed to qualify for the Elite finals. Last year champion Ryan Casey from nearby Ketchum finished eighth overall.

“Everyone paddled spectacularly,” racer Chris Gragtmans told Canoe & Kayak magazine. “There were a few flips and surfs into the right wall at the first drop), but the field showed why they are the best in the world.”

Time Trial video Click here

More info: click here

place racer final time
1 louis geltman 01:57.20
2 gerd serrasolses 01:59.81
3 rush sturges 01:59.84
4 evan garcia 02:00.88
5 andrew holcombe 02:01.16
6 todd wells 02:02.78
7 ryan casey 02:10.28
8 james byrd 02:10.31
9 jules domine 02:13.38
10 kyle hull 02:14.36

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