Potomac, Deerfield Fests Go Off Largetime

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Two East Coast Events Surf Up Fun

Two mainstay paddling events in the East went off without a hitch recently, proving that all things whitewater are still moving and shaking huge east of the Mississippi.

First up was the 17th Annual Potomac Whitewater Festival July 13-15 in Great Falls, Va., celebrating the D.C.-area’s Potomac and its massive paddling options. Known for big comps, the fest has become a bit friendlier for beginners with clinics on Friday for both novices and touring kayakers taught by world-renowned experts. “We really just want to try and get people into the sport as best we can,” says the Festival’s Risa Shimoda. “Who is better to teach beginners than champions themselves? “We put on a great show, raised some money for American Whitewater, and did it all safely and efficiently. It was a great success.”

The clinics were followed by a kickoff party at Carderock on the Maryland side of the Potomac in C&O Canal National Park, and then it was on to the marquee events for more experienced paddlers, including the popular freeriding and squirt boating comps, kayak polo, freestyle and boatercross races, as well as the epic spectator-favorite, Great Falls Race Saturday morning. “With so many events going on it is hard to plan your day without either skipping events or spending 12 hours in your boat,” says Eric Jackson, who did his best to compete in as many as possible.

Perhaps the most favorite event was the Old School Wave Surfing contest organized by old-schooler Bill Kirby. As expected, it was packed with air guitars, paddle twirls, shudder rudders, and old school endos. One guess who won…Mr. Old School and New School, EJ. “I did a flurry of classics, plus my own tweak on the air guitar,” he says. “I started with a double paddle twirl and went straight into an air guitar, where I tuned my guitar before playing a rocking tune.” He followed that with a shudder rudder, ender and paddle toss. Son Dane took second with a similar ride, while Jay Kincaid did the air violin to take third.

In the Great Falls race’s short boat class, which took racers down the Maryland side of the falls from just above “Pummel” to just below Horseshoe, it was Geoff Calhoun eclipsing EJ in second by just twelve-tenths of a second, with Jason Beakes following in third.

The Freestyle was held in the “Bloody Goode” hole and Horseshoe Wave just below. Jay Kincaid looped to top honors in the men’s pro division, besting EJ by just five points, with Bryan Kirk in third. In the junior class Dane Jackson claimed first, and for the women Tanya Shuman came out of “retirement” to place first ahead of Monique Hushman.

Finally came the Boatercross, with six kayakers making the finals. In the end, Calhoun bested the lot, inching out Kincaid and Adam Johnson.

Info: www.potomacfest.com
You Tube Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM-IpAB5qFg

Deerfield River Festival

A week later it was the Deerfield River Festival’s time to shine in an event hosted by the Zoar Outdoor Center. It offered up every thing it usualy does, including freestyle events, slalom races, parties and more, and this year even featured a wacky mass-start event organized by Zoar’s Fergus Coffey.

The Le Mans-style competition combined a mass start down the Deerfield River, a run up the steep take-out hill, and a 8-mile bike ride. “I figured it would take me a little under an hour to do the whole thing, and I knew it was going to hurt,” says Pyranha’s Matt Young. “I passed a few people right the start and then made my way down the river as fast as I could go. Fergus was on my tail the entire time. When I reached the take-out I threw my boat down, took my gear off, and started running. As I got to my bike and started riding away I looked behind me to see some people finishing up the hill by walking, and I knew the race was mine.”

Staff Post
Staff Posthttps://paddlinglife.com
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.

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