With warm temps surging the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs to 14,200 cfs, a new grandstand area, and nearly five times as many spectators as last year, the national River SUP Championships brought the country’s best watermen to the Rockies to do single-bladed stand-up battle on Memorial Day. Who won? One guess…
At the inaugural National River SUP Championships last year, a judging mistake placed organizer Charlie MacArthur ahead of Dan Gavere at day’s end (Gavere ended up getting the title). Judging fixed this time around, Gavere made sure there was no such confusion this year, winning the whole enchilada.
As part of this year’s river championships, organizers introduced the first-ever SUP Cross event. Competitors ran down a ramp, did a Le Mans start, and then jumped on their boards and peeled out into the river. A last-minute course change had them making a turn through a gate down at the bottom.
“There was definitely a lot of carnage and lead changes,” says organizer and competitor Charlie MacArthur. “It had everything you’d expect in a cross event, with tempers flaring and people doing the whole interference thing and getting fired up.”
Matt Solomon unanimously received the throwing-elbows award, duking it out to bitter end with Ryan Guay. But in the end, Gavere reigned supreme taking first, followed by Ken “Hobie” Houeve.
For the downriver, the Forest Service put a moratorium on racing in the canyon, so organizers held it downstream.
As for the surfing event, it showed just how far river SUP has come. “People really stepped it up at this year’s national championships,” adds MacArthur, who finished second in the downriver and third in the cross event. “A couple of guys were pulling off 3’s on the wave.”
Keeping it all in the family, Charlie’s wife, Jenny, won the event for the women, becoming the new women’s national champion.
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