Paddling Life Pro Invitational 2008
May 26, 2008, Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Presented by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and Resort Ventures West
Brought to you by Kokatat, Yakima, NRS, New Belgium Brewing Co., Steamboat TV 18 and more!
While a dynasty is in the making for the women, this time it didn’t come down to one dominating performance for the men at the third annual Paddling Life Pro Invitational, held Memorial Day on Fish Creek and the Yampa River in downtown Steamboat Springs, Colo.
With a blistering, first-place downriver run on Class IV-V Fish Creek and a second-place showing in the freestyle event, Australia’s Tanya Faux won the event for the third year in a row with 55 cumulative points to 49 for second-place finisher Emily Jackson, who won the freestyle event and took fourth in the creek race.
It wasn’t as cut and dry for the men. After picking up 30 points by besting 2007 winner Stephen Wright in the freestyle event, Jackson Kayaks paddler Nick Troutman took sixth in the creek race, giving him 47 overall points. That’s where Andrew Holcombe shined, improving upon his sixth-place showing in freestyle to win the creek race by a whopping four seconds over former U.S. Team Slalom member Jason Beakes. The result: the first-ever tie, with Holcombe and Troutman splitting the $1,600 in cash and prizes for first and second places. When it came time to divie up the free airline ticket (courtesy of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.) and $250 gift certificate from NRS, the two settled it how anyone would: a Rock, Paper, Scissors showdown on the upturned beer-bathtub turned podium at the awards party. (Holcombe won with a final Paper to Troutman’s Rock).
Still, it was a winning effort by all as the event drew some of the best men and women kayakers in the world to Steamboat to compete in a unique, one-day, two-event competition for more than $3,600 in cash and prizes and year-long bragging rights.
On hand were such stalwarts as former world freestyle kayak champion Ruth Gordon, world kayak freestyle silver medalist Holcombe, 2007 Invitational winner Stephen Wright, Bryan Kirk, world freestyle kayak bronze medalist Nick Troutman, and more.
“It went off great,” says Andrew Holcombe, clearly pleased with his end-result tie with Troutman. “It’s great to have an event that tests and rewards both creek boating and freestyle.”
Adds second-place Creek finisher Jason Beakes, who will be returning to Steamboat in late June with Team River Runner: “I always have a blast whenever I come out here—it’s a great river community and great event.”
Coverage of the event will be seen on Resort Sports Network.
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Behind the Scenes
Of course, what would a PL Invitational be without a raging bash afterwards? Once again, competitors proved they can throw down off the water as well, with at least one arrested for public urination (note to self: don’t pee on a cop car while another cop is watching), and women’s winner Tanya Faux cutting so loose that she incurred a broken nose after an apperant fall.
And all that didn’t stop the big-water seekers from hitting Gore Canyon the next day at a whopping 6,000 cfs, where everyone from Holcombe to Bryan Kirk got maytagged at one point or another, with Geoff Calhoun, who finished third in the Creek race, getting the worst thrashing of all – enough to break his Dagger Green boat.
But all’s well that ends well, and that’s the case with this year’s PL Invitational as competitors quickly scattered for other events at the Lyons and Teva Games, followed by Fibark on the Arkansas. For the rest of us, it’s time to clean up the bar and return to the playhole to practice moves the pros made look easy…
1st Andrew Holcombe
2nd Jason Beakes
3rd Geoff Calhoun
1st Tanya Faux
2nd Ruth Gordon
3rd Eleanor Perry
1st Nick Troutman
2nd Stephen Wright
3rd Corey Volt
1st Emily Jackson
2nd Tanya Faux
3rd Sarah Hamilton
1st Andrew Holcombe/Nick Troutman (tie: 47 pts.)
2nd Stephen Wright (45 pts.)
1st Tanya Faux (55 pts.)
2nd Emily Jackson (49 pts.)
3rd Ruth Gordon (43 pts.)
Big Air Award ($250 Yakima Gift Certificate): Stephen Wright
Visit the links below for video action of last year’s event!