Team Kootenay attended Western Canada’s biggest whitewater festival this year to slay some play spots, do a little celebrating, and meet other kayak addicted crazies. Well, mission accomplished! Laurance Bachand, Sam Butler, and Chris Ryman packed the Subaru full of kayaks, seven to be exact, and headed east to Alberta near Canmore. There we met with about seven other koot paddlers and about 300 other participants and spectators, the fest received a record 200 competitors over the two day event.
Paddlers competed in the Down River race, Ball race, multi-location rodeo, surf off, boater cross and the famous survivor event. Meals were catered from Saturday morning to Sunday morning with a delicious salmon and chicken dinner on the Saturday night. Free beer was provided by Grizzly Paw Brewing for Saturday nights festivities including a live and silent auction where Endless Adventure International donated a High Roller all-inclusive Ecuador Trip. Free massages by Cascadia were also available all weekend long by donation to recover from the weekends party/paddle format. Shane Phillip set the vide with his rhythmic sounds and stomping beats into the cover of night.
Our team took home gold in the mens boatercross, silver in women’s surf off and boater cross, and silver in juniors rodeo and boatercross, not to mention a first in the throwbag competition, safety first! Team Kootenay did experience some complications with Chris Ryman bailing during the over 100 competitor Down River Race off his Shubu SUP (stand up paddleboard) landing jaw first on an upside-down kayak. Ryman rescued the swimmer and continued for a last place/first place SUP finish. Thanks to all the organizers, volunteers, and spectators. The event fast became a kootenay favourite and a definite must visit on the festival tour for next year!