Check out WK front and center on the Ninkasi website. Thanks to the great folks at Ninkasi for partnering up with us this year!
For the first few years I lived here, I marvelled at how non-plussed the local community seemed about having a Wild and Scenic River flow through town. So when a group of young Salmon-ites re-kindled the town’s Riverfest tradition in 2011, I took notice.
Breann Westfall, a board member of the Salmon Whitewater Park Association and an organizer of the event for the past 3 years, said Riverfest is intended to kickstart Salmon’s river season.
After an evening of homegrown and professional action films in the upstairs of the historic and funky Oddfellows Hall, much of the audience mosied across Main Street to the Owl Club. Still known as “Salmon’s Fun Spot,” the Owl Club had a several year runner where things weren’t that fun, and the iconic bar even closed its door for a brief stint. But Friday night resembled old times with river guides young and old crowding shoulder-to-shoulder, sharing drinks and stories of early season, high water antics.
By noon on Saturday, a mass of people thronged at the BLM launch site at Shoup Bridge, 5 miles south of Salmon. Father Chase, the young Catholic priest of St. Charles Parish, offered the Blessing of the Boats for about 40 rafts, drift boats, kayaks, pontoons, and stand-up paddle boards. We prayed for a safe season and floated down the gentle section to town’s Island Park.
I spotted Breann and her 2-year-old son Zane, and Zane’s buddy Emmett, a Charlie Brown look-alike spending his 2nd birthday on his maiden voyage down the Salmon. I asked Breann, who has been a licensed river guide since she was 18, what it was like to grow up with the Salmon River in her backyard.
I envied her answer. At Salmon High, they learned to kayak in P.E., and as soon as she and her younger brothers were old enough to drive, they spent all their summer free time downriver past North Fork kayaking Pine Creek rapids and the more challenging day stretch of the Main.
Breann moved back to Salmon in 2009 after grad school at the University of Nevada-Reno. The empty store fronts on Main Street bug her; she wants Riverfest to boost the town’s economy. “We’re isolated in Salmon, we’re in the middle of places that have more wealth like Sun Valley and Missoula, but people struggle to make a living here. We’re a working class kind of town, and those of us who organized Riverfest want to help out where we can. I do this because I care about Salmon,” Breann explained.
Riverfest’s biggest event, the Saturday night concert with one of the Northwest’s favorite live band – the Clumsy Lovers, packed Island Park. As the throngs jammed to the Celtic-infused rock, the park’s resident osprey soared above with their catch of the day still wiggling in sharp talons, and little kids practiced tossing throw bags and bouncing on drying rafts, warmed by the sunny day.
It’s safe to say that the river season has officially started in Salmon, Idaho.
By Gina Knudson
This event was supported by
Summit National Bank, Local Options Tax Commission, Riverwear, Geertson Creek Mobile Hogs, Verdell and Valerie Olson, Smith Optics, Maravia, Cascade Outfitters, The Art of Design Studio, Odd Fellows’ Bakery, Kuhl, Worldkayak.com, Bertrams Brewery, Bender Beverage, Idaho Falls Beer Fest, Westfall Inc., Arctic Ice, Computer Zen, Junkyard Bistro, and Mother Chukars Cafe.
Wk is proud to be partnering up with some really fun boaters in AK this year to help promote their own versin on the HTTD. Here is what they had to say about their annual event. For the past five years Tim Johnson with the help of a few friends has organised and setup Sixmile White Water Festival located in Hope Alaska. This is the time when the local kayaking community comes together and has a fierce but fun head to head race down the first canyon of Sixmile Creek consists of four class IV rapids. The Festival is made up of three events; 1: Kayak Mass Start, 2: Packraft Mass Start, and 3: A fun inflatable pool toy race. There Is always some good carnage to be seen in the first drop called “seventeen ender”. On the day of the race the canyon wall are lined with spectators in anticipation to actually just see the carnage take place, that’s what most people come to see I think.
After The race everyone heads down to Boston River Bar for the awards ceremony and raffle,but In reality most people want to see who will receive the carnage award. The carnage is a paddle made of wood, and the recipetent of the award must be spanked while chugging his bootie beer which is quite the challenge! The paddle is made and presented by James Castro of Susitna Sled and Kayak based out of Willow Ak.
Once the award ceremony is over we have a fun rodeo throwdown, and as the day fades into night the bonfire gets lit and the band takes the stage. The rest of the night people dance on the gravel bar, spin fire and enjoy beer provided by Broken Tooth Brewery Located in Anchorage AK.
I am pleased to announce the newest addition to the World Kayak family of partners, Ninkasi Brewing Company. This past fall I had the opportunity to meet Nikos and Aaron at the WW Symposium in Hood river, OR. They were sponsoring that great event with their amazing beer. Right away you could tell that they were people who loved what they did, and they were boaters. My personal love of home brewing lead me to ask bunches of questions, and we got to talking about boating and beer. The guys got the opportunity to sample a WK slalom survivor and the rest is history. Ninkasi brewing has stepped up to be a full partner of WK for the 2013 season. What that means is beer to share at some locations and great product support in other areas. Ninkasi brewing is a boaters dream! Not only has Ninkasi made a conscious effort to make an eco friendly company by using recycled products in their cases and bottles, solar power at the brewery, water conservation in the brewing process, but their Total Domination IPA was named one of the best 25 beers in the world in 2012 by Men’s Journal. Ninkasi has a big history of community outreach, and World Kayak is proud to be part of that now. Come on out to your local Throwdown and share the love!
Later ; Colin
type of boating do you like, where you are located, other hobbies/sports)
KT- Well, I’ve only been doing whitewater kayaking for the past 2+ years. It is one of my few regrets in life that I did not get into it sooner but I have been hitting it hard and fast-tracking as much as possible while still being safe. I’ve always really enjoyed hiking with friends and we always found ourselves hiking near rivers, creeks and waterfalls. Before too long we decided that since we enjoyed hiking beside water and we also enjoyed canoeing, we should try whitewater kayaking because it would be like hiking IN the river. While I really enjoy playboating and do so often, my favorite type of boating will always be creeking because I enjoy the journey from put-in to takeout. Exploration on the water.
I live in Nashville, TN, the land of flat waterways lol. It’s a wonderful city to live in but we spend a lot of time traveling to whitewater. We figured it up last year and we were spending around 43% of any given week at the Ocoee. Good times. In addition to kayaking my wife and I enjoy riding bikes, hiking, camping, canoeing and SUP. We even recently bought and fixed-up a vintage camper so we could live in comfort by the river and take our dog Willow with us.
WK-You have partnered up with our WK ambassador Philip Byard to deliver a
creek race series this spring. How is that going?
KT- It has been going great so far! Philip and I have been good friends since he moved to Nashville, TN and have been boating A LOT together. We are really enthusiastic about kayaking and the community and that enthusiasm manifested itself in a couple of different ways. Philip ended up becoming the Nashville Ambassador for World Kayak while our buddy Michael Loftis and I started WeStroke.com. With WeStroke we had partnered with The Outdoor Experience in Cookeville, TN, our closest whitewater kayak outfitter, and they have close ties with Jackson Kayak, who is an awesome kayak company located here in TN and who supports World Kayak. When brainstorming with Philip about events he could do for World Kayak, we came up with the Plateau Creek Race Series. We decided that it would be advantageous for everyone involved if we combined forces for the race series. World Kayak puts on the race, WeStroke helps with promotion and organization and The Outdoor Experience helps with promotion and prizes. Everyone does what they do best for the benefit of the races and the community. So far it has worked out great with the first two events and we even got a write-up from Canoe&Kayak.com! There will be another more detailed write-up on the third and final event being held at Daddy’s Creek on the 30th of this month.
WK-You started westroke.com this past year. Fill us in on what the mission
Statement is for westroke.
KT- WeStroke is a labor of love. Michael Loftis and I are just two regular guys with full-time tech jobs who have a passion for kayaking and all things water-related. We found ourselves constantly scouring the Internet trying to find out information about different boats, gear, videos, etc. As far as reviews go, it seemed like there was a real lack of good, insightful articles that would help people make educated buying decisions when purchasing equipment for their sport. So basically we do some of the research for you by buying ALL THE THINGS! Lol, well not really all of it but a serious portion! Then we do real world tests. We are not pro-boaters, just pretty good ones so you can get real, down-to-earth information. Also, there was no real central place to check out all the latest boating videos so we are bringing them all together on one site for your enjoyment.
WK-Where do you see westroke going in the next two years?
KT- We have no grand ambitions of getting rich off WeStroke or anything. We are seriously just in it for the love of the community. That being said, we are committed to growing the site as much as possible. We have several new big things coming soon for the website, which will allow us to attract an even larger audience and make the site that, much more useful for the paddlesport community. While I am not at liberty to talk about them at the moment, you will see them soon. We also have arrangements and partnerships with a good portion of the major manufacturers of gear and boats and will be hosting lots of events this spring and summer. It’s going to be a great ride and we are loving every second of it.
WK-What are your personal paddling goals for this season, once you recover
from your shoulder injury?
KT- Well, I was at the start of my creeking extravaganza, which I had looked forward to all year when it was derailed by my shoulder injury and surgery. While I’m rehabbing, I’ll be starting back on some easier rivers and using that time to introduce others to the sport and help teach them some of the fundamentals. After I’m cleared for harder stuff, I’ll be training on the Ocoee for the rest of it’s’ season and hitting places like Rock Island and the Tellico when they are going. Towards the latter part of the year, the wife and I will be going to Costa Rica and doing some creeking and river-running there. All of that plus taking several advanced clinics myself should get me back on track after my set back.
WK-Thanks for your time today Kevin. Now it is time for my favorite
question. What is your favorite après boating burrito? Lol, it’s funny that you ask that because we are always looking for Mexican food after boating somewhere new. I don’t think I necessarily have a favorite place for an after river burrito, just need some good food, good friends and good brews. Now at the Ocoee, it’s a different story. You cannot beat the Whitewater Grill for after river nourishment. It is insanely good home cooked food and you should definitely try it out if you haven’t.
Check out We Stroke at
Each year I get the opportunity to work with a number of great companies that support WW kayaking through the WK Hometown Throwdowns. I have been working with Erin from Mtn. Khakis for a number of years now and her desire to help WK in our community growing initative has been nothing short of spectacular! This year she introduced me to another Mtn. Khakis employee who is out there on the river getting it done with his paddling community. Dom Clark and his friends started the “Dope Flow Boat Show” this past summer to document their boating fun. I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Dom, and here is what he had to say.
- Dom, what boating community do you call home? How long have you been involved in WW kayaking?
Indiana will always be my home, but the southeast is where it’s at for paddling. I started flatwater kayaking when I was 16 and quickly became fascinated with whitewater. I grew up in Indiana and my buddies and I would take our flatwater boats down any “gnar” that we could find. There is a 3 foot ledge on the Flatrock River (Class I), my hometown run, that is what really got me hungry for whitewater. I have been whitewater paddling for five years now.
- What aspect of WW boating is most appealing to you? (community, challenge, travel, exploration)
I love the challenge of running new rivers and seeing beautiful gorges that can only be accessed from the river. I also like the brotherhood that develops between you and your fellow boaters. To be honest, all aspects of WW boating are appealing to me, besides long portages!
- You work at Mtn. Khakis, who has been a fantastic partner of WK for 6 years now. Tell us a little something that we don’t know about your great company that pertains to boaters.
MK has been a sponsor of the hometown throwdowns for 7 years now and I am working to get MK more involved in the world of whitewater. As a side note, our Flannel-Lined Original Mountain Pants are awesome after a cold day of paddling!
- You and your paddling buddies have started a video project. Fill us in on what you are calling it and what you guys are looking to accomplish with the project.
John Higginbotham, Greg Nance and Logan Curry are the “founding fathers” of the “Dope Flow Boat Show.” it was created this summer to showcase our kayaking videos. Despite the name, DFBS does not have any negative connotations towards drugs or anything of an inappropriate nature. In a nutshell, Dope Flow Boat Show is a group that brings together badass kayakers. Our mission is to shed light on our sport through our videos and to bring new people into the world of whitewater. We always strive to set a good example for the youngins. We are going to make some informative/educational videos to explain some river running/creeking skills and some important safety precautions on the river. Although we do run stout whitewater, safety is always our number one priority. This is currently something that we are doing for fun, maybe it will turn into something bigger!
- Thanks for your time. Is there anything else that you want to share with the WK audience?
Get on the river and stay tuned for episode 3!
Here is episode #2
Later ; Colin
Kokatat has stepped up to the plate for their third season with the World Kayak HTTD series. Kokatat is known for their amazing quality dry gear. They are an awesome group of paddlers located in northern California who have a true passion for the sport. Look for some seekers headed to a throwdown event near you. There are some exciting announcements coming from Kokatat for our Championship event at NOC later this fall. Make sure to support this great company by checking out their gear at your local retailer.
Later ; Colin
Hello spring! It is that time of year again and the World Kayak Hometown Throwdown series is getting underway for 2012. This year things are getting off to a great start with the addition of some creek races to our event series. Once again our partners have stepped up big and are going to be hooking us up big time. The first WK partner to answer the call this season and commit to another great year is Mountain Khakis! The good folks at Mountain Khakis have been with us for the past five years and continue to keep us looking good once we dry off. Make sure you visit them at http://www.mountainkhakis.com/. I am super excited to see if the new Cargo pants can dethrone my Alpine Utility pants as my favorite piece of clothing I own.
Later ; Colin
Classes: This is a stand alone NATIONALS and separate from the point series.National Champions will be crowned in the following classes:
K1M Pro, K1W Pro, K1M Open, K1W Open, K1M Jr, K1W Jr, C1, OC1, and Cadet
Community Service: TBD
Registration: through morning of July 6 , 2012
Activities: Free concerts on site over the festival weekend. Bands TBA.
Awards:Prizes & Purse Total $15,500 Pro class K1 Women & Men’s purse
C1 Unisex 1st $300
Event date – July 7-8
Visit: www.kwpid.com for more info.
On this posting I am going to mention a few things about choosing a run during the winter season.
1) Length of run.
- Try to choose shorter runs in colder temperatures to keep warm.
- If you can leave an extra shuttle car in the middle of the run for an additional take out in case someone is to cold to continue.
Remember that one of the first sings of hypothermia is loss of brain function.
2) Difficulty of run.
- Select a run well within your and the groups ability. With the extra challenge of the temperatures and possible water level fluctuation. I recommend that this is not the time to push your limits.
- If you haven’t done a lot of winter paddling or get cold easily choose a run below your current ability to see how you and your group deal with the cold. Then you can reassess the run as you get used to the temperatures.
3) Know your group
- As always learn your groups paddling ability
- Know if they have paddled during similar conditions,
- Be sure they are aware of the conditions and how it will affect them.
- Make sure they can handle the cold.
- I usually try to get a larger experienced to less experienced ratio of paddlers this time of year. ( also keep in mind experienced with winter paddling
Remind everyone that it is cold out there and if they are not prepared for it they should be asked to not paddle.