Approximately 100 competitors from around the country will converge in Glenwood to show off their skills and compete for a spot on the team that will represent the United States at the World Freestyle Championship to be held in Thun, Switzerland in August. Current World Champions, Eric Jackson, his daughter Emily Jackson, and Junior Champ Evan Garcia have already clinched spots on the team and are not required to compete, but will mostly likely show off their award-winning style at the competition. According to the chairman of the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Events Committee, Davis Farrar, “Though freestyle kayaking is not yet an Olympic sport, events like the U.S. Team Trials and the World Freestyle Championships are paving the way toward that end.”
In freestyle kayaking, the goal is to throw as many different moves as possible in a 60-second time frame—and the higher the degree of difficulty the better. Judges award points based on difficulty, variety, and amplitude. The more moves performed, the more points a competitor can accumulate. Tricks will be performed on a standing wave, known as the Glenwood Wave, which can have flows ranging from 4,000 to 22,000 CFS (cubic feet per second). Some moves may also be performed in a “hole” on the river, depending on what the water flow is on event day. In addition to the McNasty, other wow-factor moves include the Phonix Monkey, Airwheel, Darkside/Jedi Flip, Tricky Whu, Pan Am and Lunar Orbit. Some of these moves can launch athletes and their kayaks inverted and up to four feet in the air.
There will certainly be plenty of whitewater action, but landlubbers will also find lots to do on shore thanks to the 7th Annual Yagatta Regatta. The event will help welcome athletes and set a festive tone for the weekend. It can best be described as a one-of-a-kind rafting flotilla and costume contest that brings together the local whitewater community. In addition to the raft race, spectators can enjoy micro-brews, food booths, live music, kid’s activities and more throughout the weekend at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs. The Regatta is the primary fundraiser for Operation Vacation, a non-profit organization, which provides all-expense paid weekend getaways for deserving soldiers and their families. To learn more go to www.ColoradoYagattaRegatta.com.
The US Freestyle Team Trials begin with preliminary competition starting at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, May 30, followed by semi-finals on Saturday afternoon. Finals are scheduled for Sunday, May 31. Spectators are encouraged to come and cheer for the paddlers. Off-site parking and shuttles will be available.
For more information on the event, to register for the competition, and to book lodging and activities in Glenwood Springs, go to www.glenwoodwhitewaterevents.com.
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About Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park
The $1 million whitewater park, designed by Glenwood Springs–based RiverRestoration.org, is located on the Colorado River just upstream from the Midland Avenue bridge and I-70’s Exit 114 in West Glenwood Springs. For more information, visit glenwoodwhitewaterpark.org.
About Glenwood Springs, Colorado
For more information about Glenwood Springs, Colorado, call 970-945-6589 or go to www.visitglenwood.com. For lodging reservations, call 888 4 GLENWOOD (888-445-3696)
Kate Collins, VP of Tourism Marketing
970-945-6589 ext. 105
Davis Farrar, Glenwood Whitewater Park Committee Chairperson