Friday, June 17, 2011

2011 Willow Creek Festival

The Willow Creek Festival has been revived thanks to Susitna Sled & Kayak and Alaska Kayak Academy. The two groups got together and put on a great event! There was a doubles down river race race (two people paddling together looking out for one another as a team) down Guardrail, a singles down river race down Red Gate, a slalom race at Red Gate and a fun event from Red Gate to the take out.

I paired up with my Dad for the doubles race. We came in second, after there was a tie for first between the team of Jeff Shelton and Tim Johnson, and Evan Corral and Paul Forward. In the Red Gate down river race I paddled the Outburst in an attempt to catch Jeff Shelton in a 13 foot racing boat. Despite my best efforts Jeff was able to hold me off by 12 seconds and Tim came in third thirteen seconds behind me. The slalom race was really close with Evan taking the honors in the kayak event. A few more packrafters showed up for the slalom race and I squeaked past Luc Mehl for the packraft slalom win.

Jim at Alaska Kayak Academy put on a really fun event at the end of the festival where four teams of three had to race a beach ball from the bottom of the slalom course to the Red Gate takeout by only touching the ball with their boats and paddles. The event quickly turned into an all out rally where teams were trying to stop other team's beach ball from reaching the take out. I'm sad to report that one beach ball did not survive.

All in all it was an amazing event and I'm looking forward to going to this event for years to come! Thanks to everyone who made it happen!

I made a short video of the event. It was really hard to get the whole weekend crammed into about four minutes.

Be sure to watch the video in 720p.

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