Well, I have made the long journey across the country, and am typing this from the beautiful town of Buena Vista, Colorado. This is the beginning of a pretty exciting competition tour for me, and I will be attending the following events:
May 30-June 3 Teva Mountain Games (Vail, CO)
June 8 North Fork Championships (Boise, ID)
June 16 Red Bulle Divide & Conquer (Vancouver, BC)
I am already struggling to adjust to the mountain climate a bit. My lungs don’t work quite the same at the 9500 foot elevation of Homestake Creek as they do in downtown Asheville at 2130 feet. Regardless of the challenges, there are a number of Southeast athletes that are going to make waves and represent the Blue Ridge this summer in adventure sports competition. Here are a few to keep an eye out for:
Mike was featured in the May article about Stand Up Paddling, and he is a rep and professional paddleboarder for Boardworks. Hailing from Chattanooga, TN, he is at the cutting edge of the sport’s entrance to whitewater rivers, and he will be a strong contender at the Teva Mountain Games. We’ll see if he can upset Dan Gavere, the reigning king of whitewater paddleboarding!
The middle child in the Jackson family lineage, Dane is about as dominant force in the sport of freestyle kayaking as it gets. Now 18, Dane is already two for two in Pro competitions for the year. His smooth style is difficult for competitors to match, and he will surely be a good bet for all of the Colorado freestyle events this year.
This Fayetteville, WV local represents the ultimate blend of versatility. He is a multi-time US National Freestyle Team Member, and his forward stroke and smooth style is just as likely to crush all takers at any extreme race that he enters. Bryan balances this with his management of the Wave Sport Kayaks pro team.
Andrew is a two time winner of the prestigious Green River Narrows Race, and he makes everyone pretty nervous when he shows up at any event. Keep an eye out for Andrew at the North Fork Championships in Idaho. This event promises to be some of the most difficult whitewater ever raced, and there is not a competitor in the 30 invited athletes who is not extremely nervous.
If any of our readers do happen to be out West this summer, absolutely come and say hello at any of these events. I’ll be competing in the kayak races and then making a fool of myself in the SUP events!