Gargantuan Weekend in Glenwood : Whitewater SUP Nationals, U.S. Team Trials

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Glenwood Springs, Colorado, vaulted itself into the international spotlight this past weekend, hosting both the Standup Paddleboarding River National Championships and US Freestyle Kayak Team Trials. The venue was the recently constructed Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park on the Colorado River, where 11,000 cfs made for an epic river feature known only as “The Wave.”

“Both events went off awesome,” say organizers, adding that the 11,000 cfs flow was perfect for both events. “It worked out well to have them piggy-back off each other.”

The cornerstone event was the 2009 freestyle team trials, won handily by Bryan Kirk, who paddled a custom carbon-fiber WaveSport Project 54 to the top spot with a whopping 910 points. The win means he will compete in his foruth world championships this August in Switzerland after failing to qualify for the 2007 championships. Kirk called the Glenwood feature, “The best man-made wave in the country.”

Following Kirk was Stephen Wright is second, followed by Johnny Meyers in third. Roudning out the top five paddlers on the team were Chris Stafford and Rush Sturges, showing that they, too has what it takes to represent their country on the world stage. Current World Freestyle Champion Eric Jackson, who has a bye onto the team, finished eighth.

The event also marked the first-ever Whitewater SUP Nationals, with the champions decided by a series of three events: A 6-mile downriver race through Class II and III water, a slalom race and a wave surfing competition. While several top-caliber standup paddlers from Hawaii came over to compete in the veent, the downriver race concluded with an exciting photo finish between favorites Charlie MacArthur and Dan Gavere. The freestyle event challenged competitors to navigate through gates paddling both upstream and downstream, while the wave surfing competition saw surfers throwing ollies, flatspins and coffins.

In the end, it was waterman Gavere taking first, with wins in two of the three events.

Overall Results: Standup River Championships
Pro Men:
1st- Dan Gavere–OR
2nd- Charlie McArthur-CO
3rd- David Collins-WY

Pro Women:
1st- Corral Ferguson-CO
2nd- Jenny McArthur-CO
3rd- Nikki Gregg-HI

Overall Results: US Freestyle Team Trials
Men’s Kayak:
1. Bryan Kirk – Project CX
2. Stephen Wright- All-Star
3. Johnny Meyers- Project
4. Chris Stafford- All-Star
5. Rush Sturges- Crazy 88

Women’s Kayak:
1. Emily Jackson- Star
2. Adriene Levknecht- Biscuit
3. Elaine Campbell- Project
4. Jessie Stone- Star

Junior Men’s Kayak:
1. Jason Craig
2. Dane Jackson
3. Michael “LP” Palmer

Junior Women’s Kayak:
1. Tracy D’Arbeloff- Star
2. Emery Tillman- Star

C1:
1. Dane Jackson- Shooting Star
2. Jordan Poffenberg- Biscuit
3. Jeremy Laucks- 420

OC1:
1. Jeremy Laucks- Homemade
2. Jake Ament- Esquif

In a bold move, EJ stepped up and held a raffle for the winners of each category. The prize: A plane ticket to the world championships. Team Wavesport’s Bryan Kirk was the fortunate winner.