In its fifth year, the North Fork Championships was bigger and better than ever, with high flows testing the mettle of the world’s best. And for his first time, Dane Jackson paddled down the gauntlet of whitewater to the top spot on the podium, just a half second faster than the runner-up….
“I’m definitely stoked to take the win, especially during one of the stoutest years ever at the North Fork Championships,” he says. “I’m just fired up to have gotten to spend another weekend racing with such awesome people. And to come out on top of such a stout race is such a sick feeling. I’m looking forward to try and defend it next year.”
Sponsored by Visit Idaho, Toyota, GoPro, Yeti, Kokatat, Sweet, Werner and more, this year’s event Idaho’s North Fork of the Payette River hasn’t gotten any less difficult for the world’s best whitewater kayakers. It’s one of the toughest, most continuous big water runs in the state, with this year’s flow—like the event’s cousin on Homestake Creek at the GoPro Games—higher than ever.
After kayakers slid down a 20-foot ramp and launched into the river, they had to paddle through a series of gates making navigating the waterway even more treacherous. It started with a gate in notorious Jacob’s Ladder, with a gate forcing racers into an eddy right behind a monster hole.
Only half of the event’s 29 paddlers made all of the course’s challenging moves. Dane Jackson was one of them as he took his first win in Idaho, after taking second last year.
The whitewater-filled weekend started on Thursday, with racers participating in the Expert Race time-trial sprint from Juicer through Cruncher on the run’s lower section. The popular Melt Awards followed in Boise at the Egyptian Theatre, where viewers watched whitewater films from such production houses as Substantial Media House, River Roots, Nomade Media House, and Serrasolses Brothers Productions; as well as still shots from photographers such as Mike Leeds, Tait Trautman, John Webster and Jasper Gibson.
The event also awarded wildcard slots for the Jacob’s Ladder slalom race.
Day two saw a Boater-X race through S-Turn rapid. On Saturday came the coveted Giant Slalom Elite Division race down Jacob’s Ladder through Golf Course, on a new catch-that-eddy-if-you-can course. From there, it was onto the Stoke Float to Banks and then to a party as raging as the river in Crouch, Idaho, for the awards festivities.
Top 10 Results
1 Dane Jackson 1:57.60
2 Tad Dennis 1:58.28
3 Kyle Hull 1:59.00
4 Alec Voorhees 2:00.31
5 Aniol Serrasolses 2:00.53
6 Joe Morley 2:01.67
7 Nick Troutman 2:08.90
8 William Griffith 2:10.35
9 Rush Sturges 2:10.71
10 Evan Moore 2:11.82