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By Jessie Stone

The Nile River Festival took place this year from December 1-3 and saw a great turn out of local and international paddlers. This year?s festival also had the largest turnout of women paddlers to date with Uganda, the USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, England, and Switzerland being represented. Friday the first of December kicked off with the freestyle competition at Nile Special. This year?s competition presented an additional challenge to surfing the magnificent wave, which was the rope toe entry to get on the wave. Despite rainy conditions, there was great local and foreign crowd support. The format of mixed heats and an open wave jam session for 45 minutes at a time made for a very relaxed and fun atmosphere with all competitors going for big air moves. Prelims finished in daylight and the finals were held under lights in the dark ? mind the rope toe entry! The big winners of the night were Steve Fisher for the Men?s comp and Rae Barrato in the ladies. Sam from the UK was second and Tom Brown and Adrienne from Australia were tied for third. On the women?s side, I finished second and Andrea Guit from Switzerland was third.

The endurance race on Saturday was taken by Sam and Will for the men and Chloe and Becky Lar for the Ladies. And after a big party at Nile River Explorers on Saturday night, the final event the Silverback Boda-Boda sprint took place at 2pm on Sunday afternoon. There was a clean Ugandan sweep for the men with Geoffrey from Adrift taking first and Becky Lar again taking the women?s race. The festival finished with the photography competition on Sunday night held in Ben Holland?s honor. Ben had started the video business at Nile River Explorers and was killed tragically in September. We all miss him and it was wonderful to see so many people come out and compete for the photography prize. In the end, Leslie Alsheimer from Santa Fe, NM took the prize. All in all, it was a super event with Jamie leaving no detail forgotten and brining unbounded enthusiasm to all events. We hope to see even more paddlers here next year! It?s more than worth the trip!



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