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This is the 4th NAWF, and this year with high water, thanks to both rain and North Alabama mountain snowmelt! The organizers have done a great job in putting music to the river, bringing in lots of great sponsors and vendors, and plenty of kayaking, of course.
Yesterday was the Short Creek part of the event where a freestyle over a waterfall and a boatercross with 8 people at a time over the waterfall were the competitions. It is in Albertville, AL.
1. Andrew Holcomb won the waterfall freestyle
2. Nick Troutman was second.
3. Tyler Phillips was third.
I didn’t compete in this event this year, but had fun watching. I figured if I didn’t want to write another story about healing my shoulder, I should consider sitting this one out. There were some great moves to watch! Andrew did some sweet wavewheels into it and over it, while Nick pulled off a McNasty, and Dane did a sweet back pan am. Good stuff. Keith Yell had some sweet rockspins over the falls too. About 200 runs over the falls, at least in one day, maybe more! In the women’s it was Samantha Brunner, and Lauren Burress, with Emily Jackson in third.
In the boatercross- a backwards start with 8 abreast made for interesting racing. In the men’s expert class, Tommy Hehnen was 1st with Ryan Snodgrass in second, and John (blue C1) in third.
In the women’s boatercross over the falls it was Emily, then Lauren, then Sam for top three.
In the men’s pro class, I won, followed by Nick, and then Dane. I couldn’t believe it when after I had Clay on my tail, along with another 7 people, that Nick and Dane pulled up to the finish line right after me. I didn’t realize that Dane could paddle so fast. Clay was in second to almost the end but tried a ferry that was too low below the falls.
The course was from about 25 yards above the falls, over the falls, to a big flat rock then against some major current below the falls to a stump on river left. Good course. In the past we went under the falls behind the curtain at low water, but it was going to mean a very small field if they did it at high water! This course was great for high water.
Today was the King’s Bend part of the event on the Locust Fork. The water was high, and the hole was really good! All of the hole moves were available, but it was still quite tricky with a heavy diagonal shape to it pushing you to river left. We woke this morning to an inch of snow and 20 degree weather. People were cold and gear was wet or frozen. Luckily it warmed up to about 45 and the sun broke out, while they delayed the event until after 11 am. It was nice enough that a good number of us went out and trained in the hole and found that it was really warm in the water. Dane was the first on the water today and the last off, literally. He got on at 8am, and he was paddling his Shooting Star he rigged as a C1 at dark tonight!
In the competition:
Pro- Men
1. Eric Jackson
2. Andrew Holcomb
3. Nick Troutman
4. Jonathan Shales
5. Clay Wright
1. Emily Jackson
2. Lauren Burress
3. Sam Brunner
Junior Men:
1. Dane Jackson
2. Jonathan Shales
3. Tommy Hehnen
Expert Men: ( don’t know last names)
1. James
2. Ryan
3. Mr. Snodgrass (forget 1st name)
Friday night the bands (5 of them!) played, while fires raged to keep people warm. It was all good fun as nothing got out of control.
On Saturday night there was a premier of Night of the Living Donkey, and Here and Now. This was after two bands played during the day, and then the awards. After the awards swag was given away and then more bands! Everyone seemed to have a great time, even in the bitter cold (below 30 after dark) for Alabama.
I was giving the new Jackson Kayak RV (new to us, a 1999 model) its virgin run and spent much of the day figuring out why the leveling jacks were stuck down, making the RV stuck at King’s Bend until I fixed it. In good EJ form, they fixed themselves just before dark and we are more or less free to go. We have a little problem with a bunch of cars parked behind us but hope that the way will be clear in the morning. Dave and others were quite helpful in trying to get it fixed.
Great event from the boys from the South!