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Brush Creek, Kern River Festival. Photo by Hope Rinehimer

It has been an awesome 2 weeks in Kernville, California, with sunny weather and rising water. I attended the Gold Medal Camp ( for a second year in a row to refresh my paddling skills before the season started. The instruction is top notch and includes such incredible coaches as Bob Campbell, former Olympic Team coach, Tom Long, former National Jr. Development coach, the Long family boys Chad and Kenneth, and Anne Long, former National Team Slalom members, as well as Olympic Gold Medalist Joe Jacobi. The camps are 3 days of intense instruction on whatever you want to work on, and are divided into a morning session and an afternoon session with a different coach and a different part of the river each session. Each coach has an unique way of teaching so you are entertained while learning the entire time. I chose to work on my slalom skills and came away a much stronger paddler. They are currently working on a camp on the American River in August, so if your looking for some incredible instruction that will take your paddling to a much higher level, sign up!

Gold Medal Camp, Kernville, CA.

After the Gold Medal Camp, I was finally able to run Brush Creek with one of my idols, Rebecca Giddens, Olympic Silver Medalist in slalom, super mom and waffle fry extrodinaire, (the waffle fries are awesome!) and her husband, former Olympic Team member and coach Eric Giddens, doting father and brewmaster at the Kern River Brewery. (a must stop if you are in Kernville) I had a great time practicing for the race with them, and then hitting the slalom course in town to get a feel of the course as the water was rising. On Friday, I ran a few laps with my good friends from Reno, World Kayak’s own Colin Kemp and World Kayak Ambassador Noah Fraser, as well as my dad, then went to bed early for a good nights sleep before the race.
Saturday morning was HOT! The temps were in the 90’s by mid day and the race was a little low on water but still fun! I had an advantage because I am still small and light so I was able to paddle over stuff that caught some of the bigger boaters. I ended up 3rd overall in Women’s and Jr’s. and in the middle of the pack in overall racers for the down river race. Then it was time for the giant slalom which is on the popular and scenic Triple Drop section. The race consists of 5 gates through the drops, a roll point and a paddle hoop toss at the top of the last drop, so you do the drop without a paddle. I have been working on my hand roll, (thanks Colin!) so I went for the hoop toss! As always, Brush Creek was a ton of fun!

Brush Creek, CA. Photo by Hope Rinehimer

Sunday morning started out with a bang! I decided to race in the biathlon which was a 2 + mile run to a put in for a 2 + mile down river race. Most of the others were in teams of a runner and a boater, but I did both myself. I was 3rd in jrs. but I was also the only single team member so I was really happy with the results and will do this next year. Then it was slalom time! The river had come up a lot due to the high temperatures so it was a fast course. I did super well in my K1 slalom, and raced my C1 slalom boat for the first time. As usual, Eric Giddens put up a great and challenging course. If you haven’t gone to Kernville for the Kern River Festival, you need to put it on your schedule. Rumor has it they will have freestyle in their newly reconstructed whitewater park next year!

Kern River Festival, Kernville, CA.


C1, Kern River Festival, Kernville, CA.


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Kern River Festival and Gold Medal Camp.