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This past April, a group of southwestern Idaho boaters worked up a plan to put on the first annual lower Malad Race. The Malad River is located in the deserts of Southern Idaho and it features two short stretches, the upper is class 3 and the lower is class 4. The Malad also is home to “Devil’s Washbowl,” a fifty foot waterfall that has only been kayaked a handful of times.

Being my first time to the Malad River, I was impressed with how fun and continuous the river was. Both sections are only about a mile, but they are stacked with quality rapids with lots of awesome moves. On race day, I was excited to see dozens of paddlers / spectators. Over 30 people entered the lower race, with just as many spectators. The race itself was surprisingly well organized and the course was a blast.

It took over six minutes for the fastest racers to complete the course. Upon sliding down a stairway, paddlers immediately found themselves in one of the most challenging rapids. A series of five gates (beach balls in eddies that had to be touched while moving upstream) made it a pretty tough course. Missing a gate would be a 25 second penalty. Only your best of two runs would count.

The first place racer, Mike Bond, used his strength and finesse to crush the competition. A fifteen second difference separated Mike from the rest of the pack with much closer results. Official results placed me in fourth, however, I felt that I laid down two very strong and consistent runs. I was the only racer that got all five gates on both of my race runs!!! And each of my race runs were just a couple of seconds apart. Regardless, I had to accept the fact that I needed to paddle harder in between the gates.

The top five results were:
1) Mike Bond
2) Kyle Keegan
3) Sam Wells
4) Micah Kneidl
5) Kyle “Smitty” Smith

Overall the race was a huge success and everybody that was there had a great time. We are all looking forward to the next race, which is scheduled for this September.

Thanks to John Webster of for the photos. Enjoy the raw GoPro video below of my first run. I did well, but next time I’m hoping to be stronger and speedier..

-Micah Kneidl