Select Page

I strongly believe that competition builds community. The Middle Fork Championship on the Middle section of the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River (aka “Middle Middle”) is no exception to that community-building for the Greater Seattle Area. This race is organized a bit differently than your “typical” whitewater race. The Middle Fork Championship occurs on a weekday after work (for those 8-5 M-F folks). The MFC occurs during the long days that the PNW summers are known for. The trophy isn’t awarded to the fastest racer (WHAT?!?!?!?) but instead, it’s given to the median racer, the Middle Middle Middle Racer. Don’t let the race structure fool you, the race is VERY competitive!

The Middle Middle is a common after-work kayaking destination for class III-III+ paddlers around the Greater Seattle Area. For me, it’s about a 30-minute drive from home (aka my remote office). Yes, I can work a full day and then race whitewater after work. Awesome! This also means that there is a large community of paddlers frequenting this section of whitewater and thus a large population who are eligible for the Middle Fork Championship. Kayaks, canoes, tandems, rafts, packrafts, wildwater boats, and more are welcome to be a part of the race.

The Snoqualmie River has three main tributaries which are the North, Middle, and South Forks. This river drains the west side of the Cascade Mountains near the town of North Bend and converge at the beautiful water of Snoqualmie Falls. The river was designated Wild and Scenic in December 2014. The river converges with the Skykomish River near Monroe, WA to form the Snohomish River which eventually empties into the Puget Sound in Everett, WA.

I love long boating. Since I moved to the PNW in 2017, I’ve been surprised by a lack of long boats on rivers as I would commonly see in the Southeast US. In recent years, I’ve seen that change which I attribute to a change in the racing landscape and people experiencing the sensation of boofing a long boat (it’s glorious). I look forward to hopping in my Jackson Karma RG with my buddies in their long boats to explore rivers to find the fastest and smoothest lines, providing a new stimulus for familiar rivers. We end up nerding out about what moves follow the flow best, keep the boat flat, and avoid the most rocks. In its 3rd year, the Middle Fork Championship saw it’s most long boat racers to date!

I’m thankful for the versatility of the Jackson Karma RG. I love being able to take this kayak to the Middle Fork Championship, a calm day at Lake Sammamish, a multi-day down the Rogue River, or rock gardening in Baja California. During the race, I particularly appreciate using the skeg to prevent me from spinning out when paddling along swirly eddy lines. Long boat racers often strategize where it makes sense to deploy and lift up the skeg.

I find myself appreciating the Middle Fork Championship more and more lately. I love opportunities to connect with the paddling community on-water and on-land. The pandemic has been rough for me at least (and I’m certain many others), and I appreciate opportunities like this to connect with friends and paddlers, share stories, and build each other back up. This race certainly helps to ease a tough week at work or life.

If you reside near the Greater Seattle Area and are looking to compete in a whitewater race, I highly recommend the Middle Fork Championship if you have the skills and training to compete. If not, there are plenty of volunteers who help to make this race possible, registering racers, handing out bibs, timing at the start/finish lines, setting safety, or baking delicious cookies to end the day with a smile. This race doesn’t happen without race organizers and volunteers, and I appreciate all of you!