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Reno River Festival

Wildwater Event #1

by Ed Gordon

May 19, 2006 -- Reno, NV

The 2006 Reno River Festival wildwater event was a testament to the skills, talent, or outright genetic freakishness of past US team members, who completely dominated the field despite a total lack of training or boat time. Contested over an approximately 14 minute course, the high river levels presented a wide open path of continuous small waves and chop. The course finished amid the carnival like atmosphere of the Reno River Festival, complete with music and announcers Dan Gavere and “Hobie” Hoeve giving play by play for the crowds, culminating with a run through the twisting, concrete lined slalom channel in the heart of downtown Reno. Past US team member Tim Milton, who had sat in his wildwater boat perhaps three or four times in the last year, set an untouchable time of 13:30 in the k-1 class, finishing a minute ahead of 2d place finisher Charles Albright’s 14:30. In C-1, Andy Bridge demonstrated why he is in the hall of fame. With even less boat or training time than Milton, and despite never paddling the course, and using a borrowed and oddly outfitted boat without a skeg, Bridge finished in 14:32, leaving Ed Gordon over 30 seconds behind at 15:07, prompting Gordon to consider trading his boat and training regimen for a couch, extra large bag of chips, and satellite TV subscription. Although official results have yet to be posted, an informal tally of the top five results is below:

Tim Milton wildwater k-1 13:30
Charles Albright wildwater k-1 14:30
Andy Bridge wildwater c-1 14:32
Jimmy Blakeney Perception Cadence 14:35
Ed Gordon wildwater c-1 15:07

Wildwater action returns to Reno May 21, 2006, when racers will face nearly 1000 cfs more over twice the distance, including additional rapids, and the crux dilemma of the safer but slower slalom channel or the direct line through the five meaty, river-wide ledge holes of the main channel.