Season Kickoff for the:
2008 Western Whitewater Championship Series (WWCS)
What a blast.
29 racers suited up to brave the cold rainy weather, early start time, and wrath from mom for not attending Easter dinner to attend the first downriver Upper Wind race in 14 years.
Joe Stumpfel in his super mongo Wave Hopper was the only racer to break the 20 minute barrier finishing the roughly 3 mile (Class III-IV+) course in 19minutes:17seconds.
At approximately 6.7 feet on the gauge at race time the Upper Wind held on to it’s reputation of being technical while still smashing paddlers with solid holes.
Ram’s Horn was said to humble several fatigued paddlers on this day.
Dave Hagmeier proved yet again that he is the man to beat in a cataraft, while Greg Mallory beat all comers in the competitive under 9 feet kayak class. Greg represents what is right about competition, his inner strength and modest demeanor was unmatched. I really hope you get to meet Greg on the river someday.
The California Women tactfully took full advantage of their downriver starting position and cleverly held a solid line throughout the first 1/3rd of the race completely disallowing ORT an opportunity to pass. When the channel finally widened up just above Initiation, ORT snuck by on the inside but blew their exit line after the first big ledge which let the opportunistic ladies from Cali to slip by. ORT was again forced to wait patiently for an opening and about 4 boulder gardens later were able to crank by just above Ram’s Horn. Our line at the Horn wasn’t real clean but it was good enough to take a solid lead and settle in for the remainder of the gorge.
At the finish line we waited anxiously for new ORT recruit and first year paddler Matt King who had never seen this section of stout water before. Additionally, he was racing it (R2) in a 12 foot Aire Puma with a classmate he had just “drug” off the campus who may have only been in a raft a few times, ever. We let out a big cheer as this crew finally came around the corner, Matt with a big grin and his bro with the thousand yard stare.
Back at the cabin racers and volunteers were stoked with some spicy chili served up by ORT, Easter Eggs by Kate and April, and PBR which was donated by Zach from Echo River Trips.
83% of the racers went home with gear or prizes provided by:
A very special thanks for:
Event insurance and timing provided by Bob and Kerry of the Northwest Rafters Association (NWRA) who will be hosting the 25th annual Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival May 16th – 18th.
Registration and event support by Mark Rettmann.
Shuttle and tent by Next Adventure.
Gerber knives and parking by Rob Virostek of kayakattack.com.
And of course the great folks at Aire, Aquabound, WRSI, and Immersion Research, who continue to provide the boys with the best equipment on the river.
Come join the fun next year with practice on Saturday March 21st and the race on Sunday March 22nd.
Next stop on the WWCS is the North Fork of the American April 5th.
ORT, we are more than just a whitewater rafting team,
Long Boat Kayak
1st Joe Stumpfel 19:17
2nd Austin Rathman 20:04
3rd Nate Bell 22:06
4th Christie Glissmeyer 22:48
Kayak (Under 9 feet)---Times “rained out”
1st Greg Mallory
2nd Tony Skirvanek
3rd Rob Virostek
4th Jim Kennedy
5th Roberta Grant
6th Luke Spencer
Cataraft---Times “rained out”
1st Dave Hagmeier
2nd Zachary Collier
3rd Val Shaull
1st Oregon Rafting Team (ORT) 22:44
2nd California Women 23:17
3rd Bigfoot (R2) 27:09
4th ORT Rookies (R2) 28:55