was privileged this year to participate in North West Rafters Association’s
(NWRA) 22nd Annual Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival. NWRA is an organization
of private boaters with five chapters located around Oregon..
crew consisted of Dan, Brian, Karl, Clyde and Brian’s friend,
Jenni. We took off early Friday in the NRS van, pulling a trailer
full of gear. Brian’s iPod kept us entertained and alert on
the long drive across Washington and Oregon.
The festival was a great mix of competition, education and fun.
It was set up in a wide pullout along the Clackamas River, a beautiful
setting made green by the plentiful “Oregon sunshine”,
a.k.a. rain. The weather smiled on us in that as in Camelot it mostly
rained at night.
was the day for boat demos. We’d brought along 14’
and 16’ NRS River Cats, a 13’
NRS Otter, a MaverIK
I and a Bandit
I. So, all day long we shuttled folks and boats to and from the put-in
and take out to give them a feel for these great NRS boats. We met lots
of nice folks, swapped boating stories and gave away lots of swag. While
we were shuttling boats, several safety clinics were held. Some of the
topics included hypothermia and cold water protection, Z-drag and rescue
knots, first aid and survival techniques.
the end of the day, while Dan, Brian, Karl and Jenni went out on the river
for some boating, Clyde participated in the Dutch Oven Cook-Off competition.
His recipe won 1st Place for Main Dish in the Adult category. Check out
the recipe for Dutch
Oven Chicken w/ 40 Cloves of Garlic.
evening was spent in camp under our River
Wing, staying out of the “Oregon sunshine.” After supper
we spent a great evening swapping lies and telling boating stories (hmm,
maybe those are the same thing). Brian brought his guitar along and, encouraged
by the rest of us and considerable amounts of liquid refreshments, regaled
us with lots of picking and singing.
dawned with overcast and anticipation – this was the day for competition.
NWRA’s busy crew had set up eight cable and pole gates on Carter
Falls Rapid, right across the road from the festival site. They had a
full day’s schedule of races for inflatable and hard shell kayaks,
rowed and paddled rafts and rowed catarafts.
have been our day to work, but Sunday was our day to play!
events led off with the Inflatable Kayak (IK) Slalom with Dan
and Brian in the MaverIK and Bandit. Neither of them won, but
they entertained the crowd with some spectacular spills. In the
IK Mass Start, a race from the put-in to the bridge below Carter
Falls, Dan and Brian were there again! Brian powered his way to
2nd Place in this event.
Paddle Boat Slalom race had a lot riding on it: the winner got to represent
Oregon in the U.S. National Rafting Championships, held at Gore Canyon
in Colorado. The NRS crew was totally pumped for the event. With Jenni
on the camera, Dan, Brian, Carl and Clyde got suited up and dialed in
for the race.
been too busy on Saturday to practice as a team and there wasn’t
time for a practice run on Sunday, but we had a secret weapon. Brian has
worked as a rafting guide in paddleboats, so with him captaining and calling
cadence we knew we had a good shot at the prize.
was a blast! At the put-in we agreed on the verbal commands, practiced
a few strokes and when signaled, we were off. On the way down to Carter
Falls we coordinated our paddling, traded suggestions and got ready for
the gates. It was a rush of digging in, backstroking and pirouetting down
the course. With Brian shouting out commands, we performed like a seasoned
were the only team to make it through seven of the eight gates, but got
nosed out by the team from Andy & Bax Sporting Goods, Portland, OR,
in total points. If we had to lose first place, at least it was to a good
it starting to rain again, we decided to head home. We were exhilarated
by the competition but tired from the physical exertion, so it was a long
drive back. We were glad we came; the people were great and the competition
was fun. Kudos to the dedicated members of NWRA – you do the boating