Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Results from the Virgin Wave Rodeo

The second annual Virgin Wave Rodeo came and went this past long weekend. This year the weather in central Newfoundland behaved and we had a nice sunny and warm day to play in the canyon of the Exploits River.

Rodeo day saw a paddlers congregate at the put-in for the Upper Salmon Ladder section; a short and beautiful stretch of whitewater, which is seldom run. The initial rapid is a series of ledges with tight slots that end in a 2.2m waterfall, very fun. Several people ran this section, amusing the crowd with their varied methods of getting to the final drop upright and pointed downstream.

The two groups of paddlers re-united below the bridge and continued down to the first competition at the loop hole. Paul Rose and Andrew Stewart amused us by travelling downstream on a large water bike, which handled the whitewater suprisingly well. However, it could not surf the Virgin Wave. The "Free-for-All" event at the loop hole went well. Everyone had 20 minutes to style the wave and we saw flurries of cartwheels and big loops from many of the competitors. In the end it was a close call between Darren McDonald and Jim Price for the top ride at this little playspot, but Darren managed to pull out the biggest loop of the day.

At the Virgin Wave the competition heated up as many paddlers flushed through the wave, which has a very soft foam pile at low September water levels. The competition essentially came down to single rides and linked flat spins. I won the rodeo with a series of low angle blunts off the left shoulder and Andrew Stewart was a close second unleashing a vertical blunt, but was unable to stick the move on the green face of the Virgin wave. Betsy Wilson, the sole female paddler, swept the women's events.

After the rodeo was finished we headed up to Pizza Delight for cold drinks and pizza. We were met there by several sea kayakers that had been paddling in the area over the weekend. Everyone was tired, hungry and really thirsty at this point, but it seems like we all had a good time again this year.