Yampa River Festival starts today, Paddling Life Pro Invitational Monday

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From the Steamboat Pilot & Today:

Now in its 29th year, the river festival has two purposes, Van De Carr said. The event shows locals and visitors all the recreational possibilities of the river; it also brings awareness to outside factors that can affect the water, [Peter] Van De Carr said. “I just think that there are a lot of issues with the river — the pumpback project and the discussion of user conflicts. … And everybody who loves the river, this is a time to rally and show support and see what some of the issues are,” he said. New to the festival this year are a river boarding demonstration, a presentation by paddling enthusiast Eugene Buchanan about his descent into Peru’s upper Colca Canyon, and an 18-and-younger kayak freestyle competition. Van De Carr describes river boarding as “paddling down the river on a surfboard.” A tube rodeo, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, is back for a second year. Competitors hang on to a tube in a rough part of the river for as long as possible and are judged for ride duration and style. The tube rider with the most points wins $100. Van De Carr said he hopes the festival will propel the cause behind Respect the Yampa, a coalition of groups formed earlier this spring to advocate for the environment of the river, people who use it and private landowners who surround it.

From the Steamboat Pilot & Today (Joel Reichenberger):

Competitors first will race on Fish Creek, starting at 10 a.m. The action at Charlie’s Hole will start at 1 p.m. Each paddler will get a crack at laying out tricks in Steamboat’s signature boating feature.

This year’s competition will feature a new scoring system. Last year, a panel of judges awarded one point for a trick and allocated other points based on quality and variety. This year, the judges will follow a more widely accepted standard, wherein different amounts of points are awarded for different tricks. “It’s a better way and more accurately gives points based on what they do out there,” freestyle supervisor Dan Piano said.

Organizers hope Monday’s event fits in with what is a wild few weeks in Colorado for the kayaking world. It comes just after a big event at Buena Vista and before major competitions in Glenwood Springs and Vail.

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