Update: They canceled the whitewater events for the Teva Games today — too much runoff — according to a report from the Vail Daily.
From The Denver Post (Scott Willoughby):
The Vail Whitewater Park put the world’s top kayakers to the test as gushing snowmelt from the nearby Gore Mountain Range turned the river a muddy orange and carried trees, root balls and other debris into the competition wave. A low bridge ripped the paddle from one competitor’s hand during practice and others suffered scratches to the face and hands from wood collecting in the eddies. “The conditions were incredibly challenging,” head judge Clay Wright said of the contest. “I’ve never seen Gore Creek this high. I thought we were going to see a mobile home floating through any minute.”
Between dodging debris, Dustin Urban of Buena Vista landed a dizzying array of aerial “loops” and whirling “McNasty’s” to top the men’s competition with 590 points. Second place went to 16-year-old junior freestyle world champion Jason Craig of Reno, 90 points behind, followed by Casper Van Kalmouth of the Netherlands. “It was probably the craziest finals I’ve ever participated in,” Urban said. “Changing water levels are always a factor in kayaking, but not quite to the extreme they were today. The wave was always changing. We were all figuring it out as we went.”
Perennial women’s champion and reigning women’s freestyle world champion Emily Jackson of Tennessee went from last to first in her final ride of the three-women women’s finals, notching 260 points to top Australian Tanya Faux’s 180 points. Paddling for Buena Vista’s Colorado Kayak Supply, Haley Mills finished third with 140…
SUP sprint: Hawaiian 15-year-old Noa Ginella was the top paddle surfer among the races’ 40 starters, riding the rising river down the technical 3.5-mile course in 18 minutes, 15.53 seconds.
Kayak sprint: Mike Dawson of New Zealand blazed the Gore Creek downriver race course in 15:38.34 to win. Faux finished first among the women in 16:23.21, two days after claiming the steep creek title on Class V Homestake Creek.
More coverage from Chris Freud writing for the Vail Daily. From the article:
The traditional judging area on the kayaker’s right was underwater. There were numerous course holds for large logs entering the hole, including a entire tree stump. And softballs hit from Ford Park are probably in Grand Junction by now. “The river was amazingly high,” Teva kayaking queen Emily Jackson said. “I’ve been here — what — six, seven years now, and never have I seen water this insane.”
“My whole plan basically went out the window because it was a new wave,” Buena Vista’s Dustin Urban said. But when all was said in done, you can pump the entire Pacific Ocean into the Gore and it won’t matter. Jackson owns the Gore and got her sixth-straight women’s win with a clutch third and final ride, while Urban won his second men’s crown in three years…
With high water, the freestyle finals became a completely different ball game. With the help of the bladders, the creek was rolling at 1,400 cubic feet per square inch (CFS) at the beginning of the women’s competition. A mere 45 minutes later, it was at 1,580 CFS for the men.
More whitewater coverage here.