The Payette River Games
The Payette River Games put on an incredible whitewater event, setting the bar pretty high for others. The prize money was equal for both men and women with 1st place being $10,000!!! Believe it or not it’s hard to find competitions that pay equally for both sexes. For us that’s a big deal, as women, we bust our asses just as hard as the men to be the best athletes we can be, but because there aren’t as many of us (nudge to all you athletic ladies out there) we often times get shafted. With such a big payout the PRG’s attracted the attention of some of the best stand up paddle athletes in the world, some of which have never/or rarely paddle rivers. It was a stacked competition.
All the organizers took such good care of us. Every day you competed you got three beautifully cooked meals. There were hot tubs set up by the announcing booth for all the athletes. We had live music every night and free camping. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The announcers were great, Ken Hoeve did a great job in helping us get the word out for the film and we were able to pick up some extra support from sponsors, Body Glove being one of them.
The course was a huge challenge and it was difficult to find the perfect board for the sprint and cross. The sprint was a mile and a half and the first mile is all flat water. I’m terrible with flat water, it’s just not where I usually choose to paddle, to say the least it kicked my ass. I choose the Infinity ‘Cut Throat’ 12’6”. The bottom part of the course was more of what I was use to…punching through holes, crossing strong eddy lines, ferries, and buoy turns. The PRG did a good job with leveling the playing field for the ocean and river paddlers. It was a tough course for everyone involved, there was carnage, and for someone who choose to surf every day instead of train it was a REALLY tough course. If you progress to the last day you were doing the sprint and the cross every day for three days. Which in my opinion was too much, we all didn’t get a day to hang out and enjoy the games, everyone was pretty stressed so there was a lot of going to bed early and taking naps in-between races. I think everyone was physically and emotionally exhausted after it all.
The best part of the whole event was meeting everyone. This event brought so many paddlers together. I’d spoken to a lot of them but only in the virtual world and finally I was able to meet and get to know them. The ‘Surf Anywhere’ crew was there and it was a huge treat meeting these guys. They are sharing their knowledge with the world, trying to make the construction of world class river surf waves as easy as possible. Their slogan is “Build Waves. Build Community. Spread stoke.” which I’m pretty sure sums it all up. Visit their website http://www.surfanywhere.ca to see what you can do to help them. We also met Elijah Mack, the Godfather of River Surfing, who helped organize and put on the entire river surfing portion of the event. He’s a rad dude, with high-energy, and a willingness to do anything for his passion of surfing.
Huge thanks to the PRG’s for sponsoring our project and being huge supporters of female athletes and equal representation. We had a great time at the games and now it’s time for us to surf Idaho.