The stand up paddle boarding competitions were canceled in Vail due to low water but they're still on for Glenwood Springs this weekend, along with a Raft Trash Regatta and other river events at the Rocky Mountain Surf Festival.
Gypsum will have at least one representative in Ken Hoeve as he competes with pros from around the country. Last year's event included a group of Hawaiian athletes. Three-time national stand up paddle (SUP) champ Dan Gavere will return this year to defend his crown.
Competition won't be quite the same this year, however.
"In the past, the water has been higher, so the main difference this year will be that the surf wave is smaller," Hoeve said.
The national SUP championship normally includes a formal surf competition on the famous wave of the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park in addition to downriver and SUPcross races. Since the wave is too small for a surf comp this year, a CircleSUP event will replace it while an informal surfer/SUP/kayaker "expression session" will go on all day both days.
"This is a national competition with prize money, so we want to have an event that challenges competitors' skills and the wave isn't dynamic enough to do that this year, so we'll do a CircleSUP instead," said Paul Tefft, and organizer of the event.
In addition to the competitions and entertainment, Sunday also features the American Rivers Raft Trash Regatta.
The whitewater park, located immediately south of the West Glenwood Interstate 70 on/off ramps, will be the hub of the action throughout the weekend. Spectators can watch the action from a beer garden that opens at noon each day while a limbo contest and other activities add to the entertainment.
Parking is limited, however, and event goers are asked to park at the West Glenwood Springs Mall and walk or take a shuttle to the whitewater park. No pets are allowed.
Saturday's SUP downriver race starts at 10:30 a.m. and the SUPcross launches at 2 p.m.
SUPcross is a crash-and-burn event similar to boarder/skiercross races. Contestants will be seeded by their times in the downriver race and will compete in knock-out heats made up of four competitors. The entrants will line up at the launch site and with a mass start paddle upriver and around a gate then peal out into the main current. The race continues through the G-Wave and then the competitors have to eddy out in the swirling current and negotiate an upstream gate before charging downriver to the finish line.
At 4:30 p.m., there will be a GoofBoard (balance board) contest and SUPsquatch demos. A SUPsquatch is a multi-person stand up paddle board made by C4 Waterman.
Sunday's Trash Regatta involves raft teams floating from Two Rivers Park on the Colorado River down to the surf contest, picking up trash along the way, and costumes are encouraged (Polynesian-themed outfits are a plus but anything goes).
Regatta teams will meet at Two Rivers Park at approximately 11:30 a.m. They are also welcome to put in upriver at Shoshone or Grizzly Creek. From Two Rivers, the teams will cruise down the shoreline, scouring for trash. Trash will be unloaded at the whitewater park and prizes will be awarded for most trash "rescued," most unique items found and costumes. Interested raft regatta teams should contact EnviroAction Productions by emailing email@example.com or calling (970) 923-3955.
Meanwhile on Sunday, a SUPsquatch sprint is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Whitewater Stand Up Paddling Championship's culmination will be a CircleSUP event that involves a circular course around the water park. The first CircleSUP heat starts at 10 a.m. and finals are at 1:30 p.m. An awards ceremony for the overall SUP champions is at 5 p.m.
For more information on the events, visit www.rockymountainsurffestival.com/.