Vail teams seventh at rafting Worlds
TURRIALBA, Costa Rica – After three days of tight competition at the World Rafting Championships on Costa Rica’s Pacuare River, the overall title remained up for grabs on the final day’s downriver race, with seven men’s teams and five women’s still capable of winning the overall crown.
With ninth-place finishes in the sprint and slalom events and a fifth in the head-to-head, even the Teva United States men’s team still had a shot at the title, as did the U.S. women’s team, who had tallied a fourth in sprint, seventh in head-to-head and fifth in slalom. But it was a day for Japan, with both the men’s and women’s teams stroking to victory on the Class V upper Pacuare, earning the men’s team the overall title for the first time in history and the women a second-place overall showing.
“The water levels cooperated great,” said event organizer and host Rafael Gallo. “Rains brought the water up for yesterday’s slalom, and it dropped back down again today for us to hold the downriver portion.”
While they had all the best intentions of bettering their sixth-place showing from the last world championships two years ago in Bosnia, and third-place overall finish from Ecuador in 2005, the Americans – mostly guides for Vail’s Timberline Tours — could only paddle to a seventh-place finish overall.
The U.S. team, led by Chris “Mongo” Reeder, saw its best result in the head-to-head event, where it finished 5th.
“We hoped we’d do better,” says Reeder, whose team now sets its sights on the next Worlds in 2013. “But there are a lot of great teams from other countries. Japan had a first, second, third and fifth-place showing, and is paddling really well.”
Taking second overall for the men was the Czech Republic, with Slovenia finishing third.
The Teva US women’s team, also out of the Vail area, also finished seventh place overall, behind the Czech Republic in first, Japan in second and the Netherlands in third.
“It was a great event,” says women’s team member Sarah Hamilton. “We could have won it with a strong finish today, but Japan and the Czechs paddled a really great race. Our team hasn’t paddled together very long so we’ll be back even stronger next time.”
The event had 29 men’s teams and 19 women’s teams from 34 countries.