What I love the most about
kayaking is that it enables me to travel the world, see new places and meet new
people. But it is always nice to come
home and going to US, especially Colorado, really feels like coming home. In Colorado I stay with Max Karlsson's family
and they have really become a second family.
So I was really looking forward coming "home" to Colorado as
the snowpack was huge and the run off was going to be EPIC.
First event on the Colorado Tour was The Golden
Games in Golden, CO. The Golden Games is
a smaller local event that attracts the best paddlers from the Denver area
competing in freestyle and creeking on Clear Creek . The water level was not optimal as the run
off had not quite yet started, but the laid back atmosphere of the event made
up for it.
The first big event on the Colorado Tour was CKS
Paddlefest in Buena Vista, which not only attracts Colorado's best freestyle
paddlers but also some of the best paddler's in the world like the Jacksons,
Demshitz, Mathieu Dumoulin of France, Tomasz Czaplicki of Poland and many
more. What makes this event interesting
is that since CKS is the largest kayak retailer in Colorado, every brand known
to man was on display.
The next event on the Colorado Tour was Lyons
Outdoor Games which normally is a big event.
But due to the Colorado flooding last year which devastated the town,
there were doubts that they would even hold the event. I am really glad the town decided to hold the
event as I hope it was a boost to their recovery as the kayaking community has
rallied to support the town of Lyons in their recovery.
After Lyons we went to Vail and the GoPro Mountain
Games which is my favorite event on the Colorado Tour. The reason for this is that 50,000 people
descend on the beautiful town of Vail to celebrate outdoors activities such as
kayaking, climbing, mountain biking, slack-lining and more. The GoPro Mountain Games did not disappoint
as we had huge crowds at the events, even though the weather did not cooperate
First In Boating Arkansas, in Salida, CO is the oldest whitewater festival in
the US and this year the event turned 66 years old. As an athlete this is another fantastic event
as the crowds are HUGE. The really high
water level made the freestyle event even more to my liking as what normally is
a hole becomes more a wavy hole. Sadly I didn't get the chance to compete as
I had to head back to Boulder and sort out my Visa!
As soon as FIBArk was over, we drove back to Maxs
parents house and stayed there for a day to prepare for the 14 hour drive to
Cascade, ID and the Payette River Games.
The PRG has only existed for 3 years, but they have definitely set the
gold standard when it comes to putting on an event. They have an incredible feature which
consists of a hole and a wave so you can throw any move in the book. The prize money is HUGE and nothing else in
the world comes even close. They way
they treat the athletes as well as the fans is just incredible. They even streamed the events online allowing
my family to watch me though I am thousands of miles away. it was great to
place 6th against a huge stack of men! I
just cannot say enough good things about this event and I cannot wait to come
back next year.
Now I am in Spain competing in the World Cups.
[Brandon Hepburn, from Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire was British Junior Kayaking Champion last year. Aquapac is a proud sponsor]