A kayaker paddles down the Jordan River. ~ Photo by Alex Cooper

Jordan River Race expands into whitewater festival

Jordan River Festival is three days of kayak races, clinics and more in Revelstoke

Since its inception, the Jordan River kayak race has been an informal, underground event, attracting a core group of kayakers to Revelstoke for a weekend of friendly competition.

This year, the event has gone above water and turned into a weekend of events celebrating Revelstoke’s whitewater kayaking scene.

“In the past it’s been thrown together as a nice little rogue, grassroots, just the Jordan race,” said lead organizer Katrina Van Wijk. “I value growing the whitewater community. I thought this would be a great opportunity to expand and have more intermediate and beginner races and get the community out to watch.”

The Jordan River Festival is being hosted by the Revelstoke Paddlesports Association, with Van Wijk and Koby Trinker leading the way. Van Wijk is a professional kayaker who has competed internationally and is the founder of TiTs Deep, a group that encourages women to push themselves in whitewater kayaking.

The festival is a four-day event running from Aug. 10–13, starting with a film night at the Bierhaus on Thursday, and followed by clinics and races for all levels, culminating with the Jordan River race.

On Friday, Van Wijk is offering an advanced women’s kayaking clinic in the afternoon. That will be followed by a fun beachball race down the Illecillwaet River, from the water tower to the Fourth Street bridge. Kayakers will compete in teams of three and the winner will be the first team to get their ball to the bridge.

“It’s full contact on the beachball,” said Van Wijk. “You can deflect other teams balls. Everyone goes at once. It’s hilarious.”

On Saturday, there’s advanced and beginner clinics in the morning. At noon, there will be an intermediate race on the Illecillewaet River near Albert Canyon. Van Wijk said there will be spots marked where people can pull off the Trans-Canada Highway to watch the race.

The Jordan River race takes place later that afternoon, with the racer meeting at 4 p.m. The race was started in 2012 by Kate Devine and 26 kayakers came out, competing in teams of two. The format has remained ever since, with kayakers going in pairs (for safety) down the final three falls and drops on the river. Van Wijk expects about 20 teams to take part — including her own all-women team. There will be places to watch the race along the river and a trail to the start of the race — a big waterslide in the river – will be marked starting from the base of Boulder Mountain.

Jordan River Race 2014 from FD Productions on Vimeo.

An after-party is planned for Saturday night, followed by group paddles for all levels on Sunday.

You can get all the details on the Jordan River Festival Facebook page.

“Its racking up to be a phenomenal weekend,” said Van Wijk. “There’s lots of kayakers around town training for the race.”

David Thompson Paddlesport Classic

The Jordan River Festival is the first of two busy weekends for the Revelstoke Paddlesports Association.

Next weekend, from August 18–20, the organization is hosting the David Thompson Paddlesport Classic — a three day, 125 kilometre race from Mica to Revelstoke.

The race will see participants paddle 42 kilometres from Mica to the Goldstream River on day one, 46 kilometres to Mars Creek on day two, and 37 kilometres to the 5-Mile boat launch on day three. It will be the longest self-propelled boat race in B.C. There will be two short portages each day.

There are paddlers from B.C., Alberta and Washington taking part, including a few from Revelstoke, and entry is open until August 14. They will be travelling by canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboard. The cost is $50 per paddler and includes a ticket to the awards dinner at the end.

Participants can race or simply enjoy the trip.

Complete details are available at paddlerevelstoke.ca.

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