Signature event returns to BV

Buena Vista’s yearly celebration and kickoff to the river season is here again. CKS Paddlefest offers a full lineup of whitewater, flat-water and land events for all ages and ability levels.

Event organizer and co-owner of Colorado Kayak Supply Megan Kingman is thrilled to host another Paddlefest. “The foundation of Paddlefest is ultimately about connecting people to paddling, so … what is fun and unique to our festival is all competitions are open to the public. …

“We offer demos at the town pond for all the new gear from 2018, and pretty much all the big names from the industry are bringing their product lines out. And down at South Main at the whitewater park we will have big names like Prana and Jackson with their fleet of new boats for the year for anyone to hop in and check out.

“The festival isn’t just about watching the pros do their thing. Anyone who wants to can take their shot at trying something new.”

Local company RMOC is in charge of the weekend’s instructional component, Kingman said. Though some of the pros from the sponsored teams in attendance will also be teaching some sessions, RMOC is running everything hat requires a permit through the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.

Brandon Slate, co-owner of RMOC, is excited to contribute to this year’s events. “Paddlefest is the kickoff to the paddle season in Colorado. It’s a great place for all paddlers. … I am definitely looking forward to the series we have. On Friday, it’s Intro to Kayaking; Saturday, it’s River Transitions; and Sunday, it’s Downriver Run. With that series you can be a competent boater by the end of the weekend.”

The competitive events include everything from kayak rodeo and a race through The Numbers to events for the less experienced, like Women’s Group Paddle and Race to the Grill. There are stand-up paddleboard events, instructional events and even technical events taught by some of the industry’s leading pro athletes.

Kingman shared her excitement about one young female athlete. At 12 years old, Abby Holcombe recently became the youngest kayaker to paddle the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. She and her parents, Peter and Kathy Holcombe, have embarked on a four-year journey across North America, spending around 250 days on the water each year. They will be presenting a multimedia slide show of their latest “Famagogo” experiences Sunday at the Buena Vista Community Center.

“We love that Paddlefest has a grassroots feel,” said Peter. “There is a lot going on all over town, and we couldn’t think of a better place than BV for the event. Even when Abby was 6 years old – kayaking – and we competed in Paddlefest, there were still events for her to do and ways for her to be a part. Now she is more competitive and our experience is always amazing. It keeps us coming back for more.”

More competitive is an understatement. Kingman said Abby is the current women’s freestyle kayaking junior national champion and, with maturity beyond her years, is blossoming in the women’s kayaking competition scene. She described Abby as the epitome of everything good in an outdoor enthusiast.

With the confidence found while growing up with a paddle in her hands, Abby will present her own story of conquering fears and reaching goals as she traversed the Grand Canyon in a kayak at Thursday night’s Women Adventure Film Series at The Watershed stage to benefit nonprofit organization ElevateHER.

Kathy added, “I think paddling brings our family together in a way that is pretty rare for families today. It’s quiet, unplugged time in nature that we can really focus on each other, enjoying the wilderness and pushing our personal abilities and growth as a family.”

Abby is the primary guest speaker kicking off the film series event that will entertain audiences with five films focused on climbing, SUPing, bouldering, kayaking and big mountain skiing. It is a family-friendly event that costs $15 for adults and $5 for students.

Kristen Van Norman is founder and event coordinator of ElevateHER’s young women’s outdoor adventure mentoring and holistic program. “The event is geared toward the community. We really wanted to show that despite opening up outdoor magazines or looking on social media and seeing primarily pictures of men, there are some amazing female athletes accomplishing really cool things alongside the guys,” Van Norman said about her vision for the film series.

Local young ladies involved in the organization will be volunteering for the evening’s screening. “I also wanted to give the young women who attend inspiration to push themselves past their comfort zones and to realize there is a community full of women to face their challenges with,” Van Norman added.

 

PADDLEFEST SCHEDULE

THURSDAY, MAY 24th

Time Event
7:30 p.m. Women Adventurers Film Series

 

FRIDAY, MAY 25th

LAND EVENTS

Time Event
2-6:30 p.m. Gear Swap Drop Off
10 a.m.-12 p.m. Random Doubles Prep Lap for Yucca Classic
4-7 p.m Vendor Village + Whitewater Demo Center
4-10 p.m. BV Town Party at The Beach
6-9:30 p.m. Shadow of Jaguar live at The Beach
7:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony at the South Main Stage
10 p.m.-2 a.m. Magic Beans live at The Lariat

 

FLATWATER EVENTS

Time Event
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. RMOC Kayak L1 Strokes and Balance
5-6 p.m. SUP Yoga

 

WHITEWATER EVENTS

Time Event
11 a.m. Informal Group Paddle
4:30-6 p.m. Kayak Rodeo: Pro Qualifying Round

SATURDAY, MAY 26th
LAND EVENTS

Time Event
9 a.m.-5 p.m. CKS Gear SWAP
9 a.m.-2 p.m. Yucca Classic
6-9:30 p.m. Durango Funk Allstars at the Beach
7:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony at the South Main Stage
10 p.m.-2 a.m. Dragondeer at The Lariat

FLATWATER EVENTS

Time Event
9-11 a.m. RMOC Kids Paddle at the Pond
9-10 a.m. SUP Yoga
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. RMOC Kayak L1 Strokes and Balance
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. RMOC SUP L1 Strokes and Balance
10-11a.m. SUP Yoga
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Kayak Stroke Clinic with Stephen Wright
10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. RMOC Roll Tune Up (every half hour)
Noon-1 p.m. Flatwater Play for Whitewater Stomping

WHITEWATER EVENTS

Time Event
ALL DAY RMOC L2 Essentials of River Kayaking
9 a.m.-12 p.m. Kayak Rodeo: Open Class Competition
10 a.m.-12 p.m. RMOC Playboating with Team JK
10 a.m.-12 p.m. Learn To Surf with Team Badfish
11 a.m. Informal Group Paddle
12-1 p.m. Kayak Rodeo: Cadets
1-2 p.m. Kayak Rodeo: Juniors
2-4 p.m. Kayak Rodeo: Pro Semi-Finals
4-6 p.m. Kayak Rodeo: Pro Finals
5-6 p.m. SUPhill-Downhill

 

SUNDAY, MAY 27th

LAND EVENTS

Time Event
8:15 a.m. Spirit Trail Run: 8K and Half Marathon
9 a.m.-5 p.m. CKS Gear SWAP
12:30-3 p.m. Ponder the Albatross live at The Beach
1 p.m.-4 p.m. Kids and Adult Open Rock Climbing Competitions
3:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony at the South Main Stage
6 p.m. Holcombe Famagogo Slideshow
9:30 p.m. Adrian Conner SpazKitty Trio live at The Lariat

 

FLATWATER EVENTS

Time Event
9-11 a.m. RMOC Kids Paddle at the Pond
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. RMOC Kayak L1 Strokes and Balance
10-11 a.m. SUP Yoga
10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. RMOC Roll Tune Up (every half hour)
12-1 p.m. Flatwater Play for Whitewater Stomping
3 p.m. Buoy Bonanza

 

WHITEWATER EVENTS

Time Event
ALL DAY RMOC L2 Essentials of River Kayaking
8:30 a.m. Clauson Numbers Raft Race
9-11 a.m. Numbers Kayaking Race
9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Essentials of River SUP with Team Badfish
9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. RMOC L3 Kayak Basic River Running
11 a.m. Informal Group Paddle
12 p.m. Women’s Group Paddle
1-4:30 p.m. RMOC Creeking Clinic w/Team Pyrahna
2 p.m. Race to the Grill Practice Lap
2 p.m. Badfish River Surf Comp

 

MONDAY, MAY 28th

LAND EVENTS

Time Event
9-11a.m. River Clean Up

 

WHITEWATER EVENTS

Time Event
12-2 p.m. Race to the Grill