Boise Weekly

The 'Superbowl' of Whitewater Kayaking Returns to Boise

The North Fork Championship and Whitewater Awards paddle back to the City of Trees

Alyza Lovenguth Jun 13, 2018 4:00 AM
For the second year in a row, Boise will host The Whitewater Awards, billed as the "Oscars of kayaking" at the Egyptian Theatre, while for the seventh year straight, hundreds of the planet's best kayakers will participate in the North Fork Championship.

“This event creates the opportunity to exhibit the sport’s greatest trips, moments and athletes—no matter the location in the world or time of year—are highlighted and celebrated by the entire outdoor industry,” said event spokesman Jesse Murphy.

The North Fork Championship takes place Thursday-Saturday, June 14-16, and the Whitewater Awards, an awards ceremony featuring river sports enthusiast-submitted photos and videos, is slated for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, at the Egyptian Theatre, officially kick-starting the championship.

Before the Whitewater Awards, athletes and videographers submit clips and short films, which are peer-reviewed by a panel of 200 kayakers. The panel anonymously selects the best entries, which will be announced over the course of the event. According to Murphy, the Whitewater Awards will have categories based on the best of whitewater kayaking: freestyle, waterfalls, expedition and river stewardship.

A live DJ will be incorporated as well as highlight reels from the best short films, giving the event an easygoing atmosphere.

The North Fork Championship itself is a world-renowned race that will be held on the North Fork of the Payette River, 50 miles north of Boise. Pros from more than 15 different countries will compete in the Class V rapids.

“As the event grows, the North Fork Championship will be putting Boise on the map,” Byrd said. “It’s basically the Superbowl for whitewater."

Locals can qualify to race among the internationally renowned on June 14, when 100 racers will participate. However, the Elite Race on June 16 will only have the best 20 remaining racers, who will launch off the NFC Red Bull Ramp into Jacob’s Ladder and Golf Course Rapids to compete for the title of King of the North Fork Championship. At the end of the Whitewater Awards, a "wild card unveiling" will reveal 10 racers who will join the Elite racers down Jacob's Ladder and Golf Course Rapids.

Tickets for the Whitewater Awards will start at $13 in advance and $15 at the door.

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