Kieran Knowles paddles in the slalom race. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Paddlers deliver the goods at Whitewater Rodeo on Yukon River

Oli Roy-Jauvin wins three divisions

If ever the Rotary Centennial Bridge were to buckle under excessive weight, it would be during the Whitehorse Whitewater Rodeo.

Scores of spectators lined the railing of the footbridge, heads bowed, watching paddlers below perform aquatic acrobatics, at the annual Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club event on Aug. 17.

There were loops, spins, cartwheels, and other more colourful named tricks like the phonics monkey and space Godzilla.

“I grew up here, grew up paddling with all these guys, so I like to come out to this event every time,” said Whitehorse’s Oli Roy-Jauvin. “It’s just great to see the whole paddling community out and have a little bit of competition. We don’t get to do that often.”

Roy-Jauvin was the big winner this year, paddling off with three titles in his boat. The 27-year-old won the downriver race, the slalom race, and the advanced freestyle kayak competition for his first time.

“I’m pretty happy about that one,” said Roy-Jauvin. “I wasn’t really competitive. I was just out to have fun with my friends tonight.”

As always, Kalin Pallett emceed the event, encouraging the crowd to cheer on competitors, and kayakers to paddle hard in their stubby freestyle watercraft as they got washed off the manmade wave.

Also as usual, Yukon Energy helped out by letting more water through its dam to boost the waves for the competition on the Yukon River.

“We were very fortunate to have such nice weather and I think it makes people enjoy it overall,” said organizer Megan Seiling. “There were a lot of people standing on the bridge and spectating, which is nice to see. We didn’t have really high numbers this year, but there was still a good turnout, which was nice.”

A little over 20 paddlers took part in their year’s rodeo, which also included boogie board and freestyle canoe competitions.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

Results

Boogie board (youth)

1st Luanda Provonost

2nd Hazel Lewis

3rd Felicity Vangel

Boogie board (adult)

1st Alex Jessup

2nd Will O’Brian

3rd Lyndsay Patanaude

Freestyle canoe

1st Trevor Braun

2nd Pelly Braun

3rd Brian Groves

Freestyle kayak (intermediate)

1st Merick Moritz

2nd Kieran Knowles

3rd Nadine n/a

Freestyle kayak (advanced)

1st Oli Roy-Jauvin

2nd Jason Zrum

3rd Luke Morris

Downriver race

1st Oli Roy-Jauvin

2nd Will O’Brian

3rd Luke Morris

Slalom race

1st Oli Roy-Jauvin

2nd Connor Oliver-Beebe

3rd Luke Morris

 

Joel Krahn/Yukon News Kieran Knowles paddles in the slalom race.

Waves splash over the Connor Oliver-Beebe during a slalom heat. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News

Waves splash over the Connor Oliver-Beebe during a slalom heat.

Paddlers go overboard in the raft race, where competitors must flip their boat at least once before the finish line.

Lyndsay Patanaude enters the wave during the boogie board event.

Luanda Provonost fights the current in a slalom race.

Luke Morris looks skyward after getting flushed from the spin wave.

Oliver Roy-Jauvin aims for a gate in the slalom.

Joel Krahn/Yukon News A Brendan Zrum rolls into the spin wave in the advanced freestyle kayak competition.