Sage Donnelly 07/10/2017 | Posted in Creeking, Event Coverage, Events, Nirvana, rivers, Video, Whitewater, WW Disciplines
For years now, my family and I have been making the 3.5 hour haul from Carson City to the Feather River Canyon near Chico, California, for one of my favorite events of the year, the Feather River Festival. I have always had a deep bond with the canyon. My dad and I would drive over almost every week in the winter when I was younger and run low flow Lobin and Tobin to perfect our creeking skills. I learned how to boof and gained a lot of boat control during those months so I am always very excited to come back to a river I know so well. This year was extra special because I was able to share all of this with my (very new to creeking) boyfriend. He’s a slalom paddler from Australia who has never really creeked and I was super excited to get him out on one of the best intro to creeking rivers in the US. After picking him up from the airport Friday, we drove into the canyon, sadly missing the Friday release, but I quickly made a plan for the next day to get lines from the creek race dialed and boat as much as possible. In the morning, I snuck a quick lap on the class 5 section (Tobin) to dial in my race lines. I also got to use my brand new, beautiful, orange Nirvana for the first time! I had already used the Nirvana once at the Gopro Mountain Games, where the fast, easy to paddle boat helped me get a 3rd place with a broken wrist, but this was my first time in my own boat and it was awesome! It was everything I remembered and more! The bow plowed through everything without stalling out and it boofed like a dream. After my hot lap, we sprinted back up the river to get ready for the slalom race. Our expert race organizer Keith, was super nice and started the slalom early for the people racing Tobin as well. Lachlan and I quickly got our K1 and C1 runs in and then sped back down to the Tobin race put in. I had about 45 minutes before my run so I had plenty of recovery time and was bouncing off the walls before my start. Finally, it was time for my run! The Nirvana was a dream on a longer race course, making it really easy to have maximum efficiency with minimal power. I had a fast, smooth run and right after, I grabbed Lachlan to get him out on the class 4 section (Lobin). We outfitted him in a spare medium Zen and headed out. He killed it, even figuring out the edges of the boat within two rapids and we boofed everything (of course)! Then after one more Lobin lap, we headed up to Tobin to get Lachlan out on his first class 5! He styled everything and after one more Lobin lap, it was pretty late so we decided to call it a day and rest/wait for awards that night. I ended up taking first in Women’s short boat on the Tobin race and having the two fastest times overall in both my K1 and C1. Huge thanks to American Whitewater for helping us get releases on all of these amazing rivers and for another awesome Feather Fest!