Animas River Days 2015

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After becoming newly adopted into Brooke’s van, we began our drive down through Colorado to Durango. Of course with a short stopover in Denver to check out some fresh high water waves we heard rumor about.
We arrived the day before the event and had fun playing in the Animas play park checking out the features. From the moment we arrived we got the pleasure of experiencing an impressively friendly atmosphere and so much stoke in the outdoors community.

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Day one started off at the mechanics for too many hours getting new brakes and rotors after a dodgy drive into town through some steep terrain. Once the car was sorted and we moved out of the mechanics we made our way to the Whitewater Park. Freestyle was the only event on today for us so we trained midday when the water was at a nice level. Unfortunately by the time our prelims began the water had dropped enough to make the feature a lot less friendly. This was just a reseeding for us fortunately so we all made it on through to the next day.

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The next day was a big one. We woke up “before the sun!” according to Brooke and made our way to the slalom that we thought started at 8am. At the official start time of 8.30am we began. Luckily this gave us time for a practice lap. Both Brooke and I raced in her trusty pink Zen small against many glass boats and managed to take out 2nd and 3rd places on the podium!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next event was the boater cross. Brooke and I both won our first heats racing in Zen’s once again, as they were an obvious boat choice for us. In finals there was some good crashing and a tight finish with Brooke taking the gold, and me placing 2nd. In the men’s Mathieu won his first round in the small Zen, but when it came to finals it was a tight battle and he unfortunately got knocked one place behind to finish 2nd.

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After this we took a quick rest before Rachel and I made our way to Walmart to prepare for the Inflatable Rodeo. After a longer than necessary, exciting Walmart experience we ventured back to the river to set up our craft. Our theme was Viking sacrifice and I’m sure pictures will speak for themselves. Unfortunately I don’t have the best ones but many a person from the event will! As everyone seemed to want photos with us geared up. We rode a seahorse into the infamous Corner pocket, with banana Viking horns on our helmets and swords, axes and shields in hand!
Unfortunately somehow we got third even though the crowd appeared to love us the most…

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Immediately following this was Freestyle finals. With the water soo much higher and the wave flushier we changed up the format and had a 15minute round robin freestyle jam to rack up moves on the score sheet. This was awesome fun and made even cooler as it was a night final under the lights and stars. Nicola Beeby took the win, followed by Brooke in 2nd who threw down some awesome moves, then me in 3rd and Rachel in 4th. In the men’s pro finals Mathieu threw down some epic tricks and some of the biggest air to take the win in the new 2016 Rockstar.

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This was it for the festival and all that was left were the after party. It was a super fun night out and last chance to hang out with the awesome people of Durango and some of the other travelers. I’m stoked we made the journey out for such an epic event and to anyone who has never been there but considered it, I’m telling you know its worth making it happen.

Courtney Kerin

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