Payette River Games
The 2015 Payette River Games has come to a close and what an event it was. From the amazing location in rural Idaho, overwhelming hospitality of the hosts and local community and the exciting, spectator friendly action on the river – the Payette River Games is truly a destination event unlike no other. I had the privilege of attending the games this year and the experience left a lasting impression to say the least. If you are considering attending or even a tad bit curious about whether or not you should add the event to your calendar next year, here are five reasons to consider which just might help tip the scales in favor of the world’s premier whitewater SUP competition.
- Scenic, intimate setting in Cascade Idaho. The ambiance and small town hospitality in Cascade, Idaho alone is enough to make the Payette River Games a destination event for families, recreational paddlers and top competitors. Kelly’s Whitewater Park is an amazing, spectator friendly venue for a whitewater SUP event. The park offers a controlled environment in which competitors can compete and test their skills and spectators are able to view the action from start to finish.
- Challenging and exciting competition. The river is a never-ending flow of challenges and opportunities which continually tests the skills of paddlers. Seasoned SUP paddlers compared paddling on the river to the ocean by stating on the ocean there is energy moving beneath your feet, whereas on the river there is moving water. As any of the competitors will readily tell you, it is not always the fastest paddler who makes it down the river the quickest, but the paddler who can accurately read the fast-moving water and go with the flow.
- The level of organization at the Payette River Games, from pre-event registration to the competition and everything in between, is top-notch. A sizeable cadre of event volunteers assist in guiding visitors and athletes from the parking lot through to lining up for each event – checking names and athlete bib numbers to professionally execute a first class event.
- Gourmet food vendors. Idaho’s best caterers are on hand to feed athletes and spectators with equal precision. Athletes eat for free so long as they continue to advance in the competition. If you enjoy good old-fashioned BBQ, you will not be disappointed. Pulled pork, tri-tip and chicken and a festive array of fresh, organic salads will suit the palate of even the most discerning guests. Breakfast is equally impressive and a host of additional vendors are on hand to provide regional beverages and delectable local treats.
- Spectator friendly. The controlled environment at Kelly’s Whitewater Park is tailor-made for visitors to comfortably sit and enjoy the on the water action. The rules for the whitewater racing are easily explained and understood. Together with the fact the action takes place right in front of your eyes, the Payette River Games is the most spectator friendly SUP event in the world. No where else can you get as up close to the action to shoot photos and cheer on the competition.