With rainfall doubling the flow of New York’s Moose River, the MooseFest race finale to the Whitewater King of New York point series lived up to its wild reputation as the last big paddling event the year for Northeast paddlers.
Canoeing icon Ralph Frese died December 10 in a hospice overlooking the Chicago River’s East Branch. He was 86 years old. The proprietor of Chicagoland Canoe Base began paddling in a canvas-covered kayak on the Illinois River when he was a teenager. By the time he was 24, Frese was mass-producing canoes for his local Boy Scout troop, and in 1967 he paddled voyageur canoe replicas from Chicago to the World’s Fair in Montreal. In 1973 he retraced Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette’s 3,000-mile 1673 expedition.
Mood took on 41 other competitors assembled from Hobie’s far-flung pro staff network to become winner of the second annual Hobie Fishing World Championship, the first held on U.S. shores. They came for a not-so-traditional Texas fishing throw down centered on an American angling obsession, the largemouth bass.
The athletes kicked off the second annual Whitewater Grand Prix race yesterday with the first whitewater enduro stage on the Rio Gol Gol. They raced against the clock on a nearly one mile-long stretch of class V whitewater, navigating not only extremely technical rapids, but also several 15-20 foot waterfalls.
If you caught Vavinec Hradilek’s silver-medal performance at this summer’s Olympic Games, you witnessed one of the world’s most dynamic slalom paddlers lay down a near-perfect run. But you probably missed the 25-year-old Czech’s clever shout-outs to his steep-creeking buddies.