Photos by Adam Elliott

With the right to claim the “U.S. team” title up for grabs, both of the men’s and the women’s reigning national raft teams defended their long-standing positions as the country’s top R-6 race squads at this weekend’s Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival outside Portland, Oregon. The festival, celebrating its 28th year, had healthy flow of 3,500 cfs to host its regular slew of raft, cataraft, drift boat and kayak boatercross and slalom events, including the ever-quirky Cat V Ball event where catarafts maneuver downriver with a volleyball between their tubes. This year, the festival hosted the 2011 US Rafting Association National Rafting Championships, which included head-to-head sprint, slalom and downriver events on the same river section. The winning teams, both from Colorado’s Vail Valley, earned the right to compete for the U.S. in the International Rafting Federation World Rafting Championships this October in Costa Rica. The US Teva men’s team won ahead of fellow Colorado competitor, the Ark Sharks, followed by the Oregon Rafting Team in third. Likewise, on the women’s side the U.S. Teva women‘s team edged out another Colorado team, the Red Ladies, in a thrilling downriver finish, with Oregon’s Women of Whitewater in third.  — DS