|Is Gerd Serrasolses Male Paddler of the Year?
Words by Rick Sheremeta; Photos by Rick & Dody Sheremeta
Memorial Day Weekend sees the sleepy hamlet of Bigfork, Mont., awaken from its winter slumber. It's the time that thousands descend on this peaceful village, nestled between the shores of beautiful Flathead Lake and the mighty snow capped Swan Mountains, to witness one of the classic whitewater races in the nation.
This year marks the 39th anniversary of the Bigfork Whitewater Festival where a host of some 90 competitors including international and world-class athletes ply the Class IV-V "Wild Mile" section of the Swan River vying for glory and prize money of $5,000.
Event number five of 10 in the Western Whitewater Championship series, which combines kayak, raft, and cataraft races throughout Washington, Oregon, California, and Montana, the two-day Bigfork competition consisted of an Upper River Slalom on Saturday, for kayakers, combined with Giant Slalom and Downriver races on Sunday for both kayakers and 4-man rafts. The top three finishers in each event received award with an overall champion crowned in each division based upon combined results for all events. This year's men's Champion was Spain’s Gerd Serrasolses with the women's title claimed by Ali Casas, and Chile’s Equipo Cascada winning the Rafting title.