Big Money Finals Underway At Payette River Games


The Payette River Games, the biggest money event in whitewater history, is being hosted this weekend in the small town of Cascade, Idaho. The venue, Kelly’s Whitewater Park has become an epicenter for river lovers and outdoor folk from a variety of backgrounds. Not only does this highly regarded event invite some of the world’s best kayakers, it also attracts SUP athletes, surfers, rafters, and volleyball players—the event has almost every summer activity you can imagine.

The crowds came in waves on Saturday and at the hottest point in the day, the crowd was bustling—the weather was perfect to watch preliminary events in men’s and women’s SUP-cross races, freestyle kayaking, and river surfing.

Occasionally a massive SUP carrying six people made the attempts at paddling whitewater to entertain the crowd. During the middle of the day the surfers took the stage, and one in particular was inspiring to watch. Derek Rabelo, a blind surfer from Brazil, made the crowd go wild as he stood up and surfed the main feature in the Men’s Surf Open event.

A dip in the warm waters of the North Fork of the Payette River, running through Kelly’s Whitewater Park, is cooling for both the athletes competing and the spectators filling the amphitheater-style riverside seating.

What makes the Payette River Games so special is how many different people from different backgrounds assemble in Cascade to celebrate their sports, and multiple countries and states are represented. Competitive and recreational athletes with different backgrounds are introduced to new ways to enjoy the river—SUP paddlers gathered to watch play-boaters in their heats and vice-versa.

Today (Sunday) the finals of each event will highlight the top athletes in each niche. Competition aside, it’s a prime display of our sport at its best—the Payette River Games are a celebration of competition, diversity and inspiring athletes in the watersports world.

Watch a live stream of Sunday’s finals at


John Webster is a professional adventure photographer based in Boise, Idaho. He has a degree in Communication with an emphasis on video from Boise State University. Passionate about the outdoors, John shares his experiences through the medium of digital photography. You can check out his work or at Webster Media House on Facebook.


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