The North Fork Championship V began in Banks, Idaho, yesterday with the Kokatat Expert Division, a one mile downriver sprint on the lowest rapids of the North Fork Payette. The race also serves as a time trial to seed the elite kayakers and determine which wild card competitors join Saturday’s race.
In the expert division, Pedro Andrade Astorga placed first (7:06:99), Alec Voorhees second (7:12:80), Dane Jackson third (7:14:44) and Matias Lopez fourth (7:17:30).
Kayakers had microchips attached to their helmets, allowing them race down the river whenever they liked.
Today at 3 p.m. the BoaterX race will take place on S-Turn rapid about 12 miles north of Banks, and tomorrow at 1 p.m. is the Elite Division race, a timed giant slalom run through seven gates of class V+ whitewater on Jacob’s Ladder and Golf Course.
The list of 99 competitors in the North Fork Championship includes kayakers from the US, Canada, Chile, France, Slovenia, New Zealand, Mexico, Argentina, Ireland, the UK and Costa Rica. Fifteen women are competing this year—including Nouria Newman, Erin Clancey and Cheyenne Rogers—a record for the competition.
Each year the banks of the North Fork Payette just north of the town of Boise draw the top kayakers in the world to compete. Full results from the first day can be seen here.