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2015 Little White Salmon Race

Posted: 26.05.2015 BY Kim Hardin

The Little White holds some of the most pristine class V whitewater in the Northwest, possibly the entire West Coast, its rapids known worldwide: Gettin' Busy, Boulder Sluice, Island, Sacriledge, Double Drop, Enchanted Forest, S-Turn, Backender, Bowies, Wishbone, Horseshoe, Stovepipe, Spirit.

(Photo: Lee Timmons:


Racer's Safety Meeting  (Photo: Lane Jacobs)

Each year, World Class Kayak Academy puts on a race from Gettin' Busy to Wishbone, sending paddlers through over a dozen class V rapids solo or in teams of 2 or 3. This year, water levels were low, very low. So low, in fact that World Class moved the race up about a month, and even then there were questions if the race was a "Go". Despite these low levels, on race day, about 35 world-class racers showed up to put their paddling ability to the test, and navigate the waters of the Little White. While I had raced the Little White as a team two years previous, it was a goal of mine to race solo.

Yours Truly (Photo: Mountain Mind Collective)

To be completely honest, this goes against all that has been ingrained in me as a paddler. Never paddle solo on class V. There is safety in numbers, so to speak, or at least more resources on the water, if needed. It took a little bit of mental convincing, but come race day, it was on! I chose the Recon 70 as my boat of choice for its ability to hold a line, resurface quickly, and boof big.

Nicole Mansfield and Ali Z. cruising into Boulder Sluice (Photo: Cheyenne Rogers)

Racers started in the eddy below the Oregon Slot, at the start of Getting' Busy. Fifteen minutes later, we arrived in the eddy below Wishbone, hustling across the pool to an imaginary line. Of all the racers, there were NO swims, or carnage at all for that matter. Special thanks to World Class for putting together a rad event, and Discovery Bikes for hosting the after-party!

Cruising through S-Turn (Photo: Catherine Loke)

Ethan Smith & Dane Jackson: They've got Spirit! (Photo: Lee Timmons)

Gerd Serrasoles came out on top with a  time of 16:07, followed by Rush Sturges (16:21) and Dane Jackson (16.25). On the ladies front, I was the only solo racer, winning the day with a time of 19:37, while Ali Z & Nicole Mansfield rounded out the women's division in the team category and a time of 20:05. YEA LADIES!

Can't wait for next year!