2nd Annual Riverhouse Rendezvous Slalom No. 2 will take place March 28, 2010 at 10 a.m. in the Deschutes River behind the Riverhouse Convention Center and Hotel in north Bend. Throughout the day, paddlers divided by age group, type of boat and gender will test their skills and endurance on the quarter-mile whitewater course.
Central Oregon – where the mountain snow is transformed into gushing whitewater play parks every spring – is known world-wide as a great destination for the whitewater kayaker, and slalom racing has been a part of this tradition in Bend since the 70s.
Last year, kayak enthusiasts Bert Hinkley (Pacific Northwest representative of the National Whitewater Slalom Committee), and Geoff Frank (owner, Alder Creek Kayak and Canoe) worked together to revive the Riverhouse Rendezvous whitewater kayak slalom race, this time in it’s fourth re-incarnation. Drawing top paddlers from Oregon and Washington, the race is part of the Northwest Cup slalom paddle series and is a Junior Olympic qualifier.
“We were happy for such a great turn out last year,” said Hinkley. “It was especially great to see so many Bend locals come and race their recreation boats.”
Whitewater slalom kayaking as been a sport since the 1940s, when Swiss alpine skiers embraced the runoff from the mountains to race the rivers on their off-season. Today, this spectator-friendly sport is known to test not only the physical skill of paddlers, but their knowledge of the river and their ability to use currents and river features to their advantage.
“The Riverhouse is such an amazing venue to have a race like this because spectators can watch the paddlers up close,” said Hinkley. “Usually we are out in the middle of the woods somewhere.”