Date(s) - 03/25/2018
Riverhouse Hotel & Convention Center
Bend Oregon’s Annual Riverhouse Rendezvous Deschutes River Slalom Kayak Race returns: Spring is upon us!
Racers and spectators alike will be stoked to hear the Bend Oregon 9th annual Riverhouse Rendezvous Slalom Race is staged for March 25th. A collaboration by locally owned paddle outfitters Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, the League of Northwest Whitewater Racers (LNWR), Riverhouse Resort and Webcyclery, the Rendezvous will include four events over two days and benefits the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance. Originally a slalom race in the 70’s, the Rendezvous was resuscitated nine years ago by Geoff Frank (Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe founding partner and owner) and Bert Hinkley (Pacific Northwest representative for the National Whitewater Slalom Committee).
Whitewater slalom kayaking has been a sport since the 1940s, when Swiss alpine skiers embraced the runoff from the mountains to race the rivers in their off-season. Today, this sport is known world-wide 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 course is run on a popular section of the Deschutes River behind the Riverhouse Hotel, at 3065 N Hwy 97, Bend, OR 97701. As the season’s opener for the Northwest Cup Slalom Paddle Series and a Junior Olympic qualifier, the Rendezvous is also an opportunity for local whitewater enthusiasts to celebrate navigable flow levels before canal diversions are made in April.
Frank says long term he hopes to see gates set up for the Rendezvous a month in advance which would allow for a whitewater city league. “This race event has much potential to be the crescendo of a four week period of running river drills, refining whitewater technique, celebrating kayaking and high flows on the river. Besides racing, Rendezvous festivities will be a great time for spectators to watch, kayakers to progress their river skills in clinics and for those interested to learn more about local rivers.”
Bowerman adds, slalom kayaking is, “one of the most fundamentally grounding types of kayaking for an aspiring whitewater boater. People who learn slalom are consistently honed whitewater paddlers because they have such good kayak skills. Eric Jackson of Jackson Kayaks is a great example of this.”
Riverhouse Rendezvous Deschutes River Slalom Kayak Race Schedule:
March 20, 10am- Course Construction
March 21-24, Training;
March 24th- Final Course Design
10am- Technique Clinic
March 25, 10am- Session one slalom race;
12:30pm- Session two slalom race
3-4pm- Course take down
Entry Fee: Adults $25, $20 for ACA Members
Juniors $15, $10 for ACA Members
Lodging: Guests can call the Riverhouse for discounted rate. Refer to the Riverhouse Rendesvouz slalom race. 541.389.3111.
About Rendezvous collaborating organizations:
The LNWR is an organization of northwest boaters devoted to promoting slalom and downriver racing in the Pacific Northwest. Volunteers organize the races which are sponsored by local paddling clubs in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho and Montana. Hinkley explains the challenges of Whitewater slalom saying, “Being fast and clean (negotiating the course without touching gates) isn’t easy. Athletes demonstrate a dance of precision and speed in fragile carbon-fiber boats on powerful whitewater.”
The Bend Paddle Trail Alliance is a non-profit which actively promotes and works to establish a navigable paddle trail within Deschutes County that enhances river and lake recreation and appreciation for a wide variety of recreational water enthusiasts while promoting water safety, education and stewardship.
With locations in Bend and Sunriver, Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe is truly the epicenter of paddle sports in Central Oregon. Offering a full range of paddle equipment for purchase or hire they compliment their retail selection with the region’s best paddle instruction. In addition to hosting local cult-classic events, including the Pickin’ & Paddlin’ summer concert series, Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe has made river stewardship central to their mission by donating 5% of profits to conservation focused organizations.