Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival Trip Report

by Zachary Collier

This last weekend our guides competed in the 28th Annual Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival (also known as "Clack Fest"). The festival is an annual gathering of the whitewater community for whitewater races and boating education. One of the biggest perks is the wide variety of people who come to compete and spectate, including some of the industry's biggest names.

Zach Byars vying for Wilson the ball in the cataraft volleyball competition

During the time we were off the water, we made our rounds at all the booths including SOTAR Inflatables, Immersion Research, Maravia, NRS, Aire, and Blunt Family Paddles.

When we were on the water, we entered several events and came out pretty darn well (if we say so ourselves). We entered a team in the recreational R-6 (6 person raft) division and won all 4 races in the series! Here's a list of races our guides won:

1st Place Oar Boat Slalom
1st Place R-6 Slalom
1st Place R-6 Sprint
1st Place R-6 Head to Head
1st Place R-6 Downriver
2nd Place R-2 Slalom
1st Place Inflatable Kayak Slalom
1st and 2nd Place Inflatable Kayak Mass Start
1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place Hardshell Kayak BoaterX
1st and 3rd Place Cataraft Slalom

We even won a few prizes (or paddles) to show for our hard work

Our favorite event was definitely the Inflatable Kayak Mass Start. Nothing beats this sprint race. Bright colored kayaks go head to head in a show of carnage as they try to make it through the same 2 gates in order to qualify. The first kayak to make it through both gates and reach the bottom of the rapid wins. Here's some video of this year's race taken from a GoPro helmet cam.

Then of course, we got the chance to play around on the water. When we weren't going head to head in races, we took the time to try out some fun watercraft.

Billy Miller plays around in Carter Bridge rapid in one of the smallest rafts ever

Overall, the weekend was a great way to enjoy the river in the company of others who feel the same. Thanks so much to all our awesome guides and even a few clients who showed up to support us. We can't wait to get back to the Clack next year!


Zachary Collier

Zach is the owner of Northwest Rafting Company and has led groups throughout the U.S. as well as Siberia, Bhutan, Nepal, Honduras, and Chile. His passion for wilderness shines through how he runs both his trips and his company. He's as confident on the oars as he is on the chess board, while he delivers a truly memorable experience in the most amazing places on the planet.

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