Tag Archives: competition


This post was originally published at: https://jacksonkayak.com/blog/2019/06/24/kayaking-competitions-fun-families/

We are not a competitive family in terms of competing with those outside our family. Competition inside the family is a different story and a great motivator to learn new skills in all areas of our lives.

We first got involved with kayaking competitions when Hunter was 9. He was intrigued with entering our local kayak rodeo along with his friends but not really certain about the competition part of things. To make it more fun we decided that I (Mom) would enter and we would just compete against each other and not worry about anyone else. That was the first of many times that he has beaten me in freestyle, downriver and ocean surfing competitions.

Our first downriver race was the Race to the Grill at CKC Paddlefest in Buena Vista, Colorado. It is a super family friendly event on a class 2 run that ends at a beach bar. We lined up one after the other with a 30 second gap between paddlers, with Hunter first and me following. He was motivated not to have me catch him and I was motivated to catch him. The chase was on. This is a 20+ minute race where you paddle the entire time and this set up kept us both paddling hard the entire time. We both had podium results but the more important part was the fun that we had out on the river together. We’ve used this strategy in a number of other races and the results were the same – we challenged ourselves, we challenged each other, and we created amazing memories.

Our other biggest learning about kayak competitions is to think of them more as participation than competition. We are coming out to have fun on the river with friends and family. We set goals – either to do a certain trick, beat a certain time or beat each other – and then see if we can achieve them. We have met sooo many great people by showing up at various kayaking “competitions” and choosing to participate. It exposes you to the amazing paddlesports environment and provides you with an opportunity to experience some beautiful parts of what ever country you are in.

We definitely recommend that families get involved in their local paddling festivals and competitions as a way to have fun, grow and learn together. 

The Vincent Family




Whitehorse Star: Hunter Vincent represents Yukon at GoPro Mountain Games

Hunter Vincent represents Yukon at GoPro Mountain Games

He’d never paddled this section of washed out class II-III whitewater,

By Marissa Tiel on June 13, 2017

He’d never paddled this section of washed out class II-III whitewater, but that didn’t stop 13-year-old Hunter Vincent from suiting up and paddling all-out for just under 20 minutes against some of the world’s best paddlers.

Last Saturday, armed with some second-hand intell about the run, a river-running kayak and his trusty fiberglass paddle, the young kayaker was off like a shot from the put-in, chasing down the paddlers in front of him during the Coors Light Down River Kayak Sprint.

One of the youngest to compete, Vincent said he was happy with his final placing – 26th out of 32 men.

With open categories, Vincent was racing the likes of Spaniard Gerd Serrasolses, Dane Jackson, Nicholas Troutman and Tad Dennis. One, an Olympian, and the rest all at the top of their game with some world champion titles.

“I paddled as hard as I could for the length of the course and tried to catch the paddlers in front of me while also trying not to be passed by others,” said Vincent in an email.

Yesterday, the family of three – mom, Lee, and dad, Tim – parked their R.V. at Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Idaho, where they’re spending some time playing on the river and discovering new runs.

This was Vincent’s first time competing at the GoPro Mountain Games, a festival of sports that takes over the mountain villages for three days to celebrate outdoor sports, art and music.

While Vincent spent his last summer in Whitehorse at the playhole upstream of the Centennial Bridge almost every day, the teen opted to compete only in the downriver sprint race.

“The freestyle hole in Vail was really pushy and levels were changing throughout the day which made it hard to get consistent with tricks,” he said.

“Right now I am a stronger downriver paddler than freestyle competitor so we decided that I would compete in downriver this year and aim to do both categories next year when I am stronger.”

The downriver run on Gore Creek was swollen with new runoff from the hot weather. While many of the features were washed away, Vincent said that you had to watch out for sweepers hanging over the side of the river.

After four miles with 129 feet of elevation loss, Vincent stopped the clock at 19 minutes, 27.64 seconds.

He finished only 2:31 behind Serrasolses, the top racer.

“I was exhausted, but also happy,” said Vincent of his finish.

He misjudged the finish and had a little gas left in the tank so he is looking forward to another shot against the big guns next year.

Though it would be easy for a young paddler to get intimidated sharing eddies with world champions and national team members, Vincent has enjoyed the experience. The GoPro Mountain Games race was just his second open competition.

In Buena Vista, Colo. he also competed against the best in the world.

“I’ve found them all to be so friendly and supportive when you say ‘hi,’ or ask for tips and suggestions,” said Vincent.

“That really helped me not be overwhelmed by competing against all these amazing top paddlers.”

Last weekend, the Vincents parked their home about 20 minutes outside of Vail.

Lee said it gave them the best of both worlds: “The busy, active games and the peaceful mountain valley.”

She said the festival was very family-oriented.

“There seemed to be kids and families competing in every sport and it’s definitely something that I would recommend for other families.”

After a marathon drive up to Idaho, the Vincents are now on tap for some play time at Kelly’s Whitewater Park and plan to run some new rivers in the area as well.

In early July, they will head back into Canada for a short while for Vincent to attend a slalom paddling camp with the Alberta team.

Beyond the camp, the family isn’t sure where they will go next, but with their home on wheels and a sense of adventure not easily dulled, they will certainly end up on a road not often travelled.


Hobuck Hoedown – Surf Kayak Event


The Hobuck Hoedown is an annual surf kayak event held in Hobuck Bay in the furthest corner of Northwestern Washington state. It is organized by Olympic Raft and Kayak and Morgan and Maggie are the passion behind it.

It is an old school event that is all about community, competition and fun. It was a wonderful place for our first Surf Kayak competition experience with a low key atmosphere and incredibly supportive people (organizers, judges, and participants).

hunter SUP 2

There were multiple classes within the event – High Performance, International Class, Waveski, Whitewater, Stand-up Paddleboard and Raft. We initially entered Hunter into Whitewater, Stand-up paddleboard and Raft. After testing out the Stand-up paddle board he opted out of that event as it was a bit too wieldy for his size.

Hunter and Tim surfed throughout the morning while waiting for his heat just after lunch. Tim managed to demo about 6 boats over the course of the weekend but never found “the one” that would justify buying yet another boat because it was that much better than using his Jackson whitewater boats.

Tim Mega demo - morgans boat

Hunter had a bout of nerves just before his heat, announcing that he didn’t want to do this “as it was really competitive – they give out medals just like the Olympics!”. We managed to get through the tears and into his boat just as the flag turned to green as he was off in the water. I was on camera duty and Tim was dedicated safety support and we were both full of nerves…. We couldn’t believe when we both looked at our watches and only 6 minutes of the 20 minute heat had gone by!

He was on fire – full of smiles, surfing away, even throwing in old school paddle spins mid way through to impress the judges!

hunter hoebuck


Hunter mostly surfed in what is referred to as the “soupy zone” where the waves were just cresting or had just crested. It meant that most of the waves he caught were white vs green. As we progressed through the day, we learned more about how Surf kayking is scored and it turns out that the starting point is you have to catch the wave on the green. Then it is about how effectively you make use of the wave (front surf, side surf, spin, carve etc.).

Hunter wowed the judges and got a round full of cheers when he came off the water from the first heat. At 10, he was the youngest competitor and they didn’t have a youth class so he was out in the water with 4 adults.

With only 5 in their class, everyone made it into the finals. Hunter was disappointed that he wasn’t top 3 in points (he was 5th at 20.5 but only 8 points behind the 1st place competitor) but thrilled that he was in the finals.

Before the finals, they had the raft surfing competition – Tim was a last minute recruit to paddle in the boat with Hunter, Morgan and 3 others. They had a tonne of fun and lots of smiles…. Morgan capped it off with a back-flip off the raft to earn more points and they won the event!

raft team 1

morgan back flip


At the end of the day, Hunter came in 5th in the Whitewater category BUT the judges were so impressed with him (age, personality and skills) that they created a junior class and awarded him a medal for first. We are all sooooo proud of him – for competing, for getting through the jitters and for being his personable chatty self the entire day. Pretty awesome for learning day one and competing day two.

Hunter and Mom - medal


Thanks have to go out to coach Tim (Dad), coach Sean (YCKC) and coach Kevin (YCKC) for helping to give him the confidence, the skill and the love of paddling…

Oh, and for those that are wondering – yes, I did go out and surf kayak. In order to maintain my “keep up with Hunter” status, I hit the waves on Saturday for a while in between everything and had a good time…

lee surf kayaking