Published on July 28th, 2015 | by David AllanPhoto by Payette River Games | 0
A Stoked Jam Session: David’s Perspective on the 2015 PRGs
Sunday, June 21st broke clear and balmy, as the river surfers from across the continent, and as far away as Hawaii and Brazil, converged at Kelly’s Whitewater Park, in the mountains of Idaho, to exhibit their best performances on the powerful Kelly’s Wave, a foaming barrel of 2,200 cubic feet of water, per second, rushing down the Payette River.
The surfers present were to not only be taking part in exhibiting their surfing, but also in working as a team of surf brothers in fellowship in electing the prize winning performances of the day. The first priority for being here was to surf together in brotherhood and appreciate what each of us could contribute, proudly showing practice of the Aloha Spirit. That was, by far, the most valuable concept for us as river surfers. The chance that some of us will be awarded cash prizes was to be “the icing on the cake”.
The loudest and most jubilant cheer went to Derek Rabelo, who is blind.
As we waited for the go-ahead to commence surfing, the contestants met with me and we agreed on the details of our peer-judging system. Five of the contestants, following the Aloha Spirit, offered to abstain from the competition to form a judging panel. The other contestants showed their agreement and appreciation as they lined up to take their turns on the wave. Time was very limited, because the SUP event required extra final tie-breaking rounds, so, sensing the mandate for efficiency, the contestants jumped into wave-after-wave, at rapid intervals. The event looked like a well-oiled surfing machine. By making good use of the limited time, each of the contestants managed to surf four rounds on the wave (more than we expected). The judges rated each wave for best carving turn, best reversal/360, best aerial, and best overall. As it turned out, the contest appeared to be more of a stoked “jam session”, rather than a serious competitive. Fellow surfers hooted and cheered each other (even the wildest wipeouts!).
No Worries About Prizes, Just Aloha!
The loudest and most jubilant cheer went to Derek Rabelo, who is blind, but still surfs through his amazing combination of determination, courage, faith, and sharpness of his other senses. Derek has certainly become a true inspiration to all the rest of us. When both the Men’s and Women’s Divisions were culminated, the judges marked their highest scores, and compared their individual votes to arrive at a consensus. Agreement on the winners seemed to be universal, as the judges announced their selections to the crowd of contestants, who responded with smiles. It was obvious to all that the winning performances were well deserved. For the Men, Chris Martindale of Idaho “cleaned house” with the Best Overall, including carving turns and some airs. Cam Fuller, who hails from Montana, won his prize for a breathtaking reversal/sideslip, ending in a near-360. For the Women, the star was Anna Fischer, of Colorado, who garnered Best Overall, including some impressive carves. It is of note that the prizes to be awarded in equality between the men and women.
Surfers got to surf for the sheer enjoyment of it all … no worries about prizes … just aloha.
Following the Elite Division of the surfing event, described above, in which performance was judged and the prizes were awarded, there was the Open “Fun” Division, which was an expression-session, in which surfers got to surf for the sheer enjoyment of it all … no worries about prizes … just aloha! In this division, we each took a couple of waves to enjoy and entertain the crowd of thousands, who lined the riverbanks.
Finally, it all ended with smiles and “high-fives”, and some words of thanks. As the “Captain” of this undertaking in the Payette River Games, I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the contestants approached me to express their appreciation. Every one of them exclaimed at how much fun they had. To them, the event was really a delightful “sesh” of “bro’s” surfing together. As we all dispersed, and a dark mountain thunderstorm rumbled over the summits of West Mountain, it became clear that the Aloha Spirit was indeed shining, even above the impending clouds!