[slideshow=8]Started in 2004 by Jim Litchfield after completing the Reno Whitewater Park here, sponsored by Reno/Tahoe Tourism board, Subaru, Sands Regency Casino, and more, this event is always a highlight for any competitor.    The urban setting, casinos, shows, and hospitality are all top notch.  Often there is national TV associated with this event, as well as significant prize money, and serious competition.   


The event goes like this.    The main event is “invitation only” with 15 top men and 10 top women invited from various places like New Zealand, Australia, USA, and Canada.   However, if you want to test your mettle against the invited pros, you can compete in Friday’s “Qualifier” where the top three men and top 2 women will earn their spot for Saturday’s main event.   World Kayak is hosting the open qualifier this year as part of the “Hometown Throwdown” series, complete with World Kayak’s sponsored prizes from

  • Jackson Kayaks – DVDs, schwag
  • Smith Optics – Sunglasses
  • Crocs – sandals
  • Immersion Research – clothing and schwag
  • Mountain Khakis – pants
  • Salus – schwag and lifevests
  • Nuun – energy drinks, schwag
  • Shred Ready – helmets and schwag
  • Kayak Session – magazine subscriptions, magazines
  • Rapid Transit – event coverage
  • Redwood Creek Wines – wine
  • Kayak Habit – schwag and clothing

Cool line up of sponsors contributing over $200,000 in product for 2009.  Go ahead and sign up online here  http://worldkayakblogs.com/throwdown/register/  simply scroll down the list of Hometown Throwdown events until you reach “reno” and click on the Online registration and “viola” you are registered, for FREE!


This year’s Reno River Festival is going to have “Live” coverage brought to you by World Kayak’s James McBeath, Colin Kemp, and Chris Wing.   Sophisticated technology comes your way for your viewing pleasure.   A 20 minute delay between actual competition rides and being uploaded, commentated, and ready to watch.     Simply click here to watch starting on Saturday morning… http://worldkayakblogs.com/throwdown/    The Jackson Kayak RV is now a Wifi hotspot (no kidding, thanks to Dan Cortese).   The World Kayak Throwdown coverage guys will be videoing each heat and downloading directly to their computer from the camera, then commentating over the footage, and uploading through the RV, and onto the website.    Very cool guys!

Look for incredible rides this year as we are already seeing combos being thrown in practice that has never been done in events before.    The new ICF rules reward combos more than ever before, creating a “get on the combo bus, or watch the awards from the crowd” type of situation.   This is awesome, forcing the top athletes to advance or drop aside.     Stephen has a sweet back blunt/splitwheel/trickywoo combo and an Airwheel trickywoo combo.   I have been doing front blunt/backloop/mcnasty combos, as well as backblunt/front loop, and doublesplitwheel/trickwoo combo.    The Wavemonkey is also working here!    Dane was spotted doing a backblunt/phonixmonkey/lunar orbit/mcnasty combo.   I just may have to make him focus more on his homework if he is going to try to do that kind of advanced stuff.    Luckily his last three math tests were “A’s” or I might actually have him spend less time on the water. J  Nick, Emily, Tanya Faux, Ruth Gordon, Niki Kelly , Jason Craig, etc. etc. are all paddling really well.   Andrew Holcomb, Brian Kirk, and just showing up.    I expect big things from them!


Who will get the “bling Bling” this year?   I have some very memorable keepsakes from this event as awards.  A silver belt bucket that is awesome,  a World Wrestling federation type of belt,  a rapper’s bling bling necklace, etc..    so far there have only been two winners of this event since 2004 in the men’s class.  Jay Kincaid wont the 2004, and 2007 competitions.    I won the 2005, 2006, and 2008 events.    In 2009 the big guns of freestyle are gunning for that top spot and $2,500 in cash in both the men’s and women’s event.    Who will win this time?   Want to hear some quality “smack talking”, just listen in on some eddy talk, or post session talking for some good old fashioned testosterone driven talking.   We are all best friends in this sport, and spend more time building each other up with real live coaching and encouragement, but balance it out with some quality “Man, you can touch this move…. “ type of “watch me and weep” talk that keeps us all motivated to not be on the receiving end of that by being able to answer right back with that move and more.    Did I ever tell you that I Love to compete?  Oh yea, let the games begin!


Eric Jackson