Outdoors Blog

‘The most extreme kayak event to ever happen’ — and it’s in Idaho this weekend

The North Fork Championship tests some of the world’s best kayakers in one of the nation’s most challenging rivers every year.

The high flows in the North Fork of the Payette River this year make it even more difficult (check out some of the action in the video above).

“This is ... probably the most extreme kayak event to ever happen, so it’ll be really fun to watch,” Boise kayaker Micah Kneidl said Thursday.

The qualifier for Saturday’s main event north of Banks was run Thursday. A heat race (six paddlers at a time) is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday and the 30-boat elite race for 1 p.m. Saturday. Each competitor in the main event gets two attempts. The field of 30 includes the top 10 finishers from last year, 10 racers selected by last year’s top finishers and the 10 wild-card qualifiers from Thursday.

The river flow dropped to 3,940 cubic feet per second Thursday evening, down from nearly 6,000 earlier this week. It was below 1,800 cfs for last year’s races.

“This event, we’ve always had low water and this year we have high water,” organizer James Byrd said.

More on the event here.