Animas River Days’ 2015 festival makes a big splash

ReBlogged from the Durango Herald

Helter Smelter

Mike Tavares of Richmond, Virginia, paddled into a crashing wave between competitions during Animas River Days at the Santa Rita whitewater park Saturday in Durango.

Tavares, however, wasn’t in a boat; he was on a stand-up paddleboard.

“The water level is great this year,” he said. “It’s my first time surfing and paddling on the Animas, so I’m super-stoked.”

SUPs, as they’re called, are becoming a more common sight, and this year’s long-standing river festival – started by local paddler Nancy Wiley in 1982 – is no different. There are three new events dedicated to the SUPs – more than ever before.

Festival spokesperson Hope Tyler said there are several new aspects this year all based around the new vibe that Santa Rita is taking on, in and out of the water.

“Well, there’s the new park,” she said of the whitewater park that opened last year. “We’re one of the few parks that has eight features.”

On dry land, the hardscaping is complete. Now, the landscaping begins.

“This is what you’re going to see for upcoming events,” Tyler said.

Local rivers have spiked as snow continues to melt in the high country, coupled with good amounts of precipitation the region has received late in the year. One of the warmer days of the spring, the brown water carried logs and debris downstream picked up by the swell. Tyler said bets were going around the festival on what Saturday’s high water would be.

“We just hit 2,000 this morning,” she said. “People are excited.”

The competitions were so many, one would end, and another would begin – kayaking slaloms, SUP slaloms, SUP and boatercross. Every so often, rafts fully loaded would charge through the waves. There were dog tricks and film screenings. On Saturday night, an evening freestyle kayak competition was to be held.

On Sunday, the third day of the festival, there will be clinics all day offered by 4 Corners Riversports.

Animas River Days events coordinator Stacy Falk said competitors came from all corners of the globe.

“Last year, we had 40; this year, we have 100,” she said. “And they’re from England, France, New Zealand.”

Several professional athletes came specifically to represent SUP, spearheaded by whitewater instructors Anna and Drew Fisher of Surf the San Juans.

“The pros that are here are here because of them,” Falk said.

Ross Montandon of Noddingham, England, is on a four-month U.S. tour kayaking with his team. After the kayak slalom races, he stepped away to steal a look at the river.

“It’s like a traveling circus,” he said about his tour. In Durango for the first time, Montandon said the beauty of the West is the access.

Tyler said the 3,000 to 4,000 people that line the river for the annual river parade bear testimony.

Falk, who called Saturday “the most insane day of her life,” said event officials worked hard to make the festival stand out.

“If we want to get a sponsor like those big events that we want to compete with have, we need to prove that we can get people here, and we proved that (Saturday),” she said.

Animas River Days Recap

ReBlogged from:

Team Rider Brittany Parker checked in with this recap of the Animas River Days event last weekend in Durango, Colorado. Photos by Heather Jackson.

Durango was a pleasant surprise for the Badfish crew. We had no idea how much the South-West Colorado college town was stoked on stand up paddling and river surfing. Durango is arguably the best paddling community in the State of Colorado, with a long history of whitewater paddling, so it was easy for us to feel at home at the Animas River Days at the Santa Rita Park.

To kick off the event team athletes Natali Zollinger and Brittany Parker organized a two day downriver and river surfing clinic hosted by the local paddling shop 4Corners Riversports. They worked on pivot turns, reading water, paddling technique, footwork, and had students paddling into the wave standing up by day two!

river surfing, whitewater, durango, colorado, animas, SUP, paddleboard

Saturday was jam packed with events and there wasn’t one podium without a team paddler on it. The beer was flowing from the Ska brewing tent and the crowd lined the bank waiting for the show to begin. Everyone loves carnage and the ‘Last Paddler Standing’ competition, promises it. Beginning at the top of the whitewater park the paddler has to make it through a series of substantial holes without falling off their board, otherwise it’s immediate disqualification. The crowd was roaring, rooting for most of us to fall, but Mike T. and Brittany Parker (on their 9’0” MVP) held their own placing in the top three.

Although, surf comps aren’t the norm for whitewater events, Durango is setting the stage for river surfing to become a competitive addition to event schedules. The guys were in their element and out to win. Between Zack Hughes spinning 540’s, Spencer Lacy’s pop shuv-its, and Mike Tavares’ hard carves they swept the podium.

river surfer, surfing, whitewater, animas, durango, colorado, badfish, SUP, paddleboard

river surfing, river surfer, badfish SUP, paddleboarding, animas, durango, colorado

We loved the Animas River Days but what really made an impression on us was the surf sessions outside of the competition. The local surfers are out there every day charging and encouraging others to try. They are true examples of what we all love about this community and the sport. We will be back next year! -Brittany Parker

PRESS RELEASE: S2O Design and Engineering aids the Town of Lyons in winning a $1 million flood recovery grant to reconstruct Meadow Park

Lyons, CO:  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper visited Lyons, Colorado today to announce the recipients of the Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Flood Recovery grants for 2014.  The Town of Lyons came away the big winner with a $1 million dollar award for the reconstruction of Meadow Park.

“This park is central not only to our community, but to our economy”, said Parks and Recreation Director Dave Cosgrove.  S2o worked with Cosgrove as well as others in the community to help define the project, craft the grant, and create conceptual designs to aid GOCO in visualizing Lyons’ concept for the new and improved Meadow Park.

“We have a lot of projects we are working on at S2o right now”, said S2o Director Scott Shipley, “but the thing we are most proud of as a team are our efforts to help our hometown recover from the flood.”  The $1 million dollar grant will aid Lyons with the more than $4 million dollars in damages that occurred in Meadow Park during the September 2013 flooding event.  Rainfall in that month created flows of greater than 20,000 cubic feet per second in a streambed that normally runs less than 600 cubic feet per second.  The disaster is credited with causing more than $50 million dollars damage to the Town as a whole.

“The great thing this grant does, more than any other funding so far, is begin the process of recreating Lyons as a destination for visitors and as a rebuilt Town for the people of Lyons.  This is one of our first projects that is designed to welcome people back to this community”, commented S2o Engineer Nathan Werner.  The funding will be put to use almost immediately as the S2o and DHM designed phase 1 of meadow park begins construction later this month.

PRESS RELEASE: S2O Design Creates Lyons Outdoor Games Events Centers

S2o Volunteer’s for the Lyons Outdoor Games

Organizers of the Lyons Outdoor Games came to S2O Design with an urgent request: Can you pull together whitewater for this year’s Lyons Outdoor Games? A 1-in-500 year flood event devastated the town of Lyons, CO in 2013 and damaged a large swath of Town around the river. While the Town is committed to continuing its outdoor games, venues have needed to be re-created in order to host many of the events. S2o was asked to help create both the Slalom and Freestyle venues. S2o worked with the Town of Lyons Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Events and the local parks and recreation commission as well as organizers of the Outdoor Games to create the whitewater park needed for the games to occur.

S2O Design donated more than $10,000 in in-kind services and also sponsored the event. As a part of its efforts S2O Design worked with local stakeholders to design and lay-out the slalom and freestyle venues and then applied for USACE and FEMA permits required to work in the active waterway. The improvements included creation of a freestyle feature at the Black Bear hole and stabilization of the riverbed at the former location of the “A-Hole”, installation of a bendway weir to redirect flow off the south bank, and random boulder placements for slalom eddies and character.

The redesign has been a resounding success. The Freestyle feature is in and creates a great venue for the competition. The new eddies and pools also create a much better reach for the slalom races during this year’s Lyons Outdoor Games. “We are so excited to have world-class features for this year’s outdoor games” said event Organizer Rebecca Louzan, “we look forward to having some of the country’s best paddlers here on May 30th for the games”.

The Lyons Outdoor Games is a premier Colorado outdoor lifestyle, adventure sport and music festival. There will be a number of events focused around Bohn Park including a kid’s climbing wall and drink craft microbrew from over 50 craft microbreweries around the country. There will also be a number of world class athletes competing in professional kayaking, dirt jumping and slacklining comps! Visitors can sign up for this year’s Beer Relay or kick off your flip flops and jump on a slackline. Music will be performed by national touring acts and there will be concessions for food and beverages.

S2O Design is excited to have helped make this event happen. We are proud to provide our services to enhance great events like the Lyons Outdoor Games and to make Lyons a better place to live, visit, and recreate in.

Wired Magazine: Exciting new technologies of the Olympics–Rapidblocs

The Olympic Delivery Authority — the folks responsible for developing and building Olympic venues — gave Shipley’s team a concept. The design requirements state the channel be an average of 1.4 meters deep, though it can vary from 40 cm to 2 meters, and a 5.5-meter drop. Once they designed a course that met those parameters, S20Design created an obstacle system in which all the boulders in the channel can be easily moved to change the behavior of the course and make the water rougher or smoother. The system, called Rapid Blocs, uses stackable blocks on rails.