In exactly 2 weeks, riverboarders will descend upon Kernville, California and the 2009 FLRC races will begin!
I'm excited about this for several reasons.
1. The riverboarding industry is growing,
and more and more people are experiencing the beauty of whitewater at "face level". Rafting is cool, kayaking is cooler, but to feel every nuance of the river, every current and hydraulic and bit of power the flow contains, yeah...there's just nothing like swimming a river. And it's cool to see more and more people from all around the world excited about riverboarding too.
In the process, as the industry grows, so too do the number of people showing up for events and races. When Face Level first started having riverboarding races, we'd have 3 people show up, and 2 of them were Docta P and myself. At last year's Gorge games, we had I think 21 total contestants over the weekend, and it was broadcast on national TV.
This year, the list has grown - should everyone who says they're coming show up to Kern, we'll have more than ever before at an event, and more girls than ever too! (On that note, everyone wish Liz good luck in getting better from her knee surgery.)
The fact that we're still promoting events and having them at all is a testament to each of your interest and passion in the sport. I'm thankful for that and look forward to the biggest and most fun season of riverboarding events yet!
2. Racing brings out the best (and yes, sometimes worst) in everyone.
For the most part, it's the best. The community of boarders - especially in the US - is still fairly small, but it's a great group! The more it grows and evolves and the more changes I have seen over the years in faces and names, the better I think the sport has gotten. You guys know how to compete hard, but there is camaraderie - you know how to laugh and have fun too. Winning is the goal of competition, but it's great to see intensity on the river and laughter off of it.
3. Not everyone likes to race, but doing 2-3 day events at our FLRC races allows time on the river for people who just want to come have fun riverboarding.
I was impressed with the way many of you hit the river together prior to the races last year to scout it out and practice the course. I'm hoping that as the community grows and the races get bigger and more intense, that the chill times on and off the river between competitors will continue.
And yeah, I'm sure there will be rivalries that form, there may be disagreements, maybe even some racers that dislike each other. It happens in all sports, it happens in life. But I would hope that you would take out the aggression only in the races, and let things simmer off the river. Because I'm not such a fan of "drama", but I love it when athletes are passionate and compete with intensity.
The rules and points system this year are going to be a little bit different than in past years. In brief:
- Points and prizes will be awarded to only the OVERALL top 3 finishers.
- There will only be 3 events comprising each festival or event: Boardercross (Bx), Extreme Downriver (ExD), and Freestyle Surfing (for which I don't have an acronym haha)
- To seed the Boardercross races, there will be 1 round of solo timed trials just prior to the Bx competition. It won't be for points, only for seeding.
- Points will be more heavily weighted toward the 1st place finishers: 12 for 1st, 7 for 2nd, 5 for 3rd. 2x as much for EFVC, and 3x as much for the Finals in July, which I'm 90% sure will be at a whitewater park (we have agreement in principle just waiting for the board to approve it - we'll post soon though so you can make travel plans!).
- To compete in the Finals, you only need to compete in 1 (one) other FLRC event this year. The goal is to have as huge of a turnout at the Finals as possible, similar to last year's Gorge Games (which served as the de-facto Finals). The Eddy Flower Vertical Challenge can count as 1 event, although with events in all popular regions where riverboarders reside, you should be able to make at least one regular competition as well.
Official Bx & ExD Rules & FLRC Points Overview
Official Riverboarding Freestyle Surfing Competition Rules & Ju...