Kayakers put to the test in inaugural Whistler Creek Cup 

Hardcore kayakers will put their skills and their nerves to the test this weekend in the inaugural Whistler Creek Cup, a three-day, three-creek competition on some of the area’s most challenging whitewater runs.

"It’s a first in Western Canada," said Braden Fandrich, a pro kayaker and the organizer of the Whistler Creek Cup.

"Most kayakers know that this is the best place in the world, that we have some of the best kayaking creeks in the world here, and this competition is a real test of skills."

The race gets underway on Friday (July 23) on the Upper Cheakamus River, with paddlers racing down a 5 km section of the creek that ends at the House Rock takeout area. The contest will move to the Soo River on Saturday and the Callaghan Creek on Sunday, as the courses become progressively harder – the Callaghan has one section with a 20 foot and a 25 foot drop within sight of one another.

Each section is expected to take between eight and 10 minutes to complete, and the winner will be the paddler with the lowest combined time in all three sections.

Spectators are welcome to watch – the Upper Cheakamus is easy to find and there’s a road and trail to the Callaghan Creek site. The Soo is not the best place to watch in terms of access, so organizers are suggesting that spectators skip that day.

Because most local paddlers are river guides during the day, the events will get underway at approximately 6 p.m. each day.

Fandrich says the first event will likely be small with under 20 paddlers, but he sees the potential for it to grow a lot bigger once the word gets out in the paddling community.

"Since this is the first year, we’re just trying to get it going, get some kayakers out there. Next year we’d like to see a little more publicity, advertise a little more, pull in a few more sponsors. Ultimately we’d like to see this on television at some stage.

"People will be blown away by the creeks and the skill level of the kayakers," he said.

For registration and information call 604-935-6037 or visit www.reelrooster.com.

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