2016 Northwest Creeking Competition
By: Jake Bouchelle
The 2016 Northwest Creeking Competition (NWCC) went off without a hiccup despite the low water levels. Western Washington’s whitewater hot spot Gifford Pinchot Park was the site of the event. Sunshine 70 degree temperatures and kegs of Ninkasi beer fueled the racers and the party. The East Fork Lewis (EFL) race took place Saturday April 9, 2016. Sunset falls was the starting point and the highlight of the weekend. The crowd scattered the rocks of Sunset to watch the clean race lines….and the carnage.
The EFL race course meanders through canyons of moss covered rock with some of the best quality class III/IV rapids in the Northwest. Kayakers gathered from as far away as Quebec, Canada for this grassroots and 100 percent volunteer run event. Paddlers of all skill levels showed up to show off their skills. The NWCC is usually a two day event, racing the EFL the first day and Canyon Creek the second. Due to the unusually low water levels the Canyon Creek race was cancelled. But that didn’t stop the paddling community from having a good time.
Although the NWCC is not about cut throat competition it still brought some of the best out to compete and take the top spots. Finishing atop the expert division in the women’s was no other than Nicole Mansfield. Nick Troutman took the top spot in the men’s pro division.
Following the race the huckfest began at Sunset Falls. The gloves were off. Boofs soared, brown claws thrown and free wheels were tossed. Crafts of all types peeled out of the eddy and over the falls. A beautiful afternoon of boating led to a hungry crowd. A BBQ popped off in the early evening to feed all those who volunteered, competed and attended the event. Post BBQ the awards ceremony began which had no lack of swag to pass out due to the generosity of all the amazing sponsors. The stoke level was high as the kegs continued to flow throughout the night. Between the music and the beer the evening turned into one big rave in the woods. Some went as far to say the NWCC is the best party in the Northwest.
Great community, good weather, amazing food and excellent whitewater made for another successful Northwest Creeking Comp. A special thanks to Deek Heykamp the Next Adventure Crew and all the volunteers and sponsors that helped out to make this event a reality. The paddling community thanks you for your time and effort. To another great NWCC and we will see you next year!