Colorado SUP Championships 2017

Whitewater stand up paddling needed a championships, a competition that scores the best overall paddler of the three disciplines: downriver sprint, sup cross, and sup surfing. It’s one of the only river sup events that hosts all three of these competitions. We created the Colorado SUP Championships to encourage more people to participate in all three events and to acknowledge those paddlers that work hard to be the most well-rounded paddlers in the river SUP scene.

The championships are held in conjunction with the Fibark whitewater festival in Salida, CO. Although, labeled as a whitewater event Fibark has a little something for everyone. Not really into whitewater sports? Maybe the live music, hooligan race, mountain biking, or bmx bikes launching off a ramp into the river is more your jam. Whatever it is Fibark runs the gamut in entertainment and activities.

A favorite from the hooligan race.
Photographer: Deb Stipa


Crowds lined the banks as paddlers competed in heats for the top surf spot at the Scout wave. Every year the bar is raised and this year was no different. Homeschooling has been good to Miles Harvey as he once again threw down tricks no other surfer has been able to land.  Spectators cheered as many of them were seeing river surfing for the first time and were none the less suprised by the level of athleticism displayed at the surf comp. Claire Chappell out of Glenwood Springs shrieked with excitement and shock after learning of her first place win. Full results of all three events will be displayed at the end of this blog post. 

Photo: Jordan Curet

‘Surfer Miles Harvey’ Photographer: Deb Stipa

Claire’s reaction to her 1st place win.
Photographer: Deb Stipa

But the real crowd pleasing event was SUP cross. Paddlers navigated a challenging course of retentive waves, aggressive ferries, and turbulent eddy lines. Carnage is inevitable with SUP cross but this year the control and skill was stronger than years previous. A nail biter of a final took place with the women. Camille Swan and Natali Zollinger battled it out for 2nd place while Rebecca Giddens sped ahead for the first place win. Cami and Natali had a photo finish as they raced for the finish line; Cami beating Natali by a mere five inches. In the men’s final Bradley Hilton moved skillfully from fourth place to first as he calculated each buoy turn and stroke perfectly. Rounding out the podium was Dan Gavere in second and Spencer Lacy in third.

‘Men’s final heat in SUP Cross’. Photographer: Jordan Curet

‘Natali and Cami battling it out to the finish.’
Photographer: Deb Stipa

The final event was the epic 10-mile downriver and often times up-winder race. The downriver race is the highest scoring of all three events for the overall SUP champion. Mike Tavares having a rough go in the SUP Cross and surf comp made up for it with a 1st place win in the downriver race. Our 11′ Carbon Innegra Holeshot was the board of choice for both Mike and Bradley who came in right behind Mike and Eric Giddens with a third place finish. In the women Rebecca’s years of experience in slalmon kayak racing once again put her at the top. Second was Camille Swan and rounding out the podium was Natali Zollinger in third. 

Here are this years Colorado SUP Champions
Women
1st Rebecca Giddens 
2nd Brittany Parker
3rd Natali Zollinger 
Men
1st Mike Tavares
2nd Bradley Hilton
3rd Dan Gavere 

‘All winning competitors’ Photographer: Deb Stipa

It was one of the best Fibark’s yet. The crew spent there down time sitting around the fire, BBQ’ing, lounging in hammocks, and skating at Zack’s homemade mini ramp. Fibark weekend is all about the community. Thanks to everyone who came out, some coming all the way from Washington D.C. Also a huge shout out to Gary Lacy with Boater Parks who donated the majority of the prize money to this event. You are what makes this event special and we can’t wait to see you again for Fibark’s 70th anniversary. 

‘Bodhi Harrison shredding shred town USA.’ Photographer: Heather Jackson

Full downriver race results:

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Daily Stoke

badfish, stand, up, paddle, SUP, paddleboard, rivers, whitewater, MVP, runningBadfish Co-Owner Mike Harvey paddling the 2016 9′ MVP on the Salt River Canyon in Arizona.