Ryan Casey Wins North Fork Championship

June 12, 2012

WRO guide Ryan Casey wins the first year of the North Fork Championship!  This is an extreme kayak race down the North Fork of the Payette River in Idaho, probably one the hardest roadside whitewater sections in the country.  The race was held in a rapid named Jakobs Ladder, often regarded as the single most challenging rapid in this impressive section of whitewater.  Pro-kayakers came from far and wide to compete in this impressive event.  It was awesome to see a local Idaho favorite take first place in the race and claim the $4000 cash prize!  The competition was very stout, but Ryan’s years of experience on the North Fork showed in this incredible race.  This event truly is a big deal, and has qualified Ryan to compete with the World Whitewater Grand Prix in Chile this coming December.  Check out a write up on the North Fork Championship by Canoe and Kayak Magazine.

I decided I did not want to miss the first year of this epic event.  So I packed up my camping gear and headed for the Payettes.  I did not get on the water at all, but sure had fun spectating the race and taking pictures of a few friends that competed in the Elite Division.  I hope you enjoy a few of the photos I took over the weekend!

Here is a little more info on new WRO guide Ryan Casey.  Ryan is no stranger to Idaho whitewater and river trips! Ryan grew up in the Wood River Valley of Idaho near Sun Valley, and then moved to Colorado to attend Rocky Mountain High School.  He attended University of Vermont on a Nordic Skiing scholarship, where he received a degree in Food Science with a focus in Sports Nutrition.  Ryan has been an avid kayaker most of his life chasing rivers around the globe.  His kayaking adventures have led him to places like Madagascar, Russia, Canada, Norway, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, France, and not to mention many rivers across the US. Ryan spent 10 years raft guiding on the Salmon River near Stanley, Idaho.  Ryan also teaches swiftwater rescue courses with Rapid Action Rescue.  With over 20 years of playing and working on the river, he has un-paralleled whitewater experience!  Ryan spends his winters ski patrolling at Sun Valley Ski Resort in Idaho, with this other job comes high levels of Outdoor Emergency Care.  It’s easy to pick out who Ryan is because he probably the only person around that is nearly 7 feet tall!

Middle Fork Salmon season has started!  Check back for more photos throughout the summer river season…

~Seth Tonsmeire