Reno Whitewater Park

As a fellow whitewater kayaker of more than 15 years (you can check out my blog at , I would never have dreamed that I would witness the day when a convention and visitors bureau issued a press release using terms like, McNasty, the Phonics Monkey, and the Donkey Flip.

But the day has most certainly come. Just check out the 2nd paragraph of the below press release, which the RSCVA issued today. I just goes to show how far the sport has come, and how much Reno has done to embrace it.

If you want to know what moves like the Phonics Monkey look like, watch this video from the Reno Whitewater Park.


RENO, Nev. (Friday, May 18, 2007) – A record number of people experienced the annual Reno River Festival in 2007, bringing 32,800 attendees and some of the world’s best professional kayakers to downtown Reno and the Truckee River Whitewater Park May 10-13. The Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA) produced the Reno River Festival and reported that an estimated 27.5 percent of attendees were out-of-market visitors.

With sunshine and ideal spring temperatures throughout the four-day event, spectators had a chance to see 72 professional and amateur kayakers from across the U.S. and six countries perform tricks like the McNasty, the Phonics Monkey, the Donkey Flip and much more in the $1.5 million Truckee River Whitewater Park, which opened in 2004.

Reno athlete and 2004 Reno River Festival champion Jay Kincaid topped the men’s freestyle division, edging out 2007 world freestyle champion Eric “EJ” Jackson from Rock Island, Tenn., who was the two-time consecutive defending Reno festival champion. Bryan Kirk of Charlottesville, Va. rounded out the field in third place.

In the women’s division, Tanya Faux of North Arbury, Australia was the one to beat as the returning 2005 and 2006 Reno River Festival champion, but she proved to be unconquerable once again landing in first place for the third consecutive year. Seventeen-year-old Emily Jackson, a member of the Jackson “first family” of kayaking, placed second followed by Rotorua, New Zealand resident Nikki Kelly.

Another Reno local placed first in the junior’s division, with 13-year-old native Jason Craig taking top honors. The current junior national freestyle champion, Craig trains at the Truckee River Whitewater Park with Kincaid and has experienced a meteoric rise in the sport since first being inspired to kayak competitively at the inaugural Reno River Festival in 2004. Thirteen-year-old Dane Jackson placed second, completing a string of second-place finishes for the Jackson family at the 2007 festival, and the third place finisher was Jonathan Shales from Madison, Ala.

In the fast-moving boatercross competition, kayakers were pitted against each other in a 250-yard dash down the south fork of the Truckee River Whitewater Park during elimination rounds. In the men’s division,

Jud Keiser placed first, Andrew Holcombe placed second and Josh Bechtal placed third. Emily Jackson placed first in the women’s division, followed by Faux in second and Devon Barker in third. In the junior’s division, Craig led again with Shales in second and Dane Jackson in third. Fourteen competitors also participated in Sunday’s down river race.

During the festival, approximately 320 people attended instructional clinics that ranged from free beginner “Kayak 101” courses to more advanced technique sessions for experienced kayakers. Led by Different Strokes Kayaking of Reno, owner Jon Fairchild and team introduced more than 70 people to the sport of kayaking during two days of clinics on May 12 and 13.

The Reno River Festival also included nine live bands at the outdoor Wingfield Park Amphitheater, 60 exposition vendors and a charity raft race benefiting the Truckee River Foundation and the Transplant Network.

About the Reno River Festival:

The Reno River Festival takes place at the $1.5 million Truckee River Whitewater Park at Wingfield, located in the heart of the booming downtown business and arts district in downtown Reno. The park is both Nevada’s and the region’s first whitewater park and kayak slalom racing course and totals 2,600 feet in length. The park is rated a class 2 to 3 for difficulty (on a scale of 1 to 6) and features north and south channels that surround a city park on an island in the river, 11 “drop pools” and boulders for kayaking maneuvers, a slalom racing course, and 7,000 tons of smooth flat rocks along the shores for easy river access and spectator seating.

Visit for details about the annual Reno River Festival. For kayaking packages and the area’s best hotel rate, logon to and find the lowest guaranteed rates online. For more information about Reno-Tahoe, America’s Adventure Place contact 800-FOR-RENO (800-367-7366) or visit online.


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Some scroll through the day. Others seize it. Go do something crazy. And tag it #RenoTahoe so we can see it.