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The Kern River

Kern Valley River Council is an Equal Opportunity Service Provider and a Permittee of the Sequoia National Forest

Hosted by the Kern Valley River Council, a California Non-Profit Organization

On August 26, 27 and 28 of 2005, the Kern Valley River Council is hosting a series of three slalom races at the permanent slalom course located at Miracle Hot Springs on the Lower Kern, south of Lake Isabella, California, U.S.A.  This is the first time that these races have been combined in a single location over a three-day period.  

Sanctioned by the Pan American Canoe Federation and USA Canoe & Kayak, and in association with the International Canoe Federation, under a special permit granted by the U.S. Forest Service, Sequoia National Forest, these races give developing athletes from Central and South America an opportunity to participate in high-level competition, along with the top athletes of North America.  Many of the athletes will be traveling directly from the Kern to the World Slalom Championships in Penrith, Australia.

The Pan American Slalom Championships, the first of the three race events, is open to teams from member countries in North, Central and South America. Following official Olympic/ICF rules, teams will participate in a qualifier race on Friday, August 26th, with the top placing racers moving into the semi-finals and finals on Saturday, August 27th.  The America’s Slalom Open will run concurrently with the Pan Am Championships, which is open to all racers not on an official team. 

The U.S.A.C.K. Whitewater Slalom Nationals, featuring the top American athletes, including 2004 Olympic Silver-medalist, Rebecca Giddens will be held on Sunday, August 28th. With special permission from USA Canoe/Kayak, we will be adding an international class to the U.S. Nationals, enabling visiting athletes to compete in an additional race. They will not be competing directly against the U.S. racers, but will be competing in their own special group. Awards will be given to each group following the races.

The goal in whitewater kayak slalom racing is to complete a designated course consisting of approximately 20 gates as fast as possible, without hitting or missing any of the gates. Racing boats must meet a predetermined standard of weight and length, and be capable of handling the challenges of paddling whitewater rapids.  Time penalties are assessed if a boat or person touches a gate (two seconds) or misses a gate completely (50 seconds).  There are two classes of K1 (Single person Kayak, one for men, one for women), one class of C1 (single person canoe) and C2 (2-persons canoe). There are winners for each of the four classes.

There is excellent spectator access for all of these races.  The Miracle Hot Springs Slalom Course is located next to a day-use picnic area, with beautiful shade trees along the whole course.  Spectators can walk along much of the course, sit along the edge of the river, and have a front-row seat for all the outstanding whitewater action.  Whitewater features on the Miracle course, including Hobo Rapid (class III), enable race courses to be set that are suitable for various levels or racing, including international level events.

The Kern Valley River Council, a California nonprofit organization dedicated to river conservation, education and activities on the Kern River, organizes the annual Kern River Festival each April. KVRC has also hosted various national and International events, such as the Slalom Regional Trials, Wildwater Team Trials, Junior Olympic Qualifier, and the 2003 Wildwater World Cups.  The 2003 Wildwater World Cups was the first time that all six World Cups were held on one river over a period of 10 days. The event was supported by the entire Kern Valley and over 400 volunteers, translators, sponsors, businesses, organizations, chambers of commerce, media and many other groups.  The 2000 U.S. Slalom Nationals, the first event to be held at Miracle Hot Springs, was a memorable event that included a great sendoff for the U.S. Olympic team on their way to Sydney Olympics.

For more information, contact Terry Valle at (818) 340-3083 or Sierra South (760) 376-3745.

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info at kvrc.org