Fibark is America’s oldest and boldest river and whitewater festival. If you have never been, it is something to witness. One of the most popular events is the Hooligan Race. A “boat” race where groups create makeshift rafts and boats from all types of unlikely objects. A huge mass of spectators watch as these crafts come through the rapids and self destruct sending parts and people flying into the churning river.
After all the dust settled I had another opportunity to photograph Nick Troutman, the reigning World Freestyle Kayak Champion, but this time he brought along Eric Jackson, a four time World Champion and US Team Olympian, and Eric’s 16 year old son, Dane Jackson, who is already a force to be reckoned within the junior and pro men’s contests around the globe. Much thanks again to Nick, Dane and Eric for taking the time to make these images and get back into the freezing cold river well after most everyone had gone to bed.
It was a dark night, but I fixed that quickly. I set up several flashes and one very bright spot light. I was really about capturing the flow of the water and spray off the boats as they looped through the air. These almost abstract images are more focused on the water than the boat and paddler. There is a beautiful reaction to every motion the paddler makes within the water. Many kayak images are all about the person and the boat but these images brought the subtleties of the water into the forefront. Any paddler notices this all the time but it is seldom caught in an image in such a dominant sculpted form. There are so many amazing aspects to kayaking and I hope this series shows some of the beauty of the waters reaction to the acrobatics of these world class paddlers.