With the river roaring and after several years off, Tatlow Fest 2022 Paddling Festival, was resurrected with great success.
There was surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, river runs, competitions and live music, at Tatlow Falls on the Bulkley River near Smithers, July 8, 9 and 10.
The Bulkley Valley Kayak and Canoe Club organized the event after several years of hiatus, and paddlers came from across northern B.C. to enjoy water fun and competitions in Tatlow Falls. Several local paddlers dazzled the crowds with tricks in the big surf and one paddler took part in two different competitions for the first time in 20 years. Two paddlers arrived just in time for the surf competition on Saturday after driving from Terrace and jumping right into the action.
Several river runs took place from Telkwa to Tatlow Falls, and a highlight on Friday was that some paddlers were able to tackle the Witset Surf, which only comes up when the river is at high levels, making a huge curl in the river to surf.
There was on-site camping, live music, a beer garden and competitions all weekend, with those who made their way to the top three, earning the coveted Golden Paddle trophy’s.
Approximately 100 spectators and over 20 competitors enjoyed the fun and activities and cheered and heckled each other on, with local Nick Meyer an enthusiastic MC.
Mississippi Lynx provided the live music on Saturday night, with the music, campfires and dancing going on well into the night.
A volunteer for the festival explained the river level was the highest it had ever been for the festival on Saturday, making some of the more novice paddlers take up cheering instead of taking on the huge water in the Falls.
“The big water makes for big surf and fun tricks in the challenging water,” volunteer Kelsey Chamberlin said.
“This has been a great weekend to resurrect such a fun event, and we have had a great turnout.”
There were several safety sessions held before any competitions, and anytime people were in the water there were safety monitors in the water standing by.
Competition Results for the Whitewater Surf:
Third place – Josh Macdonald
Second place – Daniel Helm
First Place -Nathan Murdoch
Results for Whitewater Stand up Paddleboard:
Third place – Andrew Cline
Second place – Coby Hall
First place – Nick Meyer