This past weekend around 90+ kayak anglers descended upon Farmville for the 5th Annual Yak Attack Fishing Tournament and 60,000+ descended upon Richmond for the Dominion RiverRock Outdoor Festival. In between work and family engagements, I made it to the fishing tournament on Friday evening and Saturday morning, then ran out to RiverRock on Sunday afternoon. What follows is my limited, yet rewarding, experience at both of these great events. Links to more detailed accounts are posted at the bottom of this entry.
On Friday, the big names in the kayak fishing world started to roll into the shop. Rob Choi, of Ocean Kayak and Werner Paddles, showed up first. Rob has a great blog called Angling Addict and it is tagged in the links at the end of this blog.
Â While the anglers were rolling in, I got a visit from a new acquaintance/ friend from my soul state of Â West Virginia. John Little of Smooth Ambler Distillery, stopped in. Seeing John gives me the chance to talk about two things I love, bourbon and boats. Smooth Ambler crafts a fine bourbon. He picked up the Native Watercraft Slayer 12 Kayak to fish the Greenbrier River up in WV. That is a sweet camo kayak.
After finishing up at work I grabbed my daughter from the babysitter (my wife was working) and headed out to the Yak Attack Fishing Tournament HQ to take some photos.
Luther Cifers of Yak Attack giving the Captain's Meeting speech. He talked about the importance of keeping the "tournament" ego free and stressed that this was a family friendly event. My 19 mo. old daughter clapped. She likes family friendly events.
Having my daughter definitely hampered my ability to socialize and I had to roll out early, but next year I plan on spending more time at this great event. Before heading out, I caught this shot of my girl, looking for the sun.
The tournament allows a 50 mile fishing radius, with most folks splitting between Briery Creek Lake, Sandy River Reservoir and the James River. Farmville is extremely lucky to have three trophy fisheries in such close proximity. I got up early before work and headed to Sandy River to catch some anglers launching.
I'll post more pics on our Facebook page. I headed to work and missed the rest of the tournament day and the awards, but it sounds like the tournament was a huge success.
I listened to KayakFishing Radio's Double L Show last night and got the full scoop. Luther Cifers was on and he made sure to offer praise to Tina and Jim Shank of Heroes on the Water Central VA Chapter for all the work they did to make the tournament a huge success. The 90 kayak anglers in attendance raised around $4000 dollars for Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters. Richie Bekolay won the Slam Division and Big Crappie Division. Rob Choi won 'biggest catch', so it was an Ocean Kayak weekend! Here is a photo I lifted off the Ocean Kayak Facebook page of Rob, Richie and John Oast.
Well Done to all involved! Make sure you stay tuned for next years Yak Attack Tournament as it is a very lauded event. Great causes, camaraderie and amazing food seem to be the hallmarks of this kayak angler gathering.
On Sunday, my family loaded into the truck and headed to RVA for Dominion Riverrock. ARC had teamed up with Jackson Kayak and Boardworks Surf to demo kayaks and SUPs in the canal. Black Dog Paddle was on hand, as well, offering SUP Clinics. They will also be at our Demo Day on June 8th.
More photos can be found on our Facebook page.
Riverrock is a great showcase event for the RVA outdoor community. I started off in outdoor retail/guiding in the rock climbing community and my wife is a veteran of the whitewater community, so it was nice to immerse ourselves in that scene for a short bit. I even saw a little of the old competitive fire spark in my wife's eyes. She used to be a professional kayaker and even earned a place on the 2001 U.S. Freestyle Team.
Here is a photo of my wife with her old kayaking buddy, Eric Jackson- Founder of Jackson Kayak/ 4-Time World Freestyle Champ, etc. As you can see, my daughter is not impressed that I let some shirtless man hug up on mom. ;)
The juxtaposition of the two events was interesting, and I found some easy similarities. No matter the outdoor subset you claim, chances are it consists of a tight knit community. Those who choose to recreate in the great outdoors seem to favor the companionship of their community as much as the beauty of the scenery in which they play. I loved attending both events and hope to do so again next year. From the low key, down home style of the 5th Annual Yak Attack Tournament to the crazy, Red Bull fueled athletic competitions of Dominion RiverRock, the outdoor community is full of quality people.
Big Thanks to the entire ARC Crew at the Yak Attack Tournament and especially RiverRock for all that you did in representing! That means you Vic, Mary, Daniel, Andrew, and Brian!
additional Yak Attack coverage:
Rob Choi blog: https://www.angling-addict.com
additional RiverRock coverage: