In case you’re coming to the USNWC this week to get some water time, here are the proposed gates for riverboarding boardercross!
The goal is to flow with the water as much as possible, while at the same time throwing in the always entertaining and unpredictable BX wrinkle of upstream gates.
The competition channel at the USNWC is stout enough for racing head-to-head, but these gates will practically guarantee that it’s anybody’s race to win, and there will be lots of fan-friendly carnage!
In the interest of flow, these gates are easy to hit if you know where they are – the water pretty much pushes you right to the eddies, and you simply need to make the move.
The reasoning behind this is simple – Boardercross is supposed to be fast-paced, chaotic, and fan-friendly. So by keeping as much as possible to the natural current of the water, upstream gates can be exciting and challenging while still able to be boarded quickly.
Sure, we could make it “harder” by putting upstream gates in utterly painful eddies that take 15 seconds to navigate, but that’s no fun for racers and boring for spectators.
So, the 3 upstream gates are as follows (left, left, right), with video at the end of this post to demonstrate:
GATE 1 – RIVER LEFT, BEHIND THE FIRST ‘BARN DOORS’
The trick with this gate is to aim right at the end of the door and hit the eddy fence with speed and a left angle. This will take you directly toward the wall where you’ll catch the upstream current and ferry right back toward the door.
At that point, you need to be sure you get out far enough into the current that when you catch it downstream, you don’t get slammed back into the wall.
GATE 2 – RIVER LEFT, SECOND EDDY AFTER THE BRIDGE DROP
This gate is simple but the approach is deceptively unpredictable. Because of the constantly changing surge in the water as you cross the pool below the bridge drop, you have to maintain your speed and your angle to avoid getting caught behind the rocks in the first eddy.
The current naturally pushes right toward this gate, so if you get a good surge, it’s a very simple gate to get.
If you get a nasty surge, it’s like the river’s playing defense, so keep your focus on this one! A couple lucky surges in practice runs may otherwise set you up for a whooping if the surge doesn’t go your way during the race.
GATE 3 – RIVER RIGHT, LAST EDDY BEFORE THE ROOM OF DOOM ABOVE BIG DROP
This is probably the most challenging gate to catch, and since it’s in the corner above Big Drop, it is sure to please the spectators! Not only is it a small eddy, it’s a surging one with a tricky entrance and an even messier exit – right above Big Drop!
Mess this one up at your own peril though, because Big Drop awaits and anything less than the perfect line will send you careening into the infinite eddies on both sides of the runout…and so close to the finish line too!
The finish line will be at the bridge (or wherever they hang the finish banner), so if you make the gates and escape on line from the drop, keep swimming hard all the way through the bridge because the final two holes are never the same twice, and this boardercross race isn’t over till it’s over!
The video below is a basic look at the gates. Thanks to Jusbyn Lockard for helping film.