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The world's best kayakers compete in North Fork Championship Finals

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jun 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-16 20:18:25-04

The biggest crowd in the history of the North Fork Championship cheered from the shoreline world's greatest kayakers blasted down the toughest rapid on the Payette River.

The North Fork Championship is sometimes called "the Olympics of whitewater" and it lives up to its name. The rapids on the course are nothing short of extreme.

“This year it has been a lot different than any other year the North Fork Championship has happened," said Boise native Hayden Voorhees. "The water level is quite a bit higher than most years--not quite as high as 2017 but just as stout. The gates are super hard to make. Yeah it is the real deal.”

Voorhees didn't make it into the final round--he missed qualifying and landed in 21st place. His brother, Alec, who finished fourth last year, headed into the final round after placing 14th in the semi-finals, but finished 16th in the finals.

In the second round of the finals, Englishman Joe Morley threw down a sick run and made all the gates. Dane Jackson followed that up with what looked like the fastest run. Don't forget about fan favorite Austrian Andy Brunner! He had a goal of making it to the finals and threw down a clean run Saturday.

“Oh yeah that is awesome! It is even better than I could have imagined I think with all the gates that's at least top 15 which is amazing," Brunner said.

Both the King and Queen of the North Fork receive equal prize money. Fans were impressed by the women's intensity, drive and resolve to get through the course.

“These gals are so impressive just to even have the fortitude to do even do this and their skill level is unbelievable," said Tom Moore, who was watching from the shore.

It's a world gathering right in our own backyard that showcases the rivers in Idaho.

"It’s awesome to see it is so sick to have over 19 countries from all around the world to my home river here in Idaho," Voorhees said. "It’s super cool to see.”

Dane Jackson won the men's division to take back his crown as the King of the North Fork--his third win in just four years.

The first Queen of the North Fork went to Mariann Saether.