When we visited the 2014 Payette River Games, we couldn’t help but check out some of the SUP victors in their moment of triumph. This meant piggybacking on the interview skills of Joe Carberry from SUP the Mag and we got some great clips worth sharing.
Before Candice Appleby even crossed the finish line, she was already demonstrably excited about the pending win. With each stroke, she shouted in excitement and that exhilaration didn’t end when she reached the finish line.
Though out of breath and clearly stoked to have captured the SUP overall women’s title and expecting a big check of $10,000, Appleby talked about how difficult the race was. The unique thing about the PRG was that it consisted of multiple races over the course of several days. And despite having a hiccup in the SUP sprint, it all came together for the final.
“It’s three days long. You get a lot of nerves and it could go any way. I’m so excited. I’m so happy,” Candice said just moments after winning the race.
One unique feature of the games was that it wasn’t just ocean SUPers or river paddlers making their mark. The games really did feature a convergence of all kinds of athletes on the water, something Appleby mentioned.
“Oh, it’s so humbling out here. There are so many incredible athletes from so many different disciplines.”
Candice concluded her interview by asking the interviewer to pinch her to make sure her win was real. She pumped her fist in the air as her accomplishment was put into words by Carberry: “Congratulations, you’re the 2014 Payette River Games [SUP women’s] champion.”
Coming in first for the men’s overall SUP division was Fernando Stalla, the 6’2 paddler from Mexico. As Stalla made his way toward the finish line and under the banner-laden bridge, he lifted his arms in celebration when he realized he too would soon be getting a significant pay day.
Upon making it to shore, he chatted with Joe about his victory.
“I’m super excited,” Stalla said, trying to catch his breath. “You know, coming in I didn’t think I was going to win just because I don’t have any experience on the river. But I put my time [in] training and practicing and, man, I’m so excited. This is great.”
Stalla, who rides for Rogue SUP was happy with his choice of board, remarking that it was quick enough for the sprints along the flat water and stable enough to help him through the whitewater without falling.
As far as strategy, Fernando said he chose a lower line when crossing the whitewater and then made up the time on the flat rather than risk tipping over and missing significant time by taking a swim.
“I took it safe on the rapids and sprinted on the flats and it paid off.”
When asked what he’d do with the money, he said he’d just be putting it into more travel and more events. He then spoke in his native Spanish in a moment of obvious gratitude.
With a name made for surfing, Slater Trout made it to the finish line first in the SUP sprint event, making it to fourth place on the overall podium and taking home some prize money. Typically an ocean racer, Trout said what we all think would go into a first place finish: putting in practice time is worth it.
“This is huge. I’ve been practicing all week.”
He executed when it meant most during that event, having admittedly his cleanest run on the Payette River during that sprint final. “For me to pull out my best run on the final run…it’s the best feeling,” Trout said.
When asked about the upcoming Xross event, he said it was anyone’s game.
“There’s the fastest paddlers, there’s the fittest paddlers, there’s the most technical paddlers, you’ve got the river paddlers. And anyone could win the SUP Xross.”
His game plan was to stay on his board and be aggressive to hopefully “get across that line first.” Slater wouldn’t be a top finisher in the SUP Xross event, however, though he did podium in the overall event because of his first place downwind run.
Coming in first in the women’s SUP sprint and second in the SUP overall event was young Fiona Wylde. After her sprint event, she spoke a little bit about the race. Summed up in a few words: “It was tough. I’m really tired right now.”
Despite the fatigue, Wylde genuinely seemed to be enjoying herself. She was particularly impressed with the town, the games, and Kelly’s Whitewater Park which truly is a destination worth visiting.
“What they’ve done to this river and this event…it’s amazing.”
Something that was a hallmark of the games was the equal prize money for the men and women’s podiums, something Wylde remarked on and said would “[encourage] women to be more involved in the sport.”
During the sprint event, Wylde battled SUP overall winner Candice Appleby who is a fierce competitor and decorated stand up paddleboarder. The whitewater was tricky and took a little patience to navigate although Wylde would win the sprint. Despite Appleby being in front for a good chunk of the race, Wylde preserved and came out with the exhausting victory.
The young SUPer was excited for the upcoming Xross event but kept her goals simple: “Go fast, have fun, and be safe.”
She did just that, coming in second overall and though she didn’t get the big check (literally) that Appleby did, she still left the games $6,000 richer.