Tanya Faux fights through the Yampa River on Monday during the Paddling Life Pro Invitational at Charlie's Hole in downtown Steamboat Springs. Faux won the event again, finishing first in the freestyle event and the Fish Creek race.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Tanya Faux fights through the Yampa River on Monday during the Paddling Life Pro Invitational at Charlie's Hole in downtown Steamboat Springs. Faux won the event again, finishing first in the freestyle event and the Fish Creek race.

Faux Show dominates again

Australian kayaker wins 4th Paddling Life title

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Nick Troutman gets his entire kayak out of the water Monday during the Paddling Life Pro Invitational kayaking competition in Steamboat Springs. Troutman won the two-part event, finishing fifth in the morning's race down Fish Creek before winning the afternoon's freestyle competition at Charlie's Hole.

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Nick Troutman paddles Monday during the Paddling Life Pro Invitational. Troutman won the event, one-upping his performance last year when he tied for the championship.

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Steamboat Springs kayaker Dan Piano paddles in front of a crowd Monday at the Paddling Life Pro Invitational kayaking competition in Steamboat Springs. Piano, the only local to compete in the men's division, finished ninth.

Fish Creek race

Men

1. Andrew Holcombe, 2:46.41

2. Sam Sutton, 2:49.00

3. Jared Seiler, 2:52.63

4. Dave Fusilli, 2:58.12

5. Nick Troutman, 2:59.13

6. Stephen Wright, 3:00.81

7. Ken Hoeve, 3:02.28

8. Bradle Lauder, 3:02.44

9. Kelsey Thompson, 3:02.88

10. Jeremy Laucks, 3:04.53

11. Corey Volt, 3:05.90

12. Dan Piano, 3:07.62

13. Kyle Hull, 3:10.82

14. Stephen Forster, 3:20.50

Women

1. Tanya Faux, 2:57.16

2. Nikki Kelly, 2:59.97

3. Emily Jackson, 3:14.57

4. Ruth Gordon, 3:21.50

5. Sarah Hamilton, DNF

Overall

Men

1. Nick Troutman

2. Andrew Holcombe

3. Stephen Wright

Women

1. Tanya Faux

2. Emily Jackson

3. Nikki Kelly

Freestyle results

Men

1. Nick Troutman

2. Stephen Wright

3. Corey Volt

4. Dave Fusilli

5. Kyle Hull

6. Jared Seiler

7. Dan Piano

8. Kelsey Thompson

9. Bradle Lauder

10. Jeremy Laucks

11. Sam Sutton

12. Stephen Forster

Women

1. Tanya Faux

2. Emily Jackson

3. Devon Barker

4. Ruth Gordon

5. Sarah Hamilton

6. Nikki Kelly

For a few moments, the announcers at Monday's Paddling Life Pro Invitational pretended they wouldn't reveal the winner of the women's portion of the competition.

The ruse didn't last long.

"Come on," the loudspeaker blared. "We won't tell you, but just do the math."

The numbers made things pretty simple. Again. It already had been revealed that Australian Tanya Faux won the morning's Fish Creek race and the afternoon's freestyle competition in Charlie's Hole. It added up to the fourth overall victory for Faux in the fourth-annual event.

"Maybe when I find a gray hair, I'll start watching," she said, considering when she might let someone else win the event. "But I haven't got any yet."

Until then, Faux said fans and competitors can expect her to remain the queen of Steamboat's premier kayaking competition.

Nick Troutman, meanwhile, got his own streak started by winning the men's event. The 20-year-old Canadian tied for last year's championship, but he managed to claim it outright this year thanks to a championship in the freestyle portion of the two-stage competition.

"This was different than previous years," Faux said. "The water is really high, and it made for quite a few new challenges."

This year's event coincided seemingly perfectly with the high-water mark of the Yampa, and that defined the day's competition.

The morning's race down Fish Creek bore little resemblance to last year's as the 19-boater field tore down a fully charged creek. Boulders have been the main obstacles in years past, and bottoming out was a regular occurrence.

Not Monday.

"It was way more challenging," event organizer Eugene Buchanan said. "It is the real-deal whitewater up there now. When you get that much water, it's like a real Class 5 river."

Andrew Holcombe, who tied with Troutman to claim last year's championship, won the men's Fish Creek race, finishing in 2:46.41.

Holcombe's creek speed helped him to a second-place overall finish.

Faux won the women's side of the race, finishing the bubbly whitewater run in 2 minutes, 57.16 seconds.

"It was harder to go fast but in a different way," said Faux, who won the women's race last year, as well. "Last year, it was hard because you had to stay off rocks. This year, it was hard because you didn't want to punch through too many holes and end up with too much water on your chest."

High water also defined the afternoon freestyle competition at Charlie's Hole.

Faux again dominated the women's competition, topping Emily Jackson and Devon Barker in the finals.

Troutman bested Stephen Wright, Corey Volt, Dave Fusilli and Kyle Hull in the finals.

The last rides were all whirling, twirling trick-filled trips in the rushing water of the downtown Steamboat feature.

"Growing up on the Ottawa up in Canada, we have waves similar to this, so I grew up doing a lot of the moves I was doing today," Troutman said.

He wrapped up the overall championship only after out-dueling Wright. Both had crowd-pleasing, technical runs in the finals.

"I was just trying to go as fast as I could and get as much variety as I could," Troutman said. "It's tough with the higher elevation. I'm not quite used to it, but I knew if I wanted to take it home I had to give it all I had."

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