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Tryweryn Festival 2023

Location: National Whitewater Centre, Bala

Date: 21st – 23rd July 2023

The Tryweryn Festival is an exciting fun-filled event, located in Bala at The National Whitewater Centre. This awesome event is jam-packed full of events, from heart racing competitions to chilled events for everyone to have fun. The weather wasn’t the best for July, but even with river levels rising across Wales, there was still a great turnout!

On Saturday morning I was up and ready, heading down to the centre to sign up for the NRS Mass Start Race, where 40 men and 27 women battle their way down the river for 3-4 minutes through rapids until they reach the finish.

The first 27 men and 13 women continue onto the next round of extreme boater cross which is a shorter section starting from a ramp standing 15ft tall. Once they launch, they catch eddies and pass through rocks and holes whilst racing in threes to the finish line where the winner of each heat passes through to the final. It was amazing to see so many people with massive smiles on their faces, racing their friends and really pushing themselves.

In the afternoon, Radical Rider hosted their event Retro Rodeo, which is on the most popular wave on the river, right outside the cafe! This event is all about who can stay on the wave the longest while pulling off some cool moves and battling to stay on the wave the longest. The crowd’s favourite move must have been the “Banana Man”, where one of the young local shredders, Reece Marsden, pulled a banana out of his PFD and ate it whilst surfing on the wave the crowd went literally bananas! The atmosphere around the wave is something special, and there were all sorts of cool demo boats to try for this event!

The next event isn’t for the faint-hearted; the Palm Equipment enduro is a race from the top of ‘Graveyard’ where paddlers race to the bottom, jump out of their boat and run/walk back to the top. They have 30 minutes to get as many laps as they can whilst trying to conserve energy for the run back up. It was very impressive to watch.

The winning number of laps this year was 7.5 which is super impressive and very hard-going, dodging rafts and kayaks on the way down and swerving spectators on the run back up.

Pyranha Kayaks’ event this year was “Play The River.” This was located at the top of the ‘Graveyard’ rapid where the river’s deepest eddy line is. There were demos including the Firecracker, Ozone, and Ripper 2 for anyone to use. We had a massive range of paddlers just enjoying themselves doing moves they were comfortable with, and some recklessly vertical shredders throwing some awesome combos, which was also great to see. There was a wide range of prizes for everyone involved if they did something cool or were keen to try new things. It was fantastic to see so many people with smiles on their faces cheering everyone on! Thank you to everyone involved.

After a long day’s paddling, the dam shut off, the river level dropped and everyone got party-ready. Food was served in the tent just before prize giving for each individual event! The night ended with a live band and a party!

Sunday started off with a few laps of the river with a great bunch of paddlers throwing fun moves and trying new ones! It was amazing to see so many people demoing boats over the weekend, I even managed to take a few out for a spin. My favourite had to be the Scorch X, the rocker and length of this boat is just something else, the initial skip off the ramp was insane there was no drag I just skimmed. It boofs so easily and high that I don’t think I got a drop of water on me!

Around lunch time we headed to the top site for the Beginners Boater X which was hosted by Pyranha. This event was for the paddlers who are just starting off or just in it for a bit of fun with a less competitive vibe. This race was from the chipper to the top eddy of ‘Graveyard’; it had eddies to catch and a tiki mask to throw your paddle through for more fun. We had twelve participants overall four in each heat all laughing their way down!

This was the last event I went to over the weekend but there were plenty more! It was fantastic to see so many faces, old and new on the water over this amazing weekend.

I just want to say a massive thank you to all involved! Hopefully see you all on the water soon.

Daniel Jones