Paige Claassen - Tuckfest 2019 Recap
This past weekend, the La Sportiva Team headed out to Charlotte, North Carolina to compete in the Deep Water Solo Competition at Tuckfest 2019. Here's a recap of the weekend...
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This past weekend marked the 7th annual Tuckfest, the most fun water-centric athletics festival on the planet. Night obstacle courses, SUP yoga, and a dog jog? You can do it all.
But the main attraction of the weekend, for athletes and spectators alike, is the deep water solo competition. 32 men and women accepted invitations to the Tuckfest DWS event and battled it out 45 feet above the pool. In the race to the top, the fastest competitor to match the final hold claims gold.
La Sportiva athletes Emily Harrington, Keenan Takahashi, Arjan de Kock, and I (Paige Claassen) tested our speed skills and over-water bravery at Tuckfest. Competitors of this revered competition fall into two categories: those who exit the water like dolphins breaching at sunset, and those who exit as cats drowning in a swamp.
As a lover of land, I fall into the latter category. I’m nervous to fall into the water from any height, let alone 45 feet, for fear of exploding an eardrum or bruising a few ribs, and once safely underwater, I can’t gain the surface fast enough.
But these feelings of trepidation could not dampen my enthusiasm for Tuckfest. Somehow, the atmosphere constructed by thousands of high spirited attendees, with zipliners buzzing overhead and kayakers hucking it over the rapid next door got me in the mood to climb my fastest over a pool of icy cold water (thanks to a hail storm that ripped through the venue in the middle of the women’s seeding round).
Beyond the crowd’s excitement, competitors from around the country are eager to cheer one another on, often waiting at the top of the route for their racemate to finish. It’s a competition of camaraderie, which is, of course, the best kind of competition.
While speed climbing is not my forte, nor the specialty of Emily, Keenan, or Arjan, there’s nothing like racing a fellow competitor to push us towards our best. The single-elimination format of the competition means we each had one opportunity per round to prove we belonged in the next. Emily, Keenan, and I were each eliminated in the second round, while Arjan made a fourth-place finish in the final round.
Alas, La Sportiva athletes were not the speediest competitors of the weekend, but dare I say we had the most fun and certainly the most team spirit.
At Tuckfest, as in life, we know what counts.
Photos by ©Quinn Carrasco and © Cristina Guzman
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PAIGE CLAASSEN has been a member of the La Sportiva Climbing Team for 9 years.
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