Reno River Festival, 2011

This weekend I competed in The Reno River Festival where I had a great time and I was happy to see all of my friends. I competed in freestyle on Friday and I was 2nd behind Hannah Kertesz, and Emery Tillman was 3rd. It was held in hole 3 on the North Channel but the water was very high so it was flushy. We each had 3 rides and the best ride counted. Even though it was flushy I still was able to get my loop, round house, and spin. For Men’s Freestyle Stephen Wright, Eric Jackson, and Dustin Urban were the top 3. For Women’s Freestyle Ruth Gordan Ebens, Emily Jackson, and Erin Clancy were the top 3. Saturday was the slalom race and I was 3rd in Women’s open and E.J. was 1st in men’s open. The weather was perfect and the river was even higher making it a challenging course. Thanks for the great course Charlie! Sunday was boater cross and I made it into the 2nd round where I took a paddle to my face so I finished 4th. As always, I enjoyed meeting people and talking to kids about kayaking throughout the weekend, and the festival was also a great fundraiser for my friend Jason Craig who was injured in a kayaking accident and my friend Daniel and I picked the raffle tickets for great prizes. 

Thank you for putting on a great event!

King of the Hole
King of the Hole
freestyle podium
freestyle podium
Jason Craig Fundraising raffle
Jason Craig Fundraising raffle

Awesome New Boat Color!

I just received my new Rasta (red, yellow, and green) Shooting Star kid’s playboat and I love it! Jackson Kayak also has Goth available (green, white, and black) as a standard color for boats now. The first thing I did was head down to the Reno Whitewater Park to try it out on a nice, high flow of about 900 cfs. It was super easy to loop and cartwheel. I was also able to try my new orange Lightning Freeride Junior paddle available through Jackson kayak, and it’s awesome! It is very light and easy to get used too.

With a very high snowpack this year, all of California and Nevada’s rivers are running high and will be for sometime, so I am spending lots of time in my Jackson Sidekick too. It is a very stable river runner and creek boat that I have been using since I was 7 and ran most of the rapids on the Grand Canyon in. Mom always said I looked like a weeble that wobbled but wouldn’t fall down! It boofs like a dream, punches holes easily, and pops up from drops like a cork. If you have a child who wants to get into kayaking, this is the perfect boat to start them in!

Right now, I am packing my van to head down to Kernville, Ca. for the Kernriver Festival where I hope to compete in the Brush Creek Race (if it’s not too high!) and slalom race. I will also be doing some fundraising for my friend and teammate Jason Craig, so if you like earrings, look for me!  Then it’s home to prepare for the Reno River Festival! Hope to see you there!

My First Personal Descent of the Year!

Last week I was able to do a personal first decent, my first one for the year! It was E to P on the South Yuba River near Nevada City, Ca. It is a class 4 river and it was lots of fun and had a couple a really cool boofs. My favorite rapids were called Corner Pocket, and  Door #3. The water was a little low but perfect for my first run, and the weather was perfect and sunny.  The next day, we ran over to the NF of the American and ran Chamberlain Falls, a river that I had run for the first time last year. Once again we had beautiful weather and I had a great time. My favorite rapid on Chamberlain is called Bogus Thunder. It has a really fun ferry and a couple of holes you have to punch. Unfortunately, no one had a camera so I don't have any pictures. It is starting to cool down in California and Nevada again, but there is always a river running somewhere. See you on the river, Sage

Brush Creek Video!

This year I was able to head down to Kernville, Ca and run Brush Creek, a class 4 creek that drops into the Kern River. It has lots of drops and slides, the biggest being a 20 foot waterfall! I had a blast! This is now my new favorite river. I also entered the Brush Creek Triple Crown series where I was the youngest contestant and placed 36th out of 39 on the down river race, 17th in the extreme slalom race and then I was 1st in the standard slalom race and ended up being top female overall! I also was able to qualify for Jr. Olympics at NOC this year and am very excited. Please check out this vidoe of mainly Triple Drop where the extreme slalom race was held. Sage Donnelly - Brush Creek, 2010

Filming action TV and Lobin Run on the Feather

Carls Kitchen, or Right of Right





This week was a VERY big week for me. It started on Wednesday on the American River where I filmed a kids action TV show pilot  that will most likely be on Kids Discovery, Nickelodeon, or ABC. I was the kayaking kid and I taught the host kids how to wet water exit and even roll. Mom and Dad took them down C to G in Dynamic Duos and a few other kids in Sidekicks and Punk Rockers and we all had a blast!  The next day Dad took each kid through Trouble Maker in the Duo, then they hopped in a raft while I was in my kayak and we all went down the gorge. We wrapped up filming late Friday evening and headed up to the Feather River for a scheduled American Whitewater release. My friend Lance recently had shoulder surgery and really wanted to paddle, so he and another friend named Mike borrowed the Dynamic Duo and took it down the Rock Creek class 3 section twice. They had a ball! Then I went down the Class 4 Lobin section with my Dad, Colin Kemp, Toby Ebens, and several other Reno boaters including Newt, Debbie, and Noah. It was my first time down this section and I was nervous, but after the first 4 rapids, I relaxed, smiled and really enjoyed it. My Sidekick was great at boofing and punching holes. This is one of my favorite class 4 rivers. Next week, the Pitt-another one of my favorites and also a scheduled AW release!

North Fork of the Feather






Surfing First Threat

Sage in First Threat After looking at it all year, this week I finally got up the nerve to surf First Threat on the South Fork of the American River.  It is a large bouncy wave hole that is very intimidating, but with the encouragement of a lot of people (thanks Mike and Hilde!) I finally hopped in and had a great ride.  It is very easy to catch, but once you are in it you can't see up river so a look out has to tell you when a raft or kayak is coming.  Now I am working on spinning in it without flipping or flushing so I can compete in the American River Festival Rodeo.

More surfing

Dad and his new Jackson All-Star

Sage and Dad on the American

Dad took his new custom green and black All-Star out for it’s maiden voyage today and he had a blast.  He took it down Chili Bar on the American to test it on Maya and First Threat and had the fastest spins Iv’e ever seen.  It was hard to wipe the grin from his face!  We ran into Hilde and Mike at First Threat and Hilde was using Ruth Gordons new Star while Ruth is at worlds and Hilde was super excited about the response of the new boat and how quick it was. Eventually Mike was able to try it and he wouldn’t give it back to her! Both were excited about it’s speed and handling and how it was not as aggressive as they thought it would be-making playing on waves and holes even more fun.  I was so inspired by their enthusiasm that I managed to get my first spins in Maya and finally surfed First Threat!  I can’t wait to get a new orange/white Shooting Star some day.  By the way-my dad recieved about 20 complements on how cool his new boat looked!

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Perfect weekend, kayaking the American and Climbing at Phantom Spires

Climbing at Phantom Spires

Climbing at Phantom Spires

I had a perfect weekend!  I spent Saturday kayaking Chili Bar on the American and had a blast surfing Maya, then on Sunday I spent the day climbing at Phantom Spires by Kyburz, Ca.  I love this area because the hike in is short and the climbing is great.  I climbed my favorite lie back and Mom and Dad played a lot on a 5.10b crack.  We also had a lot of inter-action with a rattle snake that was sunning itself along our route.  I named him fatty because he was the fattest snake I've ever seen!

Truckee River Foundation Kids Safety Fair

Teaching River Saftey

Truckee River Safety Fair, 2009

We just wrapped up another successful safety fair sponsored by the Truckee River Foundation and I was lucky enough to help! We had about 120 kids from the ages of 4 to 14 show up to get a free helmet, pfd and water shoes and learn how to safely float through the rapids on a river. The most important thing I learned was to never dive head first into a river because you can not see the bottom, and always make sure someone has an eye on you. All the kids separated into age groups and I helped out with the little kids, which was mostly teaching the parents about water safety, and that most drownings happen in the presents of an adult. After each class, the kids received a free t-shirt and ice cream and then decorated their helmets at a station set up by the girl scouts. Some of the designs were super neat. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped!


Sage Donnelly

Peace helmet

Debbie explaining proper swimming