Food, Music and Deep Water Soloing: Tuck Fest

Obstacle courses for children, 5K trail races through the pine and oak trees, art displays and stand-up-paddleboard yoga: all those and 45-foot falls as well comprised the Fourth Annual Tuck Fest.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

During the four-day outdoor festival, attendees could listen to music, learn from nearly 150 clinics, watch films, do yoga, visit outdoor vendors, and even participate in the main climbing event—Deep Water Soloing. The Deep Water Soloing comp was an invite-only event, with a few extra spots for wild cards. The invited athletes were an unusually varied assembling, ranging from current contenders to those some who have moved on from their former comp days to pursue trad climbing, ski mountaineering or gym building: Carlo Traversi, Meagan Martin, Keenan Takahashi, Emily Harrington, Zander Waller, Paige Claassen, Ben Hanna and Zoe Steinberg.

“I think what was really unique was it felt like this year the comp was really made for speed,” said Martin. “This was really exciting for the spectators and I think really boosted the adrenaline of the competitors.”

On the Friday. April 26, climbers established their rankings in an opening seeding round. On April 27, the top 16 athletes from each gender advanced to the knockout rounds of the competition, where they raced head to head on identical routes ranging from 25 to 45 feet tall.

The last two climbers standing were Martin and Hanna, who each walked away with $5,000.

“Tuck Fest was a blast this year!” said Hanna, mirroring Martin’s sentiment. “I’m very impressed with the organizers, it seems like the event just gets better and better every year. I couldn’t be happier taking home the gold this time, moments like this don’t happen often.”

The Tuck Fest took place just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina in the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a facility encompassing 1,300 acres of whitewater rafting, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, zip lining, rope courses, mountain biking and over 40 miles of trails. There were over 35 competitions during the festival, all accessible to attendees after a onetime fee of $30-$45, depending on age and day of registration. After a long day of activities, visitors could relax to the music of headliners like Tyler Childers, The Milk Carton Kids, Fantastic Negrito, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, The Neighbors, and Caamp.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Over its seven-year history, according to a press release by organizers, Tuck Fest has grown from 14,000 attendees to over 50,000 attendees—an increase of over 250 percent.

Mark your calendars; the next Tuck Fest will take place on April 23-26, 2020.


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  • Delaney Miller is a three time U.S. Champion in the open Sports Climbing Series. In total, Miller has won 12 Championship titles between youth and adult, National and Pan-American competitions. She has three years of coaching experience and a degree in Health and Exercise Science from Colorado State University.

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