Red Bull athlete and pro kayaker Rafa Ortiz will be in Fresno on Tuesday for a special screening of the film “Chasing Niagara” at the Tower Theatre.
The film follows Ortiz, now 29, on a journey to become the first person to successfully kayak the 167-foot Niagara Falls. In 1990, Jesse Sharpe died attempting the feat in a decked canoe.
It begins in 2011 and tracks Ortiz’s preparation at waterfalls in Mexico and the Pacific Northwest alongside filmmaker and fellow pro kayaker Rush Sturges and a small team of friends. Their training grounds span from the deep canyons in Veracruz, Mexico, to the 186-foot Palouse Falls in Washington.
The hour-long documentary follows Ortiz and friends as they test themselves – exposing the fragility of life and death for the sake of a dream.
“There’s nothing as good as constantly challenging ourselves,” Ortiz said in a phone interview. “I feel like if we push ourselves out of comfort zones and further away from our limits, we get to do these amazing things and that’s the coolest part.”
The Mexico City native is also fond of the whitewater runs in the central Sierra Nevada. Earlier this summer, he took a six-day expedition down the middle fork of the Kings River, hiking 13 miles into Kings Canyon through Bishop Pass while hauling 100-plus pounds of gear.
“The Kings River was worth the two-day hike just to get in,” he said.
Tickets for “Chasing Niagara” cost $12 per person. All ages are welcome. The film will screen at 7 p.m. After the screening, Ortiz will host a Q&A.
Great Sierra River Cleanup – Volunteers are needed Saturday to help remove trash and restore waterways throughout the Sierra Nevada for the annual Great Sierra River Cleanup – a coordinated effort across the state coinciding with Coastal Cleanup Day.
Last year, volunteers pulled more than 800 tons from across the state, including nearly 3,000 pounds of junk from multiple sites along a 16-mile stretch of the San Joaquin River. Helpers pulled out small trash and big trash, including a plastic dinosaur, a car fender and old mining machinery.
There will be a variety of cleanup events in the Fresno area.
The River Tree Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. at the McDonald’s in the The Marketplace at El Paseo near Herndon and Highway 99 before heading out to Riverbottom Park. No sign-ups necessary, just meet on time and be ready to help. Gloves and trash bags will be provided.
On Sunday, volunteers will help clean up the island in the San Joaquin River at Woodward Park. Meet at the Starbucks across the street from the park at 7:30 a.m. or at the picnic kiosk down by the river at 8 a.m.
The San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust is hosting a pair of events at Sycamore Island to clean up the area and remove invasive plants. Sign-ups are required and can be done at www.riverparkway.org.
Next weekend, volunteers from the Sierra Foothill Conservancy will host their McKenzie Preserve Highway cleanup along three miles of Auberry Road.
Mile High Tri – The annual USA Triathlon-sanctioned event returns Saturday to Shaver Lake.
The Mile High Triathlon features two courses, Sprint and Olympic, that can be done individually or as part of a relay.
The Sprint course features a 400-yard swim, 11.4-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run. The Olympic course has a 1,200-yard swim, 25-mile ride and 6.2-mile run on the Camp Edison trails.
Wetsuits are allowed. Registration starts at $110 for the Sprint and $125 for the Olympic. Those not looking to bike or swim can sign up for 5K or 10K run/walks. Registration for the run/walks starts at $25.
Sign up online or in person on the day of the event from 6:30-7:30 a.m. Races will start at 8 a.m. (Olympic), 8:30 a.m. (Sprint) and 8:40 a.m. (run/walk).
Grizzly Century returns – The Grizzly Century is making a comeback Oct. 1 after missing last year due to smoke and fires.
The event boasts one of the most scenic 100-mile rides in the state and also offers three other options – all of which start and finish in North Fork.
Cyclists can also select between the 100-mile Grizzly century, 60-mile (100K) Metric Century, 26-mile Loop the Lake course and the Byway Grinder, which bypasses Grizzly Road and includes nine-plus miles of gravel and dirt roads.
Sign-ups begin at $35 for the 24-mile ride and $50 for the Metric and Grizzly rides. Tandem options also are available. Proceeds from the race will go towards the Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway, town restoration and other projects in the North Fork community. Entry fees include breakfast, dinner and rest stop food. Register before Sept. 20 to receive a free shirt.
Red Bull Curb Kings – Brazilian pro street skateboarder Felipe Gustavo will be in Fresno on Saturday for the Red Bull Curb Kings event.
The event is a competition for local skaters to show off their skills on a course filled with modified parking blocks, double-sided curbs and small ledges. The curb skateboarding competition will be judged in 10-minute jam sessions. Skateboarders 18 and older, of all skill sets, are encouraged to participate. Sign-ups will begin at 10:30 a.m., with competition running noon to 3 p.m.
Where: Bitwise South Stadium parking lot (700 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, 93721)
Huge catch – Nine-year-old Sawyer Kolowith made the catch of a lifetime, hauling in massive white sturgeon in the Snake River near Glenn’s Ferry, Idaho, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Sawyer fought the fish for 1 hour, 10 minutes before releasing it. The catch measured at 8 feet, 7 inches and weighed an estimated 220-plus pounds.