Typhoon Tommy tears up the water


Watersports returned to River Days with jet ski racing and freestyle events performed by Typhoon Tommy (Thomas Nuttall) and the USA Freestyle team. This is the second year Nuttall has appeared at River Days, this time bringing the Great Lakes Watercross team to participate in the racing aspects of the weekend. Watersports have been a key part of River Days since the beginning, and this season was no different.

With members across the eastern portion of the United States, both the USA Freestyle and the Great Lakes watercross athletes traveled far in anticipation of this event.

“We have people from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois,” explained Nuttall.

River Days is something Nuttall personally enjoys and has been looking forward to for some time.

“I love River Days,” says Nuttall. “I always love it here. I feel like I fit in here like a foot in a shoe”.

Although the weekend had been plagued continuously with threats of rain, Typhoon Tommy made the best of it.

“A challenge is just an opportunity to shine. People look at the weather being bad and this is a good way to show people that we can adapt,” he said.

Watersports have been a long-standing tradition for River days. Tim Wolfe, Friends of Portsmouth board member, claimed, explaining the importance of this historic event.

“It’s important to bring back the memories that we had as kids of River Days,” explained Wolfe.

Wolfe went on to explain Nuttall’s role in River Days and hopes to have jet ski performances as a continuation for the future.

“He’s [Nuttall] one of the most energetic human beings I’ve ever met. We met him back in 2019, when he first came to the races, and, if it was up to me, we’d have him every year. He’s a big part of River Days now,” said Wolfe.

Spectators came by the thousands, despite the rain, to watch the free performance. Smiles were seen throughout the crowd as the athletes entertained with back flips and other freestyle moves. The racing portion also captivated individuals’ attention as jet skiers sped through the course in rapid succession.

There were thousands of guests over the course of the weekend, all watching the spectacle of the watersport performers.

“I think the guys on the water have a lot of talent and it is really cool they made it to River Days to show off what they can do,” onlooker Amber Ross said. “I think this is the type of stuff that gives kids and people stuff to remember and be able to look back on.”

The River Days festival has always been one of the largest events for the city of Portsmouth. It’s a great chance to get out of the house and have fun with free entry. With food vendors, watersport events, and children’s events hosted by the Candyland Children’s Museum, there’s truly an opportunity for people of all ages to have fun.

River Days is managed by and made possible by the Friends of Portsmouth, a 501(C)3 non-profit organization serving the downtown area of Portsmouth. For more information, visit www.friendsofportsmouth.com

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