By Eric Jackson
The 2017 World Freestyle Kayak Championships ended in fireworks, rain, and some epic rides last night. Held in the desert, with most days in the 90′s and dusty, we had a reprieve that included cool rains last night that threatened to close down the event if the lightning got any worse. Luckily it went off without a hitch, and the show was spectacular.
In the Junior Women’s class it was a battle between Ottie from England and Sage from the USA. Both paddling the Jackson Kayak Rock Star small and both throwing big. Ottie took the gold with a 500+ point ride and Sage not far behind, missing one of her key moves. Olivia, also from the USA took Bronze with some high flying loop moves in her Rock Star.
In the Junior Men’s class it was the Tom Dolle show from France, paddling his Competition plastic Rock Star Small as well. Tom threw a 1700 point ride to take it from Alex from England (Rock Star Medium) and Harry from England took the bronze in a Gui Gui.
In the C1 Class Dane Jackson put down a strong first ride of 1200 points and that stood to the end with Sebastian from France paddling a Gui gui having an amazing ride for second and Lucas from Czech Republic taking the Bronze in a Vladja.
In the Women’s Class- Claire Ohara had the single biggest ride of the competition for women in her finals and it was awesome to watch posting over 900 points to take the gold in her Rock Star. Marlene from France (Rock Star) was not far behind with over 700 points and Hitomi from Japan (Gui Gui) taking the Bronze on her final ride.
In the Men’s Class- Dane scored a 1600 point ride on his first ride (Rock Star) That score held until the final round when Quim Fontane (Spain, Gui Gui) threw a 1700 point ride to take the lead and then Dane’s final ride flushed on his last move and he lost his first round in a long time, taking the silver. Sebastian took the Bronze, giving him two medals in this worlds as well. (Gui Gui) Stephen Wright threw some sweet moves and was super fun to watch at this worlds as well with his own style. This is the first worlds he has been to but not medaled in.
Emily started off in second place in prelims but didn’t make it to the finals, making it her lowest finish in a freestyle competition, but she was paddling very well in practice and her first round.
I trained hard for this competition, but the last 2 years have not be centered around winning freestyle competitions like it has been for the 20 years before. I had 1700 point rides in me, but never got them in practice here or in the competition. 1000 seemed to be where I was paddling at and that put me in 15th place, my lowest finish in a world championships, but it was fun striving to make the finals even if I didn’t make it.
There are a lot of new faces that are looking really good here; new juniors, new seniors as well. The next World Championships will be epic and another battle for the top spots. It will be in Sort, Spain (where I won the 2001 World Championships) in 2019. I hope to see you there!
Jackson Kayak Rock Star Medal Count:
Rock Star 9 (5 golds, 3 silvers, 1 bronze)
Gui Gui 5 (1 gold)
Vladja 1 (bronze)