1-usa-men-clay-jason-stephen-dustin-ej-and-alternate-judThe 2011 USA Team consists of individuals who came out to Missoula, MT, competed against the best freestyle paddlers in the USA in their class, and peformed well enough to secure their spot.   Since there are very few spots available,  many incredible paddlers are still left behind for the 2011 Worlds in Germany.     The best they can hope for is to do better in the 2013 USA Team Trials for the Worlds at NOC that year.

Brennan’s Wave (named after the late Brennan Guth, of Missoula)  was the perfect place to compete to see who will do well in Plattling.    What was really cool to see, is the level of the USA paddlers continue to rise, assuring that we’ll be competitive in the world, against teams from as many as 50 countries in 2011.   

How do I know that our paddlers are doing so well in comparison, when they are not competing directly against them here?    The scores.    Junior paddlers Dane and Jason Craig scoring 1,200 point rides,   All Senior men scoring 1,000-1,300 point rides,  the women, junior women, and c1 scores were all impressively high.   Even the OC1’s were doing solid rides.

We have 11 months until the World Championships.    That is alot of training time for both USA paddlers, and the rest of the world.    There are incredible athletes from Europe, Central/South America, Africa, New Zealand, and Australia.    There are Japanese that are unbelievable paddlers and train very hard as well.    Where will we all sit next year when the event begins?   Hard to say.    Of course, there are those neighbors to the North, the Canadians.     Their Team Trials are in August.    Nick Troutman, Ruth Gordon are just two examples of the power of the Canadian Teams.   

For me, it was my first time having to come and make the team since trials in 2004 for the 2005 worlds.    I won the 2005 World Championships earning me a spot on the Buseater World’s Team in 2007, and then won the 2007 Worlds giving me a spot on the 2009 team.  Nick beat me in 2009, and my silver medal wasn’t worth much in terms of a free ride into the 2011 worlds.   I took this team trials seriously and my training and focus paid off.    I won prelims, assuring that I made the first cut down to the top 10, and then the cut for all of the marbles, from 10 to 5 where the team is determined,  I won that one as well.    I really didn’t want to squeek in and while i can’t do anything about my competitors rides,  I can do the best I can for myself and keep my fingers crossed.   After I made the team, the pressure was off myself and I slept like a baby that night!     My next team trials, hopefully won’t be for a long time (I am hoping to win my 5th World Championships next year and get a free ride into the USA Worlds in 2013).

Dane and Emily are on the team with me (or I am on the team with them :)).    Paddling along side of my kids at this level of competition is unreal.   A family affair in every way.    It is something that just feels right and i can’t imagine the idea of “retiring”.    Who knows, maybe KC will make the Team one day and I’ll still be on the team too.   hmmm…. interesting.

We’ll, thanks to everyone who supports me and my family by paddling a Jackson Kayak.     I truly appreciate the support.    Having this business isn’t easy, and the challenge is not unlike competition.    We win some and lose some.       Exciting!

OK, breakfast time, then off to Idaha- to see Kelly’s Whitewater Park, the Payettes, and then Boise!!!

:)EJ

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