Before you read too far- total results listed tomorrow!
The Nantahala Outdoor Center put on a great event for the World Cup final. Lots of spectators, TV screens everywhere to watch the results, live online streaming with the scoreboard as well, and a hole that they had made for the World Championships. A huge undertaking that is very much appreciated by athletes worldwide!
The USA Paddlers got a ton of experience and placed very well. Since this is an open event that anyone can enter (from the USA- most countries only sent their national teams) there were many Team USA hopefuls for next year competing. I think we’ll see a very strong Team USA next year as team trials will be at NOC in the spring and both USA Team members and non-team members did very well! We won the Women’s Class (Emily Jackson), the C1 Class (Dane Jackson), the Men’s Squirt class (Dane Jackson), the Junior men’s class (Hunter Katich), and the Oc1 class (Seth Chappelle). Men’s kayak saw Dane Jackson get a 2nd place overall, while Peter Csonka from Slovakia took the honors this year (he is two time world cup winner and two time silver medalist in the World Championships). Women’s Squirt was taken by Claire O’hara from England, and Junior Women’s was taken by Nouria Fontane from Spain.
The event was quite impressive with lots of great rides and some tough ones as well. For me the men’s kayak finals was the best part of the event to watch. Nick Troutman started it off with a 950 point ride and was winning after everyone’s first run. After second runs Peter jumped in the lead with a 1,246 and Nick was in second. Then on third runs, Jaquime and Jason Craig jumped ahead of him with over 1,000 point rides. Dane went and got a 1,375 to pull ahead of Peter, but then he put down a 1,500 point ride to take the top spot for the third rodeo in a row! Awesome rides. Watching the rides the style couldn’t be more different. Peter is fast and clean, but low or under the water. Dane is explosive and high out of the water but a move or two less. In the USA the huge air bonuses are much bigger than in ICF and we train that way in the Jackson land, with Stephen Wright leading that charge normally. Our boats aren’t as small and low volume. Peter is 200+ pounds and in a smaller boat than I am in at 160. Different style, but both are fun to watch.
The ladies finals were super fun to watch as well with Ruth taking the lead on first runs and Emily pulling into second on her second run and Claire in third. On the final run of the day Claire also pulled out the winning run and had the crowd on their feet! Awesome suspense and great “grande finale’” !
Awards were nice- with Jez as the MC, they forgot to have medals for the 2nd and 3rd place finishers for the overall World Cup as well as some classes for the day, but the athletes handled it quite well and rolled with it.
All in all NOC did a great job. Sutton Bacon, the president of NOC, has the right attitude to host the World Championships next year and it will be a great event for the competitors and the spectators alike!
Meanwhile- you’ll see me next at Gauley Festival, then in Europe for Kanumesse, the Noguera River Festival in Sort, Spain, and then the Sickline Race in Austria for the next three weekends!