By Eric Jackson
New England Championships were on Saturday and the Triple Crown on Sunday. No awards for individual events on Sunday, instead the focus is solely on how well you can do in all three combined. All around kayaking skills based on Slalom Racing, Downriver Racing, and Freestyle paddling. The top 8 men and top 5 Women from the combined events on Saturday got to compete on Sunday. Water levels and weather were both perfect for the event. We met at the put in at 8am, again, and spent the day competing. Wildwater was first. I had a great run until I misjudged the finish line by about 100 yards and stopped paddling at the first group of cheering people. Just hours before I commented to somebody that you have to be an “idiot” to stop before you cross the finish line… Well, I was an idiot. I was lucky enough to still get second place right after Danny Stock, who had a good time at 3:56. I was a 3:55 the day before and felt I had a faster run this time, but my finish was giving away some amount of seconds that I can’t really guess just how many. Jessie Stone won the downriver beating out Emily this time by having good lines and paddling fast.
We did slalom next and it was a great race between Danny and I. I went first and put down a 101 plus 2 seconds in penalties. Danny went second and put down a 99.63 clean. I went up for my second run and told Danny I would do my best to make him work for the win and beat his time. I sprinted out of the start and focused on my lines and cleaned up my upstream gates as well as drove harder. I didn’t touch any gates and finished with a 99.3, .3 seconds faster than Danny’s first run. Danny lined up for his second run and was on fire from the start, leaving no energy on the table and paddling amazingly smooth and fast at the same time. He had a bobble at Gate 13 and got a penalty. I didn’t see the pole move when I was watching, but Billy and Gary apparently did. (the judges) Danny finished with a 98.5, a great run, but with 2 seconds in penalties for a 100.5. I was quite happy to win this race against such an amazing slalom racer.
Freestyle came up next and I also won that event on Saturday, but Nick was looking quite fired up for today. My first run was a 720 and Nick’s an 810. Both of us having good freestyle through a rapid rides and I knew there wasn’t too much more we could do. Nick did his second run and improved his score to 880. I got a couple of extra moves on my second run to leapfrog Nick and got a 915 to take the lead going into the final run. Nick went again and really nailed his moves down the rapid and then in the hole to get a 1010. I followed suit on the way down the rapid but was going fast and furious in the hole and flushed on a move that I tried to do too fast and not set up enough. Game over for my win, but a great win for Nick.
In the women’s Class it was a battle between Jessie Stone and Emily. Jessie had a 170 and Emily a 360 on first rides. Nobody else broke a 100 point ride in finals as it was a tough rapid/hole to score in and you can’t paddle back into the hole. It was great to see Emily performing so well and having a great time doing it. She is clearly ready for competing again after her break with Tucker (a short break, but long for her!) Emily won overall with Jessie Stone in second and Hailey Thompson in third.
Any Kulhberg was an amazing host/organizer once again! Thanks Andy!
here are the results:
We headed to “Waveasaurus” on the Connecticut River on Monday Am to surf the 63,000 cfs river. The wave was super fun with every wave move available both directions, and a big hole next to it. Reminded me of a straighter Kelly’s Whitewater Park wave. Super fun stuff.