By Eric Jackson
Just t0 so you know the answer- I didn’t compete today, I watched and cheered from shore. It was a long day and hard to do, but I think I chose wisely as my shoulder injury yesterday in practice was severe enough that I was going to do more damage. However, lots of people did compete and it was a great race.
Dane won the prelims with Isaac Levinson in second and Nick Troutman in Third, and Rush Sturgis in 4th. In Women’s it was Adrienne for the lead in prelims and Jen Grimes, Lou from New Zealand, and then Sage Donnelly.
In finals- top 10 men made the cut and top 5 women.
To set the stage- the water levels were the highest in the history of this race and the times were the fastest. Dane had a 1:37 which is the new course record, thanks to both fast paddling and high water. The high water brought some easier lines in the manky section, but it created a harder “leap of faith” which is a tough narrow boof, with lots of potential for messing it up.
To be clear- lots of people messed it up badly and that determined the race today.
In the men’s class- Hunt Jennings had a solid run, three seconds slow on the top, but a good Leap of Faith and was in second place until the last two people. Joe Morely, the current world extreme racing champion from England was also fast until the last drop and spun out and lost a few seconds, but pulled a lead over Hunt.
Rush Sturgis petoned the wall and crashed, flipped, and went from 4th to below 5th. Nick Troutman went from 3rd in prelims to last with a nasty spin into the right wall at the bottom drop and a long time to get out of trouble.
Isaac had a great run from top to bottom and came in at 140 to take the lead from Hunt. Dane was last and had a near perfect run from top to the final drop where he subbed out, popped up on the right wall, flipped, and had to turn around and came in at a 143 in second place. He was super bummed to have that happen, but was not the only one.
In the women’s class the big story was Sage Donnelly at age 13 took second place with a great top to bottom run. Martina Wegman had a great first run in prelims, then bad second run, but finished up with a fast third run in finals to take the win. Louise Jull got third, Adrienne got 4th with a crash in the final drop, and Jen Grimes was fifth with some issues in her final run.
The TV crews were out in force and the GoPro media team working hard too. Safety run by Mike Mathers was looking sharp as always and the run was ideal with the higher water.
Great opening event for the 2014 Gopro Games.. Click here for Full Results:
Tomorrow the “keystone” event for the GoPro Games will be the Freestyle Kayak event under the “international bridge” in downtown, Vail. It will be prelims at 1pm to cut to the “semi-finals” which will be top 10 men. Semi-Finals and Finals will take place on Saturday. The “Downriver Sprint” will also take place on Saturday at 8am. The Karma Unlimited is my boat of choice for this event and will be my first race in this awesome speed boat, assuming my shoulder can handle it.
I am also signed up for the SUP Cross which I won last year in the Jackson Kayak SUPerCharger, upsetting a few folks who didn’t expect me to go from 4 starting position on every start to the lead position each round and for the final win. This year I am also going to have to work my way from 4th place off the start to the lead position if I want to win because I am not doing the downriver race in SUP and won’t be seeded.
The weather and water in Vail has been ideal with mid-70′s and high water, but no flooding. Tonight we’ll see clouds and tomorrow even more and cooler weather. I think the chances of flooding is now very small, meaning we should be in good shape for the rest of the weekend.
Of course Sunday is the “8 Ball” competition and that is always a crowd favorite.
until the next event is over- this is EJ signing off!