By Eric Jackson
I am driving to Colorado from Wisconsin today, switching gears from fishing to whitewater. I have had some great whitewater kayaking this season already, with high water everywhere, but I have 4 competitions in a row coming up. We’ll start off in BV with CKS Paddlefest, paddling the Arkansas River and training at the BV Whitewater Park for USA Team Trials. I have represented the USA Team for Freestyle at every world championships since 1993, except for one, 2015 on the Ottawa, where I messed up team trials in Glenwood. I am hoping to get myself back on the team again this year with a solid performance next week. Somebody was asking me what my Worlds and Pre-Worlds, or World Cup finishes were and I never got to respond, sorry…
1993 World Championships, Ocoee- 1st Place
1995 World CHampionships- Augsburg, Germany- 13th place
1996 Pre-World Championship- Ottawa River, Canada- 6th place
1997 World Championships- Ottawa River, Canada- 2nd place
1998 Pre-World Championships, Taupo, New Zealand- 4th place
1999 World Championships- Taupo, New Zealand- 9th place
2000 Pre-World Championships- Sort, Spain- 1st place
2001 World Championships- Sort, Spain- 1st place
2002 Pre-World Championships- Graz, Austria- 5th Place
2003 World Championships- Graz, Austria- 4th place
2004 Pre-World Championships- Penrith, Australia- 1st Place
2005 World Championships- Penrith, Australia- 1st Place
2006 World Cup- USA/Canada- 1st Place
2007 World Championships- Ottawa, Canada- 1st Place
2008 World Cup- Europe- 5th place
2009 World Championships- Thun, Switzerland, 2nd Place
2010 World Cup- Europe- 4th Place
2011 World Championships- Plattling, Germany- 11th Place
2012 World Cup- North America- 5th Place
2013 World Championships- North Carolina, USA- 8th place
2014 World Cup- didn’t do it
2015 World Championships- didn’t make team
This year’s World Championships are in Argentina, very cool.
I have two boats I’ll be competing in over the next month in Colorado- the Rock Star and the Nirvana. I also have my Antix for the Numbers and some other fun runs out here. The mold for the Nirvana is arriving at the factory in a week. I am SO excited about having a production Nirvana finally! Dane won every race up in Canada in the Nirvana prototype and people have been fighting over who gets to paddle it next. This creek boat isn’t just a fast 9′ boat, it is also the easiest to paddle, driest bow, most stable creek boat out there. It will revolutionize people’s expectations of what a creek boat should paddle like. I am excited to race Homestake Creek at the GoPro Games in it! Super technical, steep, and a tough course to do well.
My Rock Star is going to get some good use with USA Team Trials in BV, Animas River Days, and then GoPro Games. There is something special about playing in the holes and on the waves in a freestyle kayak that you can’t duplicate any other way I am aware of.
The water at Rock Island is a great temperature for swimming- 80 degrees… Colorado, 30’s. I will have to get used to that again. Something tells me my suntan will be fading over the next few weeks.