2015- My Best Worlds Finish Yet

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The 2015 Freestyle Kayak World Championships was a fantastic experience for me. Worlds this year were held on the Ottawa River in Ontario, Canada. The feature for the competition was Garburator wave, which is fast, dynamic and powerful, and showcased a great display of freestyle competition. This years worlds had around 200 competitors from 29 different countries present to showcase their skills and have their shot at a world title.

There were many highlights throughout the competition and many upsets as well. There are too many different stories to really cover them all. One tremendous accomplishment at this years world champs was the Ugandan Freestyle team overcoming many obstacles to make it to Canada and compete in the freestyle worlds for the first time.

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For me personally, I was just very excited to have qualified for the US team again and to have the opportunity to compete in the worlds another year. This was my 6th time competing at the world championships. The last two worlds I competed at I finished in 4th place. Coming in to this years worlds my main goal was to make the top 5 and be qualified to compete in finals. Most competitions for kayaking are just over a weekend and completed in one or two days. Worlds are different because the competition is spread over a whole week. As a competitor you have to stay mentally and physically prepared and ready to compete at the top of your game for many days in a row. Over the summer I was busy with work and school and was unable to travel and practice paddling as much as I would have liked. I made it a point to run, workout and stay physically fit so I could be well prepared for the competition. I believe my physical training paid off because I was feeling strong and ready coming in to the competition.11895027_10152872819772242_6804466703404698884_o

Throughout the preliminary and semi-final rounds I paddled pretty consistently and made it through to finals. In the early rounds I did not have a ride where I hit all the main tricks I wanted to. I knew I was able to post higher scores if I could land all my staple tricks and then hit my bigger tricks at the end of my ride.

Finals day at worlds is always filled with excitement. I love watching all the classes compete. The format of finals makes it interesting to watch and you never know who will win until the last of three rides because only the best scoring ride for each competitor counts as their final result. I was stoked to be in finals with my US teammates Jordan and Dane. Also, it was awesome to have Sebastian Devred from France and young Zach Zwanenburg from Canada. One of my favorite parts of competing at worlds is getting to paddle with many different incredible C-1 paddlers from all over the world. I love seeing people paddle well and being able to learn from one another.

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I had an unfortunate flush off the wave on my first finals ride after only hitting one trick. After my first ride I had to shake it off, clear my head and just remember I had two more rides and only one will count. I came into the next ride ready to give it my all. I completed all my staple tricks that I had done in the prelim rounds and still had time remaining. I wanted to do a pistol flip and a back pan-am at the end of my ride. I threw my pistol flip and stuck it! My time expired before my back pan-am but I was still very happy with my ride. My score for my second ride put me into 1st place. On the 3rd and final ride I was unable to best my second ride score. I knew myself and all of the C-1 paddlers in finals with me were capable of beating my current high score if they could put all their tricks together in the 45 seconds allotted for a competition ride. The last rider in finals was Dane. Dane threw an amazing ride and landed a helix, which is mind-blowing in a C-1 because you have no paddle to land on/roll-up with. Dane bested my score and took the top spot. I was stoked to see such a good ride and ecstatic to finish 2nd. Placing 2nd marked my first world championships podium finish and I could not have been happier.

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Wilderness Tours did a fabulous job organizing the event and running everything smoothly and professionally. The live stream was very well done. The bleachers and entire setup that had to be built on the banks of the Ottawa to make the event possible were most impressive. I am very thankful for all the work and support that went into this years worlds. And I am very stoked that I was able to be a part of it as a competitor. I will remember this experience fondly.

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I’ve included some photos from the competition. And below I have links to full results and archives of the live stream footage from the competition, which was very well done. I am looking forward to the next opportunity to try out for the US team and hopefully qualifying to compete in the next worlds in 2017 in Rio!

For full results and other event info check out the official website below:

http://www.worldfreestylekayakchampionships.com/news/full-results

For archives of the live stream from each day of competition and interesting articles about various parts of the competition check out the International Canoe Federation (ICF) link below:

http://www.canoeicf.com/event/2015-icf-canoe-freestyle-world-championships

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