NFC with the GNARvana

So beyond stoked to take the double win again at the North Fork Championship this weekend! Last year I got the first double win with the boatercross and the giant slalom, but I still can’t believe I managed to pull it off again this weekend getting the double win again. With the higher water level the boatercross section was more fun than ever, the waves were a lot bigger, and there were a lot more opportunities to pass people all the way to the finish. Especially because at the finish line this year there was a hole blocking your line to the finish banner, which served up some good carnage. But for the finals it was a plenty stacked crew as it always is with the NFC, so its always so exciting getting to race the finals for the boater x. It was a tight start with everyone in the flatwater lead in, I let Joe Morley pull ahead going into the whitewater, but after the first few waves I turned up the heat and passed him, then was able to hold the lead all the way to the finish. But as always the day we all wait for is the giant slalom on Jakes. This year I was stressing out before the race while the water was super high around 6 and 5k. The rapid just gets sooo much harder to stay on line and there are way more consequences and things to avoid compared to low water. But luckily the river dropped down to 4k which was still a high water stout level, but a much safer and more manageable level. Because the gates had been set up to be easy when the water was higher, we didn’t have time to change or make the gates as crazy as years past, but we still made a sweet down gate at rock drop that I have wanted to do for years. But even though the gates weren’t as challenging as years past, the whitewater was way harder to be smooth and clean, so it didn’t matter.

I got to go last since I won last year, but sometimes that doesn’t really help, as I had to watch as so many people have sick runs before me. Which helps me know what i need to beat, but definitely puts the pressure on. But the biggest thing that we all want in the Jakes race is to have a clean first run to take the pressure off for the second run. Luckily I managed to do that with my first run. My first run was as smooth as I could have hoped for on the top section which was the make or break place for the run, but not as smooth as i could have been on the bottom. But I hit the gates and laid down a sweet run that I was stoked about. So once that run was out of the way I was way more relaxed watching the rest of the runs roll through, and just enjoying a sick day with so many epic people. For my second run I went ahead and just tried to paddle as hard as i could and lay down an even faster run. Unfortunately I didn’t have near as fast of a top section but my bottom was better. I caught soooo much air off ocean wave in the golf course rapid, probably wasn’t productive to be fast, but damn it felt good, worth the photos haha. But in the end i was just stoked to lay down two solid runs, and I was open for whatever position I ended up in. But to take the win again was just such an awesome feeling and to share it with two other JK paddlers in their Nirvanas, Pangal and Evan, made it even better. There is no doubt in my mind that the Nirvana is gonna change my race and creeking game forever. I just have a 110% more confidence with the Nirvana, and I just feel like a better paddler, and the boat will have my back. I could not be more fired up to be taking the Nirvana to Norway, and Sickline can not come fast enough, or just any moment on the water where I can use the Nirvana. We are in for some good times with this boat, and I know the Nirvana helped me a lot this weekend, and its gonna help me everywhere else I bring it. NFC 2k17 is over, but the fun is just beginning.

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