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August 4, 2008

How do you get ready for a three event competition that takes place in three sites you have never visited? No matter how many times I find myself in this situation, it is the same thing, “oh crap, am I ready for this?”. There are quite a few unknowns, like whether we can fit 13 people, plus kayaks, camping stuff, and gear into 2 sprinter vans. Then there is the competition to plan for. Prague competition is in a whitewater park in Czech Republic and there are no videos or photos that I can find on the spot, because, I think it is a new hole made just for the competition. How do you prepare for that? Variety training at every type of hole you can find, of course, but there is no way to know what we are dealing with until we arrive. Augsburg has been the same since 1972 and the washing machine is a powerful, but not large hole that should deliver every move in the book. Thun is a wave that I have seen video of and preparing for that wave wasn’t too hard to plan for.

After planning for the spots, you have the competition to consider, if your goal is to win. At the 2007 World Championships on Bus-Eater Wave (big wave) I got to meet quite a few of the “New Generation” European top paddlers. Peter Czonka from Slovakia got a silver medal (whew!) behind me and everyone suddenly saw that the world was more full of incredible freestyle athletes than we knew. How is Peter doing today? He just got third in the European championships, which is good. Who won? The French guy who got 4th at the 2007 Worlds not only won the European Championships two weeks ago, but he won every round, dominating it. How good must this guy be if he can beat Peter in every round? Awesome, I am sure. His name is Mathieu Dumoulin from France. How good is he? By his 2007 World Championships results, and now his incredible European Championships results, he is really good and could be better than anyone. What is the game plan then?

1. Be prepared- Well, I have done what I can on that end already. I am in full competition shape. 160 pounds, little body fat, can paddle hard all day, strong, fast, and no injuries. I have also trained in holes and on waves and know the new scoring system in my sleep. Clay even made flash cards for the drive from the Ottawa back to Rock Island to assure that we know every moves numeric score by heart.

2. Be confident- Nobody wins scared. I know that I’ll be in a van with a handful of athletes that all can and plan on winning this World Cup. There can be only one winner, but in the end, every real competition starts with a group of people who are all going for the same goal. We’ll be thrown in the arena with a whole bunch of other athletes who plan on spoiling our party by dominating the competitions themselves. This is a great competition in the making! Stephen Wright, Nick Troutman, Dustin Urban, Clay Wright, Jed Selby, and EJ will all be coming in a pod. All three of the 2006 World Cup medalists, (Clay, Stephen, and EJ) all of which won a world cup event last time. All three 2007 World Championships medalists, plus 4th place and so on will be there too!

3. Be Smart- Learn the lay of the land early. Make sure a good plan is in place for camping, eating, training. Everyone in the JK vans will be there for the competitions and to have fun. Keep it light and fun, but this isn’t the party world championships. Want to drink and go crazy and stay up all night? That is what the World Cup finals party is all about. The three weeks leading up to that are about staying healthy and rested enough to paddle well and be a contributor to the group. It will take a group of people to work together to assure that everything goes according to the rules, to the spirit of the event, and to assure that the competition is fair and focused on doing the job right. We’ll do our best to be a part of that group doing things right.

4. Paddle Hard- With three spots and no experience with them, it will require a ton of paddling to catch up to the locals who know them well. We’ll paddle all night if necessary. In the past, night paddling works well because the lines die down. Jay Kincaid and I paddled everyday at 4am in Austria and that worked well.

Need to start packing our bags today. What to bring?

1. Camping stuff- headlamps, sleeping bags, tent, rain stuff, cold weather stuff- (thun can snow in August!).

2. Paddling Gear- My new I.R. dry deck, both long and short sleeve, fleece, board shorts, Astral Willis life jacket, AT2 all carbon, and JK All-Star in Red with Sweet Cheeks 200, Happy Feet 150, and a Happy Seat/Thruster Combo.

3. 2008/9 JK “Action Jackson” promo video- hot off the press and should be delivered here today! (this is the best yet!) We’ll do the World Premier in Prague!

4. Clothes- keep it light and simple- need to conserve space in the vans.

5. Passports, money, computer, and camera to do World Cup Coverage on and

OK- time to get started!

World Cup 2006 Winners/Photos


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