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August 21, 2006

By Clay Wright

The best playboaters from all over North America are launching themselves off Garberator to train for the US Team Trials (Wed) and Canadian Team Trials (next Teus.) as well as to prep for the upcoming World Cup. While many of the best are still dialing in this classic, ‘V’ shaped runway and triangular steep foaming peak, others are linking big moves pass after pass with incredible consistancy. There is going to be some huge point spreads here – stick your moves and you’ll rack em up, but one flush and there’s no paddling back up!

The ‘clean blunt’ and ‘pan am’ seem to be the first choice for most competitors, making use of way the drop-in sets you high in the foam. Most stick to airblunts and backstabs after that – to rack up points while maintaining control – then switch over to either flip turns or the ‘hail mary’ airscrew, Helix, or Mcnasty. You can score with these tricks even if you flush so long as you land upright on the face of the wave, so they are the perfect way to end your ride.

Highlight competitors so far include the perfectly consistant Andrew Holcombe, UK’s Ed Cornfield, and Canada’s Kelsey Thomas. But recently arrived Rusty Sage, Jay Kinkaid, Bryan Kirk, Rush Sturges, Dustin Urban, and Todd Baker might catch onto a few more tricks to tip those scales any day now. While most are sticking with the blunts and pan ams, Stephen Wright, Billy Harris, Anthony Yapp, and Eric Jackson are pushing the inverted tricks hard, nailing Mcnasty’s and helix’s and airscrews – both ways in some rides.And of course the ‘local boys’ Nick Troutman, Ben Marr, Deuce, and crew are knocking off high scoring rides like it’s just another day at the office. Not sure how Pat Camblin is doing – he hasn’t been out when I was there.

On a sad note, local favorite and last year’s JR champ Joel Kowalski developed an eye infection after winning the La Chine competition in Montreal earlier this month . . .he’s probably a favorite even without much practice time but the risks for him are severe. Look for him to make a full recovery and be back on the podium but later in the season.

With staph, foot-rot, odd rashes, and diahrea cropping up more and more on our summer paddling trips, remember the water quality dangers us kayakers face every time you can VOTE:
Politician trying to RELAX the Clean Water Act cause more of us to suffer bacterial infections, viruses, and chemical exposure rash’s and coughs: they are the enemy of kayakers, rafters, tubers, and fisherman everywhere.

Pinching on those nose-plugs tight and heading back into the fray ….

Clay Wright …………Photo: CW opening with a ‘big’ Air Blunt by Yash


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