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December 27, 2004

Full coverage of the 2005 World Freestyle Championships
will be happening right here at!
Look for photos and video of the site if you are competing and are still
training at home so you know what to expect. If you are just watching
with interest here is what you can expect. The lead in to the event is
three weeks long. Emily, Dane, and I will be there training along with
the rest of the world and will keep you up to date on what is going on,
who is paddling well, complete with photos and an occasional video. The
coverage will be primarily from my point of view, of course, since I will
be writing most of it and will also be competing, however, I will provide
an objective point of view on coverage with a personal account of how
it is going for me as I attempt to win my third World Championships. Last
year at the Pre-World Championships, now titled the International Freestyle
Championships, I won by less than one point over Billy Harris from Canada.
Billy has been training in Australia now for the past month already and
is making a strong run for the title. He placed 5th in the last worlds
in Austria and is certainly capable of taking the title. Jay Kincaid,
the machine, “All Day Jay Kincaid”, my good friend and training
buddy for a couple of years, (we didn’t get to train together this
year, bummer) will be coming with the goal of destroying the competition
(bring it on Jay!) and he is certainly capable, beating out the world
in 2003 to win his first world championships. Watch for Yagi from Japan,
strong, fast and awesome, Tobi was Europe’s number one seed over the past
few years, we’ll see what he has to bring to the table in 2005.
There are countless others that I haven’t mentioned, like the entire
US Team, Dustin Urban, Javid Grubbs, Jimmy Blakeney, and Brian Kirk are
all so good that any of them could bring home the gold on a good day.
Local boy, Anthony Yapp (“Yappa”) put the world to shame with
his enormous loops last year. He paddled really well on the Ottawa this
year and is so fast and explosive that he may be the guy to beat this
year. To give you some insight into how the world championships goes,
check out my coverage of the 2003
World Championships
. It was a heartbreaker for me, winning every round
until the finals, having one bad ride at the wrong time, and having to
watch the medals round from the shore. However, it was an awesome event
in a big munchy hole in downtown Graz. That coverage will be available
to read from my archives
for anybody interested.

I will be especially interested in the junior women’s
and junior men’s classes this year. Emily is 14 and will be competing
against the best of the juniors, up to age 18. Watch for Hannah Farrar
from the USA. She is an unbelievably good boater and has a great shot
at the title. Emily has been paddling very well and while taking the silver
medal last year at the Pre-World’s, she has a strong shot at the
gold this year. Dane is competing at age 11 and ½ the size of most
of the other boys. 63 pounds of solid muscle to throw around the Fun 1
(19 pound kayak) is enough to make his boat do the same moves as the big
guys. He has a huge challenge with the junior boys paddling a lot like
the senior men, but did very well last year. He got 4th in the prelims,
having a killer ride, and then finished 7th overall. Never count this
kid out, as he made the USA Junior team beating out some incredible paddlers.
The rest of the USA team is looking like a winning combination with Justin
Patt from California leading the charge and a great boater with perfect
skills for the World’s site. Todd Baker, a self proclaimed wave
boater, has the skills for this wave/hole too, we’ll have to wait
and see if he can proclaim himself a hole boater too.

In the women’s class the local girl Tanya Faux,
who won there last year, is so good it is scary! She has the local advantage,
as well as lots of time abroad (traveling across the USA for the tour
in 2004) so she knows what the North American girls are capable of. She
can do the big moves like the Phonix Monkey too! After that, the entire
USA Team is going to be strong, with Tanya Shuman being the veteran, but
Kristin Polock and Amy Jimmerson are super strong and will make their
debut this year. The rest of the world has incredible women, like Nikki
Kelley from New Zealand. Look for the Chezch, Slovak, Japanese, British,
and German teams to have medal ready women this year.

For you squirters out there, watch for Deb O’Keefe
and Devon Barker going for the women’s title from the USA, world
title, along with Dustin Urban, who dominated last year’s men’s
Pre-Worlds, going for his first gold medal. The Japanese, and British
are the big squirting countries, along with the USA.

I hope everybody is having a great holiday season so

🙂 EJ