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May 15, 2005

You read about the open yesterday,
which was the qualifier for the big show, well today was the big show!
I will go right ahead and say it, I am so proud of my daughter, Emily!

Women’s Pro Freestyle Competition

Emily at 15 years old, a junior competitor, competed
this weekend in the open competition and won, earning her the right to
compete against the worlds best pro women today. The women’s line
up was Tanya Faux from Australia, Nikki Kelley from New Zealand, Brooke
Winger from California, Tanya Shuman from Maryland, and Amy Jimmerson,
with the qualifying ladies being Emily Jackson, Lizzy English, and Jessie
Rice. The women cut from 8 to 3 for the finals with Emily taking second!
Tanya Faux won, and Brooke Winger was third. In the Final rounds of head
to head, Tanya and Emily were one and two with Brooke bowing out in third.
The head to head finals had Emily and Tanya battling it out and the results
didn’t come in until the awards. At the end of the day it was Tanya
Faux with the big win and $2,250, and $1500 for Emily, $850 for Brooke.

The Festival

The crowds were huge, live bands going all day only
20 yards from the hole, TV everywhere (Fox Sports and OLN shows, live
TV, local news, etc.), photographers all over the place. Hobie and Mike
Harvey worked the crowds doing a great job as DJ’s this year, while
Dan Gavere (AT Paddles), Tao Berman, and Jamie Cooper (past national champion)
all did a great job judging and Andy Beddingfield held down the chief
judge position. Thousands of spectators lined the banks so thickly, intertwined
with the boom cameras, and tripods, that it was almost impossible to get
from the river to the porta potties in the back! A vendor area was set
up all weekend and our local dealer Reno Mountain Sports did a great job.
We had 20 Happy Seat/ Happy Thruster combos delivered to them and I think
they are all gone! The Star, All-Star, and Super Star are THE boats to
have at the whitewater park here in Reno and I think everyone finally
figured that one out this past week!

Pro Men’s Kayak Competition

We had a great event with a total of 12 men in the
competition. In the end Dane didn’t get in to fill the void (13
men were planned) and I am glad, only because people would have thought
I was pulling strings to get him in. I can tell you that the guys were
probably quite happy that he didn’t get in because I would not have
bet on him being last! I don’t know just how he is learning so fast,
but bring it on!

The men consisted of Scott Findel, Jessie Murphy, Rush
Sturgess, Andrew Holcomb, Brian Kirk, Jimmy Blakeney, Jay Kincaid, EJ,
Dustin Urban, with the three qualifying paddlers, Stephen Wright, Nick
Troutman, and Charlie Center.

The first round cut to 6 men and Stephen won it big
time making the Jackson’s proud! Nick paddled well but got eliminated.
Making it to the top six were Stephen, Jay, EJ, Jimmy, Andrew, Rush. The
moves were HUGE loops of all kinds, Tricky Woos, McNasty, Phonix Monkey,
Lunar Orbit (just me), and all some cartwheel moves.

In the cut to three it was EJ for the win, Jay in second,
and Stephen in third with huge rides!

In the cut from three to two it was EJ for the win,
and Jay in second, with Stephen getting knocked out after a sweet ride.

In the final round, with the pressure on, and the crowd
fired up, Jay flushed leaving the door open for me to take the win in
30 seconds of my 60. I didn’t walk through the door however, I charged
it and nailed one move after the next until I had a secure win, leaving
the hole with 5 seconds left. Sweet!


WWF style belts, champagne, flowers, showgirl delivery,
and a big stage made for an awesome awards ceremony. Emily got her bottle
of champagne and asked if she was good to go, I said yes. Everyone sprayed
it everywhere, making the camera guys run for cover. Emily put her bottle
down and a guy looking like he may not have a home, picked it up and finished
it off, reminding me that we were in a city. It was funny.

Last year the finals came down to Jay and I, but I
Jay won that one. This year I am two for two over Jay and intend to keep
it that way. He beat me more than I beat him in 2004.

I am off to the Ottawa tomorrow for Buseater (big wave!)

Photos coming soon!

EJ 🙂