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August 31, 2006

How do you follow up USA Team Trials where Team Jackson Kayak took all of the top kayak spots? The Canadian Team JK paddlers step up to the plate and take top honors as well! In the Men’s Pro Class Nick Troutman, 17 years old, became the youngest Canadian National Champion in history in the pro class. Nick paddled his green All-Star to victory in good style. He took second in prelims to Pat Camblin, then took second to Kelsey in Semi-finals and went hard to earn the win in finals! Even his mom noticed the difference in Nick in only one year. Last year Nick was nervous in competition and rarely competed to his potential. In this event, Nick was having a good time, dancing to the music blaring on the P/A system, and goofing off. Nick’s rides included huge Pan Ams, Airscrews, Back Pan Ams, and more.

Garberator Wave Competition:

The Canadian Team for Men’s Pro is:

1st- Nick Troutman- Jackson Kayak All-Star
2nd-Kelsey- Wavesport Project
3rd- Tyler Curtis- Wavesport Project
4th- Billy Harris- Liquid Logic Vision
5th- Ben Marr- Necky Orbit Fish
6th (first Alternate)- Joel Kowalski

In the Women’s Pro the Canadian women proved that they will be a dominant force at the World Championships as they had to battle each other for only three spots. Carly McDonald had a great first run to put her in the lead in the finals which consisted of her, Tiffany Manchester, Emily Lussin, and Dominique Gauthier. In the second ride Ruth Gordon pulled out a Ruth style ride, and pulled into the lead, with a big score and leaving Tiffany and Carly still only a point apart but 30 points behind her with Dominique and Emily within 2 points of them. On the third ride, neither Emily or Dominique could pull ahead of Carly, Tiffany, and Ruth leaving them alone to hold the three positions on the Canadian Team for the 2007 World Championships.

Canadian Women’s Team:

1st Ruth Gordon: Jackson Kayak Star
2nd Tiffany Manchester: Jackson Kayak All-Star
3rd Carly McDonald: Liquid Logic Pocket Rocket
4th (first alternate) Dominique Gauthier

Junior Men’s Team

Junior Women’s Team

1st- Katie Kowalski- Jackson Kayak Star

It was fun to watch, announce, and scribe for the Canadian Team Trials. The judges at this event were Bryan Kirk, Stephen Wright, and Shane Benedict. I was the scribe for Shane for awhile and then became the announcer for the finals. It was fun to announce for the big event. So many lives were going to swing one way or another. Either becoming members of the Canadian Team or not. Some notable wave surfing gurus failed to put rides together under pressure on their home wave. Pat Camblin being a Garberator and Buseater homeboy won prelims but kept missing his “Flashback” (a spin into a clean backstab) and it tripped him up in finals allowing other boaters who kept it together to put better rides on the scoreboard. Joel Kowalski, one of my favorite wave surfers to watch paddle had a series eye infection from a scratched cornea and the water at Lachine that put him out of the water for a month (he almost lost his eye!) and his first time paddling was his warm-up ride before the competition. He was like a kid in a candy store, being kept off his home wave for a month and then let on when he didn’t know if he was going to be able to compete. Joel’s dad, Joe is the local organizer for the 2007 World Championships through his company Wilderness Tours and Ottawa Kayak School/Keener Program. Sharky (Matt McQuire) is the workhorse who is in charge of operations of the event and a Team Jackson Kayak member.

At the conclusion of the Canadian Team Trials final ride, a flood of non-Canadian paddlers hit the wave for practice. The first notable ride was Anthony Yapp from Australia, who throws moves on the Garb like nothing, popping the boat off the water in every direction, clean, and in combination with other moves. He got big cheers after his Blunt/McNasty combo that he throws as effortlessly as most people throw a blunt. That was just a reminder that the best of the USA Team, and the best of the Canadian Team still has to deal with the best of about 50 other countries next May! Over 20 countries will be competing this weekend at the inaugural World Cup for Freestyle Kayaking.

Watch for coverage of the World Cup starting on Saturday and concluding at Rock Island, TN for the finals on Sept 16th.

🙂 EJ