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August 31, 2006

After Canadian and USA Team Trials Team Jackson Kayak paddlers have really stepped up to the plate and shown that they are more than just great ambassadors, but they are also the best of the best in freestyle.

In the Men’s Pro Class we won both the USA and Canadian top honors.
1st place for Canada- Nick Troutman
1st place for USA- EJ

In the Women’s Pro Class we also won both the USA and Canadian top spots
1st place for Canada- Ruth Gordon
1st place for USA- Devon Barker

In the Junior Women’s we won top honors in both USA and Canada
1st place for Canada- Katie Kowalski
1st place for USA- Emily Jackson

In the Junior Men’s Class we won Top honors in the USA trials
1st place for USA- Dane Jackson

What was the reason for the teams overwhelming success? First off, the paddlers all compete for fun and truly enjoy the whole scene. They are good at big wave surfing and that gave us a huge advantage on the Garberator. Also- they had the right equipment. The Star, All-Star, Super Star, and Fun are all perfect for big wave competitions. While our competitors were often afraid of going backwards for fear of catching their strern and back endering off, we were hucking big back moves. While front surfing many people were afraid of pearling during a front surf and had to hold back, but not Jackson Kayak paddlers. We were able to throw moves with no hesitation. Whether it be Nick, me, Emily, Dane, Ruth, Katie, or Devon, we were able to focus on our moves and landing those, since our boats are so easy to control on the wave.

Before the competitions started we made routines for everyone to do. The idea being that we wanted to show our best selves instead of making up what we are going to do on the fly. Making a routine allowed us to throw bigger moves and stick them, instead of throwing a “hail Mary” and hoping to stick it.

Meanwhile- it is all fun and games back at the Jackson Kayak Team House. Spirits are high going into the first World Cup event. We all know that those at the top of the flagpole are the ones that get shot at, and that is fine. Our team feels like each day is a new one and that nobody is a shoe-in. We will all wake up on Saturday morning, knowing that the best rides on Saturday will qualify those athletes for Sunday’s finals. We all know that we can have those rides, because we have been doing them everyday, but when the judges and spectators are watching, the announcer is calling you out, and the timer is blowing the horn giving you a 15 second warning during your ride, that is the only time that you can turn your potential into a result. That is a telling moment for life in general. When you have to make a decision; can you make the right one, under pressure, and then execute your decision with enough skill and resolve to get the proper results from your action. Some people choke time after time, some rise to the occasion most of the time, but everyone that seems like they win over and over again, lost over and over again at some point in their career. Even Dane, who many would claim that he doesn’t know anything but success, didn’t win a single event for the first two years of his competition career. I didn’t win a single slalom race for the first 5 years of my full-time training career!

There was a lady at the Canadian Team Trials awards that went out of her way to explain how what we were doing was meaningless and that the only thing worthy of this kind of attention was education. While anyone treating their education with the kind of intensity and resolve that these kayakers are treating their paddling, will achieve greatness in their fields as well.

🙂 EJ