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The past two days have been packed with team leader meetings, ICF meetings, organizer meetings working on water levels, etc. and the unknown training factor (where will worlds be?). FINALLY, I think there is enough information on the water levels to be fairly sure what we will be doing!

Assuming that the dam cooperates as they have agreed to, we should have enough water for 4 days of Buseater at 14 feet! What this means is one day of practice for 200 athletes (probably 4 rides per athlete during their team training slots) and then 3 days of competition. Normally the worlds are done over a 5 day period but they can be done in three days by extending the days a little longer.

The risk is that the river won’t actually rise to 14 feet, but instead only to 13 feet. (14-18 feet is the window for Buseater) At 13 feet Buseater is a BIG hole that only a few athletes would get any enjoyment out of! The good news is that at 10-13 feet Big Smoothy is an awesome wave also and is our fall back in case of this scenario. I already started training at Big Smoothy yesterday to prepare for that possibility. I am done training at Waikiki since that is no longer an option for the competition. Big smoothy at 10 feet (current level) is about 1/3 the size of Buseater but you can do just about every move. I was able to get a helix, pan ams, back pan ams, clean air blunts, flip turns, and air blunts all in one ride in my first session there. If that was where the worlds would be, I would be ready to rock today, bring it on! I have never surfed Buseater at 14 feet so I don’t really know from experience what to expect. I have surfed it at 10 and 11 feet, just on a dare, but I wasn’t trying to win a worlds at the time.

Yesterday when we got the news (along with the rest of the world) that Waikiki was out and Big Smoothy was in as the alternative, it was a mad rush to the wave! Nick and I literally put in and raced to the wave and the wave is on the last rapid of the river run and there is no way to get to it besides paddling down to it. I am pretty sure we have the new world’s record for the river run in playboats. I made it to the wave in 29.5 minutes running Elevator Shaft on Garvin’s (the only "class 5" rapid). I turned around to see if I should wait for Nick (I hit the water 60 seconds before him due to having a dry deck instead of dry suit and skirt) so we wouldn’t have to run it alone and there were 4 Swiss guys who were surfing Butterfly when I passed and Nick now had them in tow. I wasn’t going to wait for 5 people to arrive at the wave at once so I just kept going knowing that if I goofed up Elevator Shaft they were behind me and Nick had them to run it with. I got to Big Smoothy and got 2 surfs in alone. Nick showed up just before my 3rd surf. Nick and I got in about 30 minutes of solitary training before the Swiss made it to the wave, sweet! Then they watched us do a few rides so it was like having the wave to ourselves. We got in a solid hour of training before the Irish team showed up and the Swiss were in the lineup, so we only did a few more rides. I got cold after being super hot during the race and the sun was going behind the trees. It was time to go meet Kristine for a pickup.

That was the single opportunity for an uncrowded training session on that wave. Today each country gets a 90 minute time slot to train there. The USA Team and the Brazilian team are lumped together (there are only 2 Brazilians competing here) but the USA Team consists of 22 people, so that is a big lineup. Today Stephen Wright shows up with Dane’s new Patagonia Dry Deck with a Mountain Surf Skirt. Dane is very excited.

Team Jackson Kayak has been a pleasure to hang out with as usual. At the Jackson Kayak Team house we have Jay Kincaid, Liam from Australia, David Stefan from Brazil, Devon Barker, Dane, Emily, Nick, Kristine, EJ (we stay in the RV), Target, Rocksey, and Rio (three dogs). Stephen Wright, Clay Wright, and David Knight all show up today and tomorrow! Many of the foreigners are staying with their countries teams like Yoyo from France, John Best, Flic and others from England, Sandro from Switzerland, Yagi and others from Japan, etc. etc. Good thing because the house is getting a little bit crowded, in a good way.

Officially the world competition will start on Wednesday May 2 and the Finals will be on Friday May 4 instead of Saturday May 5th. Today is Thursday April 26, 2007. I want to train at a spot as close as Buseater as possible. Inner City Strife would be close if it was in but it is too high right now. I have my eyes on that one and hope to hit it before the Worlds start. Buseater is bigger than anything on the Nile that we normally surf and it is bigger than anything on the Ottawa right now. Training at Big Smoothy for Buseater would be like training wrestling against Dane to get ready for a Sumu Match in Japan. Better than nothing but not very applicable. The toughest thing about Buseater at 14 feet is going to be the triple overhead sized foam pile that forces you into the "pit" that takes 5-15 seconds to climb out depending on how much you get thrown around or turned around when it breaks over your head. It is easy to do a single move land in the pit and then climb out again. To win, you may have to throw in the pit which would give some people nightmares. Luckily for people like Jay, Nick, Billy Harris, and some others, we will feel that this is an advantage because we aren’t afraid of the pit. Get to the women’s classes and the number of them that aren’t afraid gets limited so they will be climbing out everytime to throw a move.

This will be my first world championships ever, that I won’t have a routine practiced and ready before the competition. Disadvantage? Yes, but only in that my scores would be higher with a routine and practice. However, my other advantage as a competitor is my ability to hit a spot for the first time and perform well immediately. In the 2000 Pre-World Championships in Spain I arrived on the day the competition started (I got my calendar messed up) and dropped into the wave when I got there and they whistled me right off. Only then did I realize that they had already started! My first move was done during my prelims ride and I won the competition. This was something I wanted to make sure I never lost and I always take the ready to compete approach at every new spot I hit. I do it in a playing sense and just see what I can do when I hit it. In Kavu Day, an early 1990’s kayak video staring Dan Gavere, somebody was describing Dan as the guy who can shred a new spot like no other person. I remember hearing that and saying, "hey, what about me?". I wanted to make sure that I always had that skill.

Well, enough for now, time for breakfast.