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We are on the Ottawa and made it across the border with no issues. John Ratliff got us all set up with renewed tags and we were off on Saturday! We met up with Jay Kincaid, David Stefan, and Devon Barker who were already at the "Farmhouse". It is called the farmhouse because it is in fact a farmhouse with at least a thousand acres and two barns and it looks like a farmhouse. The beauty of this place is that it is walking distance to the Bus eater wave or Waikiki Wave. I mention the Waikiki Wave because if the river doesn’t rise another 2 feet by Wednesday, the ICF committee and Sharky will call it off Bus eater Wave and go to Plan B which is to hold water back and lower the level to 9 feet which is a great level for Waikiki Wave which is on the same rapid as Bus eater. Waikiki is a little less than 50% of the size of Bus eater, but still a bowled out wave that has all of the moves available to it.

Right now the training comes in a variety of forms. Yesterday was my first day on the water here. Team JK took the RV to the put-in and ran the Middle Channel. We played at Odyssey Hole, and then Butterfly, Angel’s Kiss, Garvin’s, after running the Elevator Shaft, and then Upper and Lower No Name. We hit up Big Smoothie which is a fun wave too. In the afternoon we checked out Waikiki and it was fun, but too high, making the pocket to throw moves in tight and frustrating from time to time.

Last night ‘s team leader and ICF meeting covered most of the basics and it looks like a great competition will be unfolding in the next week! The 1st day of competition is on Monday, a week from today. The dam is 3 days upstream by river, so Wednesday is the cut-off day for waiting for the snowmelt to hit us and bring Bus eater in. Since it has been over 70 degrees for the past three days, we are fairly sure that if the water isn’t hitting us now, it isn’t going to. However, with dams, and only communicating by phone, the unknown factors are always there. The goal is simply to get the water at a good level for Bus eater and hold it for a week. If that isn’t possible, then we will attempt to do that at Waikiki. Kristine has been working hard at making sure that the ICF rules are properly organized for the best possible event. Most of the rules have evolved naturally to a point where the athletes know that they only need to have the best rides in order to win. It is always funny to me when people try complete random new judging or scoring formats thinking it will be much better. It is not easy to get a good system that covers a variety of paddling styles, features, and skill of athletes that can accurately determine the best one. The IFC (now adopted by the ICF) rules were a long evolution, with lots of creative forward thinking people helping push it to the limits. It isn’t perfect and never will be but it is easy to understand and easy to implement, and makes sense. It goes like this:

Every move known to man has a score assigned to it; the harder the move the bigger the score. The judges, there are three of them, watch the paddler compete in their ride and call out the moves that the competitor does. A scribe checks of the moves the judge calls out and at the end of the ride; they tabulate the score for that ride. The judge can also call "big" or "huge" bonuses on any aerial move. This is to reward the athletes that go the biggest on their moves. It differentiates an average Helix from a huge one, for example. The scribe simply checks off the big or huge box every time the judge calls it out. When the competitor gets the "horn" or "buzzer" at the end of their 45 second ride; the judge stops calling out their moves. In the early rounds (prelims, quarter finals, and semi-finals) the scores are announced during the heat after each person in that heat has done one ride. This way you know how you are doing before you do your next ride, and the spectators can see how the heat is going for each athlete. In the finals, after each ride the scores are announced. Since the athletes are seeded from lowest placing to highest in the finals the best performers can see what scores they have to beat. In the finals each athlete gets three rides and only their best one counts. It is a cool format where each of the 5 finalists do one ride and then they are re-seeded from lowest to highest score. They do their second ride and are re-seeded again, and then they have their final ride to beat the current leader. Of course the current leader has their final ride to get back on top if someone beat their best score on that final ride. Spectators know what is going on because the later athletes are currently ahead of the others, and the scores are announced right after the rides.

I am getting ready for my second practice session of the day. Dane, Nick, Emily, David Stefan, Nick, and Liam from Australia are all on the water already. I am going up there now with Jay Kincaid to give the Waikiki Wave another shot. We are hoping for Bus eater, but not waiting to see before we start training at Waikiki. We might as well train for any situation.

Today was the first day that it really felt like a World Championships to me. People from all over the world were in the eddy at the same time. Japanese, Finns, Swedish, British, Irish, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Netherlands, Canada, USA, Brazil, and more. Those who were attending their first worlds were saying, "wow, there are a lot of people here!". Kristine wasn’t at the river today, she was at Sharky’s working with the ICF committee on the rules for the competition and I am not sure what is going on, but trust that all is well.

Between sessions today, David Stefan was helping me learn Brazilian fighting, and I taught him to throw a football. A weather front was moving in and it was super windy. I got out the "trainer kite" for kite boarding and flew it in the field. Dane is light enough that he gets lifted off the ground sometimes. He got his Shooting Star kayak and took a few rides across the farmers field! Kayak kite boarding on land, a new sport for kids! Of course the dad has to run after them and bring the kite back up wind!

I think the 70+ degree weather may have just left us as the temperature dropped and the clouds rolled in. It is raining a little bit now and getting dark early. This will mean that the waves will not be crowded early in the morning. People don’t like to get up early when the weather is nasty, but I like training when I can get in a lot of rides more than I like sleeping in on nasty days.

Dane’s tonsillitis seems to be getting better, Kristine’s cough is getting better (she has had 4 rounds of anti-biotics and then they found out that it was her asthma.), Emily is still sick with something, while I am just out of the weeds but not out of the woods with swollen glands and sore throat. This is the most sick the Jackson family has been in a long time. I think all of it is going to work out fine and we’ll be good as new by next week.

There are lots of people showing up in the new All-Star that I didn’t expect. Richard Grimes from England for one. I was very excited to see him in the new boat. He was the junior world champion at Australia in 2005. Lots of other people I don’t know are paddling them too. In the 2004 Pre-Worlds it was Dane and I in Jackson Kayaks (we both had prototypes). In the 2005 World Championships, I knew everyone in a Jackson Kayak except one junior from Japan. In 2006 at the World Cup, I still knew everyone who was paddling a Jackson Kayak. This year, I am seeing people I never met, representing their teams and there are many more of the new Stars and All-Stars than I would have expected. That is a cool thing for me to see!

Yagi from Japan told me that the container that just hit Japan is all sold out already, and that they are ordering another one in two weeks! Yagi also gave me two Samurai Swards as souvenirs and I have already been having fun with them (John Belushi style).

I am excited to see what tomorrow brings! My cell phone is working here but it isn’t ringing so I only know when people call after they leave a message. I still don’t have regular email, and won’t. My updates will be a little behind the curve here, probably two days max. I’ll try to keep the competition up to date so you won’t have to wait to see what the results are.


Today we paddled at 6am at the Waikiki wave. The water is still too high for the ideal level for that wave but too low for Buseater. It looks to me that Buseater isn’t going to be in for the worlds. I guess we’ll be getting ready for Waikiki for worlds (that is my guess). I just talked to David Knight and he is coming up with his lovely wife Phyllis in his new RV and staying for worlds. He is also writing a program to help scoring since the format has changed slightly (4 rides in prelims for example). This will be David’s first world championships! He just finished a long design cycle with 11 new whitewater boats and 3 new Recreational Kayaks called Day Trippers, plus outfitting for the Day Trippers. He will arrive in two days after he finishes packing today and then drives tomorrow. Today was a crazy day of training. At 6am it was only Jay Kincaid and Devon Barker, and then I showed up, and then Emily, Nick, David, and Liam until 7am, and by 7:30 am there was at least 20 people there. This is normal. Team JK on the water first and last. It is a testament to the type of paddlers they are. They love to paddle hard, love to do their best, and not even frozen gear will dampen their spirits or motivation. They remind me of my kayaking club back in the 70’s in New Hampshire, the MVP. We would arrive on the West River in VT for the annual West releases in the fall and the first shuttle to the put-in was 100% MVP members, and the last shuttle of the day was also 100% MVP members, each day. It was an unwritten rule that we were there to paddle, and we could sit around a fire anytime, but if the water was running we were on it. It only requires that you love paddling more than sleeping or being warm, for example. You never hear a Team JK member saying, "Man, I don’t feel good, I had too many beers last night, I am not paddling this morning." You hear, "Man, I am glad it got up early and paddled", this is by those who got to bed early, and by those who had a few beers and got to bed late. Kudos to our team (I am very proud of them! Like a proud papa)

I am heading to find a way to send this update out now, and then go paddling again!




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Jackson Team Farmhouse

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EJs kayak ready for action