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By Nick Troutman

It has been a couple weeks now since the Worlds, which has given me plenty of time to reflect back and realize what an amazing experience it was for me.

First of all, it is so cool to represent your country, especially at something as big as the World Championship. Everything from the Opening Ceremonies, to the team training slots, to the competition itself, and the Closing Ceremonies, made me so proud to be Canadian. I felt like a team, with everyone giving each other advice, and cheering everyone on. I had the whole Canadian team supporting me, hell I felt like I had the whole country cheering me on.

Though at first it was like the whole world came to surf our wave, but we had nothing to show them. Luckily Sharky and Joe, and couple of great friends of mine and the organizers of the events, pulled the all the right strings, bringing the perfect water levels just in the nick of time. Just to let anyone out there who was or wasn’t there, if you were wondering, we had the perfect levels, it doesn’t get any better then we had it. It was at the level where the locals all call in sick, skipping either work or school, to go out and surf the Giant we all call Buseater.

So the Worlds start and everyone had there own idea of what to expect, except me. This was my first World Championships, and everyone and they’re brother had told me what to expect, though it was all different advice. I had to just wait and see for my self. I found out very quickly what it was all about, being that I was in the first heat of the first day of competition.

For everyone out there who hasn’t been to a World Championships, it is definitely all it’s cracked up to be and more. First you are all competing countries more than just competing athletes. You are constantly cheering on your countrymen and women in hopes that you can go home saying that your country has won a medal or a whole bunch of medals. It is extremely competitive but at the same time we all know it is about fun so everyone is smiling in the eddy’s. It is a gathering of all your friends from around the world to all come and paddle together. Most people are sitting on the shoreline with headphones over there ears trying to get into the zone, while others are running around trying to get warmed up, and everyone is thinking of what they are going to do on the wave. This is the single biggest competition in our sport, some people have been training for the past two years for this day to come, and others have been dreaming about it their whole lives.

The next three days we saw close to 200 people surf the famous Buseater wave. We saw girls, boys, men, women, C-1ers, and for the first time ever you could see open canoer’s surf this giant of a wave. By the third day each different class had been narrowed down to five people. It was the final day, where six new World Champions would be crowned.

Now going into finals I had been lucky enough to be sitting in first place for three days in a row. I was truly amazed at how well I had been competing, and at how far I had made it through the competition. I would have to thank EJ for helping me get there, by teaching me everything I know about competing. I think one of the reasons why I had been doing so well was the fact that I really wasn’t nervous. It probably had to do with the fact that while training in Africa with EJ we competed in about a gazillion mock world championships. So to me competing on Buseater was just like another day fooling around with my friends.

Most people would think that final round of the World Championships would be the most stressful thing ever. I thought so, until I was actually there, sitting in the eddy with the biggest grin on my face. I couldn’t stop thinking that Buseater was brought in specifically so I could surf it, and that was just what I did.

After a truly exciting finals consisting of dramatic flushes, ropes breaking, and re-rides, we crowned our new World Champion. Though as you all know it is also our old World Champion being that EJ has won it back to back, being his whopping fourth World Championships title. That is so cool, being that no one else has even won two World Champ titles.

I am proud to say that at 18 I finished with a bronze medal, just going to show that I still have a ton to learn and work on. I was beat by two truly worthy athletes, both friends of mine, and two of the nicest people ever. In first place, Eric Jackson, the man the myth and the legend; and in second place Peter Czonka, the black horse who has come out of nowhere (actually Slovakia), ripping up everything and anything in the last year. Though I did feel while sitting in first for prelims, quarters and semis, that a World Championship title could be feasible. So I will train harder, and get stronger, and I hope to have another shot at the title in 2009 Worlds in Switzerland.

Overall I just want to thank everyone who helped me along the way. I think I go through life excepting too much without giving enough thanks, so thanks to EJ for the hours and days and years of training, and all the work you have put into helping me become a better boater; and Kristine for letting me live with the Jackson family for almost two years in total, and the millions of great meals she has cooked for me, and for the whole Jackson family for all the endless help and generosity. Thanks to my parents and brothers and grandparents, and cousins, and friends who have been super supportive, and all skipped both work and school to come cheer me on. Also a special thanks to my girlfriend who did everything she could to make this World Championships as special and awesome for me as possible. Thanks to Joe and Sharky and all the staff at Wilderness Tours who put on such a great event, and for letting me paddle my favourite wave on the planet. And finally to all the competitors who came out to my country to come and boat and hang out with us canucks, and I hope to see you all in two years in Switzerland.

Now I know that I wont be the only one in Switzerland trying as hard as possible, so I will leave you with this, a quote, though I forget who said it but:

“When you are not training, someone somewhere is training, and when you meet him, he will beat you.”

Nick Troutman