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The dream of being the best junior freestyle whitewater kayaker has come across my mind throughout the past couple of years. I started kayaking at age 11 and have always looked up to the Jackson family as a kayaking role model, hoping to be as good or better in the kayaking world someday. I started competing at age 14 at local hometown throwdowns and NOC shootouts. My friend, Joey Brown, introduced me to Jez and Team Connect. This was just what I needed to start my kayaking career. Jez motivates us to train harder and challenges us to be alcohol, tobacco and drug free. Team Connect represents great sponsors including Jackson Kayaks, Kokatat, Snap Dragon, and Mountain Khakis. After placing first at the NOC shootout breaking a 1,000 point ride and then being invited to the Jackson Regional Team was a huge accomplishment. Raising the bar and having people look up to you as someone you would want to be like is a kayakers dream.

The past few months I have trained with Walt Nash,, to get me in the best physical and mental shape of my life and as always trained on the water every day I got a chance. All this paid off as I was able to compete and take first in the 2012 ICF Junior Freestyle World Cup and fourth in the men’s C1 division.  Coming out on top of this international event is an amazing feeling and is why I love competing so much. Thanks so much to all my friends who I paddle with at my local river Chattahoochee. Congrats to my team mate and training partner Bennett Smith for tying for 5th place with Alec Voorhees. Looking forward to competing in the U.S team trails, hoping to make the team and represent the USA in the 2013 World Championship.

A special thanks to Andy Hobson for teaching me to roll and getting me excited about freestyle kayaking and to all my kayaking friends and family who encourage and support me to reach my goals. Thanks so much, Hunter Katich