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World Cup #1 Rock Island
World Cup number 1 was held in Rock Island, Tenessee. Just down the road from the Jacksons house where we live. This year is my first year competing in the Womans Division and I’m stoked to be up against all my female idols in the freestyle world.
Day one is prelims, only the top 10 woman will make it through and of course I’m aiming to be one of them. I competed in the last heat of woman so I got to watch all the woman before me. Though I’m not sure this was a good idea as it made me super nervous. I had a terrible first ride and so pressure was on to pull out a great second ride in order to make the cut!

I managed to calm myselff down with the aim to go out there and enjoy it. Which I did and pulled myself through in 8th place. The next day was a rest day followed by semis and finals on sunday. To make finals I had to place top 5 in prelims, which I did finishing in exactly 5th place.

I was stoked with my results for my first world cup in the woman’s division, and in finals I moved myself up to 4th overall. So for me it was a great event!
And even better Emily Jackson came out and killed it in finals taking the gold, followed by Nina Csonka-SVK in second and Adrienne Levknecht-USA in 3rd!

World Cup #2 Pigeon River

One world cup down and two to go… After the first event at rock island we headed straight out the next day to the pigeon river where the second event was taking place. Pigeon river hole was built by raft guides, on the channel behind their raft base and I think most the competitors will agree that it is one of the most epic holes out there!

The event began just days after the last one finished so no one really got much practice. This made for a good fair playing field. And with the ICF scoring system it wasn’t easy on competitors. Prelims went well for me; I had two good rides and made it through to semifinals in 4th place. Next day was semifinals and I really tried to pull together a big ride again but it wasn’t quite enough to get me in the top 5, leaving me in 6th place (at only 3 points off the cut).

This was to be my final position for world cup number two and it meant I got to enjoy watching the finals and cheer on my friends finishing up the top 5, Claire O’hara -GBR, Emily Jackson-USA, Nina Csonka-SVK, Ruth Gordon-Ebens-CAN and Hayley Mills-USA.

World Cup #3 Nantahala Outdoor Center

The final event, the one that will mark our final standings for the 2012 World Cup of Freestyle Kayaking! NOC is an amazing venue full of bright and beautiful people that I love coming here just to see! This feature has been undergoing a lot of maintenance meaning no one got practice in it as it was in competition until the few days prior to the event starting. The water is a lot fresher than the last two stops but a great way to cool of in the warm weather and really wake you up. The feature is powerful and steep but offers big air once you work things out.

The first few days we had team-training slots. In mine were Australia, New Zealand and Japan. An epic combination of people, skills and enthusiasm!

I woke up Friday morning and practice was no longer and option the event was about to begin! But for me, and all the rest of the women this meant a day of rest, to relax and watch the other competitors, as we were not on until Saturday.

But Saturday flew up fast enough. Prelims were on at 3pm. I was in the 5th heat so had plenty of time even once the first women began. Nerves played a toll on me but I made it through to semifinals in 8th place. Later this afternoon we were back on again, everywoman battling to make the top 5. The competition was tough and I didn’t pull off a good enough ride finishing up still in 8th. And that was the end of it for me. My first World Cup in the Woman’s division was officially over! And my final overall standing was 6th place! With Emily Jackson taking the Women’s honors as the 2012 Women’s World Cup Champion!

I was proud to compete against my idols and they all kept me so positive and calm on the water against them. This is truly the only sport I’ve seen where such high level athletes are all the best of friends even when they are each other’s biggest rivals.

Now I’m looking forward to Gauleyfest and can’t wait to see all my international friends again next year as we all step up the level of play for the World Championships 2013!

Thanks so much to all my sponsors for making my dreams and accomplishments possible! I couldn’t have done it without your support! I completed the whole competition in my Rockstar S and loved every moment of it!
Thanks Jackson Kayak!

Courtney Kerin