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The ICF 2012 World Cup was going to be very memorable for me. This was my first international event and also my first time in the Eastern United States. There were definitely a couple things that took me a while to get used to! One was the strict international scoring system that required most moves to land within a 20 degree angle compared to the 45 degrees in the United States. Also, back east there are scheduled releases throughout the day and week. For example the water would turn on from three pm to six pm at Rock Island. This was unique because the Caney Fork River does not release until mid October, but there was an exception because this was the first sponsored ICF freestyle kayaking competition ever held in the United States. It was also the first time a visual electronic scoring system was ever used. The three competitions were held at Rock Island, Tennessee, the Pigeon River near Hartford, Tennessee, and the Nantahala Outdoor Center near Bryson City, North Carolina.
Rock Island was the first stop on the World Cup tour. It was a wave/hole that was very tough to stick moves, but loops, airscrews, blunts, and back pan ams were a few of the most common moves being thrown. After flushing off the wave the fastest way to retain the feature was on river left and paddle behind a beautiful cascading waterfall. While practicing I was indecisive on whether to use the Rockstar or change boats right before the competition to the 2013 Superstar. I decided to paddle the Rockstar L, but after one session I dislocated my big toe on my right foot. This happened when I plugged for a loop! My toes were wrapped around the foam foot blocks and that force just it right out! After this happened, EJ convinced me that the 2013 Superstar had more foot room than the Rockstar Large. The next day we went to the Jackson Kayak Factory and they had the 1st Superstar out of the mold for me and it was mine to keep! After 2 sessions in the new boat, it was time to compete and I was stoked! There were competitors from all over the world. In the Junior’s division there were people from USA, Great Britain, Australia, Spain, Sweden, and Canada! I ended up in 4th place at the first competition and that was important for the overall standings!
The next event was at the Pigeon River. The craziest thing about Pigeon was that local raft guides piled up a bunch of rocks and created one of the best holes in the United States of America. It is a slow and retentive hole that put up ridiculous scoring rides. Every hole move went massive and air bonuses were given left and right. In this event I made it into the semi finals and had a placing of 7th.

The final world cup event at NOC was the best event for spectators. With bleachers and interactive scoreboards on plasma TVs, this made it possible for the audience to be more engaged in the competition hearing the announcers and seeing it on the screen! The hole was very steep, shallow, and fast which made it difficult to figure out. This event had a week of practice time which actually allowed you to get enough rides that it didn’t feel like it was your first time at the spot. I did not have the best rides that I could have, and I was not satisfied with 10th place. We all have bad days, so I quickly forgot about my rides and had a positive attitude while watching. The best thing was that I met my goal and took 5th overall in the Junior’s division. Congrats to JK Team Member and new friend Hunter Katich for taking the title. In the Men’s finals Dane and Peter went back and forth. It was the single most entertaining finals I have ever witnessed as Peter pulled off a 1538 to overcome Dane and win the final event and 1st place overall.

The World Cup was a great experience for me. Thank you to the Jackson Family for all of your support. I met great people and saw a different part of my home country. The 2013 JK Superstar treated me well and I will definitely remember this for the rest of my life!