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This past month, I had the most amazing experience in my life. For three weeks, My brother Brody and I competed in the ICF World Cup. The crazy thing, is it was held in Europe! We had never been on a plane nor overseas, this was only our second time out of the country. We weren’t alone of course, we got to travel with team Jackson Kayak members Nick Troutman, Dane Jackson, Emily Jackson, Jason Craig, and Courtney Kerin. It was unbelievable…literally…I couldn’t believe I was on the other side of the world!

The plane rides were alright, though one was delayed due to tornado warnings. Then the French air traffic control workers went on strike, so we ended up getting to the first feature at 6:00 am. Brody and I had a practice session that day at 9:00 am and we were also competing that day at 4:00 pm. So, we flew across the world, drive through the night, and then compete that day…exciting!

The first competition was in Millau, France. The feature was difficult, it had no power so every move you threw, you had to muscle it through. It was super small, being only about boat length wide. It was a fun competition though, I had never paddled in a feature like this one. Thankfully, I made the cut into semi finals that day, but unfortunately Brody got 13th when they cut to 10. I messed up during semi finals and took 10th but I wasn’t upset, I was too excited to be competing in the ICF World Cup in Europe!
The next competition, in Salt, Spain, I had better results. The feature reminded me of American features. It wasn’t too steep, had some power, and was relatively retentive. I enjoyed this feature a lot. In practice Brody and I stuck every trick we knew. We both were able to make semi finals with Brody placing 7th and myself placing 5th. I was super stoked to have made semis in the top 5. But unfortunately we both were not consistent enough, Brody placed 10th and I placed 9th. I wasn’t worried about it though, I was glad with my rides in prelims.

We then moved on the the last spot in Sort, Spain. Sort by far was the most difficult feature. It was a massive wave-hole that was really trashy with a lot of power. It also wasn’t very deep in some places, I found that out the hard way. It was also flushy in certain areas, and if you flushed it would take about 20 seconds to make it back to the feature, and you only had 45 second rides. Everybody’s rides were really low at this competition, with 213 points combined being the cut in junior mens. Fortunately I was able to pull together a good enough ride in preliminaries to make the cut into semi finals; Brody sadly took 17th in prelims. During semi finals I knew all I had to do was have a solid ride where I did not flush, and I would have a good chance at making finals. But, once again I was consistent in my placings and took 10th. I didn’t care that much though, I was happy to make top 10 in each competition.
Overall I placed 10th in the world, and Brody placed 13th! We are both very happy and thankful that we were able to travel to the other side of the world to compete in the ICF World Cup! I had a blast traveling and competing in Europe with my brother and friends. I cant wait for next year when we go to Ottawa, Canada to compete in the ICF World Championships!

I’d like to give a big thanks to my parents who gave me this opportunity, and to the Jackson Kayak team members who I got to travel with!!