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The Canadian team trials took place in Kananaskis, Alberta at a sweet little hole called Chubbies. Before the lead up to this event I hadn’t really done much real hole boating, only messing around on the wave holes on the Ottawa so this was a big change from waves to small holes. I did a lot of training in the month leading up to team trials and really built up a routine that I was stoked on for the hole that it was held on and for how long it took to come together. For the first time I really focused on flatwater freestyle and really was able to dial in some tricks through the flatwater which I think helped my overall freestyle. In the lead up to the event I tried out features and moves on rivers that I would usually totally overlook but turned out pretty fun to try stuff in.

Photo Credit: James Huser

The actual event was awesome, we trained for about a week before the comp and every day there’s was a different competition going on such as downriver, slalom and boatercross. I unfortunately didn’t compete in any of these but took advantage of the time that people were at the events to get more time in the hole. The freestyle day was awesome, there were 27 juniors signed up initially and a showing of 16 junior men, the most of all categories, battling it out for just 3 spots on the team.

All rounds were super fun, prelims was the most stress free with 2 rides and both being combined and the group being cut down from 16 to 10 and was just doing what was consistent and will get through the round, I came out with a combined score of 683 and in 1st going into semis followed by a cadet shredder Dane Menzies with Coleman Heaven holding the 2nd spit on the team and Cole Oruski in the 3rd spot.
Next up was the semi finals, this is the most difficult round in most freestyle competitions and in this one was had 2 rides and only 1 counted. So you definitely have to be on your A game now point everyone is a competitor with a chance and the group get cut in half from 10 to only 5. I came out of semis with my worst scores of the comp having a 300 as my highest ride but was still able to hold the first spot through the finals. Cole followed in second, Dane in third and Coleman in 4th place and with the 3rd team spot.

Photo Credit: Jeff Bloor

Now was finals, the part that really matter and the last time to put up rides. The format for this round is 3 rides with 1 counting, this way you can really put up the best score possible. In the first 2 rides everyone has solid rides with high and solid scores. I was in the lead with 313 still, Hunter and Dane were tied with 280 and Coleman had the last team spot with 220.

Photo Credit: Jeff Bloor

Now there is the last rides, here everyone really stepped up and the bets jr mens rides of the day all around were shown in a battle for the team spots. In the final 3 rides of the jr mens class first Dane put up a 300 point ride to come into second place, really solid ride especially considering he’s too young to actually make the team! Next up was Cole Oruski and he threw up an amazing 423 point ride, the highest of the day for our class and doubling his other finals ride, he was now in first place by a good amount. At this point I knew I had a spot on the team so I went all out to try and claim the top spot. I totally nailed my ride like it was in practice, got air and huge bonuses and put up by far my best score of the day with a score of 613.
I was so stoked about the whole trip and how much my hole boating had improved, I can’t wait to represent Canada in Sort next summer for worlds!

– Luke Pomeroy