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There was a moment of hesitation when deciding- do we go to the Freestyle World Championships in 2022. Often when we haven’t done something in a minute you can question the WHY- Pros, Cons, positives, negatives, and implications of your decision.

I am writing this from a couch in Nottingham, England. My decision was YES- I am to go to the World Championships- My Why at this particular one feels quite different, foreign even and it leaves me with a different approach. My WHY was because I think kayakers are the greatest group of people in the World, I miss my family and friends and nothing makes me more happy then paddling in an eddy with people close to me and pushing myself to grow. What could possibly help me grow more than the biggest platform for Freestyle Kayaking? The World Championships of course.

World Championships- Pre Event Reflection

My Why is to show my kids that we should choose to do Hard Things. That sometimes the hardest part is committing to showing up.

To be fair, I feel strong, I have spent the last 3 years focusing on how I feel. Learning what makes me feel good, what doesn’t, what motivates me, what doesn’t, what inspires me, what doesn’t. This approach has made me feel the most content and aware in my kayak. It has allowed me to not be concerned about what others are doing as their approaches wouldn’t serve me, and my approaches wouldn’t serve them.

World Championships- Pre Event Reflection

There are moments that I recognize I would love to hole myself up near a good feature for a couple weeks and grow as a paddler, but when I think about It, at the expense of the other aspects of my paddling and life. I am incredibly grateful for the choices I have made. I may not feel as well trained or ready as some of my fellow competitors BUT I am mentally ready.

Today I wrapped up my kid’s school between now and July 4- the end of the World Championships. I sent off the majority of my work emails and cleaned up my inbox, I walked and logged my miles and I finished my book. I set myself up to allow myself to focus on me and my paddling, and those close to me. I am so ready. Yet what a different ready this is for me!

World Championships- Pre Event Reflection

Watching the ladies has been REALLY fun, man are they driven and OH how they’ve grown! So many ladies are throwing impressive and challenging moves. So many ladies are pushing themselves full force and its been fun to see the results of their training.

I am in a weird spot where I feel like I’ve been doing the same moves for 15+ years now and to be honest I have! But after recently switching to a medium Rockstar V, I am loving the new feel of the moves. I have never really been a medium boat paddler, but with added strength (and determination) it was one of the best things I’ve done in a long while. I get AIR and the moves feel different and exciting and I have grown so much since making the switch. Yesterday I was told “Go do a Lunar Loop- we’ve seen all your other moves before.” Sure enough I got a great one off the bat. When I thought about it, as I worked my right tricky-woo at 11:30 last night, I laughed when I realized the first comp ride I did one in, was 2005. 17 years ago! I often wonder if my Dad counts years like that, and how it must feel.

First World Championship

Once I think about how long I’ve doing things, it actually brings me great joy, because I sincerely feel I am still here because I have learnt and continue to remember my WHYs. And although they change, I ensure they always bring me great joy. I am driven to paddle well because doing so is fun for me. I also recognize that competition does not determine how good of a paddler I am and that people rarely remember how you place, but they always remember how you make them feel.

So I am here to make my family feel supported, to push myself as an individual, to take time to focus on growth, and to visit with the most amazing individuals.

When I remind myself of these things- I feel I have already won.

World Championships- Pre Event Reflection

Now as we get closer to the event I am going to focus on getting some downtime, executing my routine, adventure with family and truly appreciate the joy of being here.

For everyone that has sent me uplifting messages and words of encouragement- thank you! To all of those I have shared the eddy with- what a joy it is to paddle with you all! I am having a ton of fun and look forward to my 8th time competing at the World Championships!

World Championships- Pre Event Reflection

Emily Jackson

2005- 4th Place – Australia
2007- 1st Place – Canada
2009- 1st Place- Switzerland
2011- 2nd- Germany
2015- 1st- Canada
2017- 11th- Argentina (Not actually sure what place I got but I think it was like 11th or 8th or something lol)
2019- 5th- Spain
2022- ???? England