After tying Eric Dequil in 2015 for his first share of the coveted Green Race crown, Dane Jackson made it official this year in the 23rd running of the extreme kayak race by winning it all handily, six seconds ahead of second-place finisher and multi-time winner Pat Keller.
In all, a whopping 171 racers competed in various categories of this year’s race, billed ‘Obsessed’ by organizers. Holt Mcwhirt took third, with Adriene Levknecht winning for the women.
Once again, the Green River Narrows race in North Carolina drew paddlers from around the country and the world to compete on one of extreme kayaking’s biggest stages.
In last year’s race, France’s Deguil won the day with a time of 4:05.5, setting a new course record just seven tenths of a second ahead of North Carolina’s Keller. The finish mimicked 2016 ‘s results, in which Deguil beat Keller by one second.
As usual, parties were as much of the weekend as the paddling, with Oskar Blues as a sponsor. The event kicked off with a pre-race party at Asheville’s Salvage Station featuring the first ever Green Race Festival this year Saturday night at Green River Paradise, with awards, camping, raffle, food, beer, music, a costume contest and more.
A Quick Q&A with Champ/Red Bull Athlete Dane Jackson:
What makes the Green race so special to kayakers? The intensity and difficulty to put together a smooth run when you only have one chance. The whole vibe and great community surrounding it also sets it apart.
What do you like about the race? I have to train hard, paddle hard on race day, and put all the training into one run. The best part is definitely coming around the corner and seeing the roaring crowd. All you want to do is not eat it off of a rapid called Gorilla right in front of them.
How badly did you want to win it? I wanted it pretty badly, especially after three second places and tying for first with Eric. I was definitely ready to take the top spot. Either way, I just love how fun that race is.
How has your upbringing with EJ put you in a position to succeed? Traveling the world with him and the rest of my family in my younger days, I’ve been around kayaking all my life. The opportunities he gave me, the amount of time he spent teaching me, and the positive way he got me into the sport has had a huge effect on my success.
Your dad never won the faster longboat division in the Green Race…how’s it feel to win something he hasn’t? He won the short boat division the year he raced, but he hasn’t ever competed in the long boat category. I’m just stoked to be at the top.
Results (Men’s Long Boat)
- Dane Jackson 4:10
- Pat Keller 4:18.2
- Holt McWhirt 4:18.4
- Isaac Levinson 4:19
- Stephen McGrady 4:19.2
Results (Women’s Long Boat)
1. Adriene Levknecht 4:31
2. Erin Savage 5:17
3. Emily Shanblatt 5:27
4. Carrie Schlemmer 5:36
5. Jessie Rice 26:15
Read about Dane Jackson’s tie with Dequil in 2015 HERE