4X Champ: Jackson Takes North Fork Crown (Plus, POV of Winning Run)

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Don’t think that a year off from racing because of COVID-19 slowed extreme kayakers down at all. Especially phenom Dane Jackson, who won again on Saturday, June 19, at the prestigious North Fork Championship, a competition built to expose the talent of the best kayakers in the world on an amazing piece of whitewater.

This year the NFC again hosted the world’s best kayakers to vie for the title of World Champion and King and Queen of the North Fork World Championship.

With three qualifying races, the NFC Film Fest, NFC Whitewater Festival, and top-shelf parties along the way, the NFC, sponsored this year by RedBull, Toyota, Yeti, NRS, GoPro and more, was a success as raging as its rapids, with Dane Jackson again showing his dominance in extreme racing by notching his unprecedented fourth win in the Class V badge of courage.

Jackson outdueled Alec Voorhees  by over 3 seconds, with a time of 1:52 to Voorhees’ 1:55.41 in the finals. Jeremy Nash took third at 1:58.89. Jackson’s victory added to wins in the event in 2019, 2017 and 2016. In 2018, Aniol Serrasolses took top honors.

“This was one of the hardest courses we’ve had yet, and every gate from 1 through 6 had the potential to be missed,” Jackson says. “This year with the new feature and new gates you were working harder throughout the whole race. So it was much more difficult to keep the energy up to muscle each move.”

For the women, Sage Donnelly took first at 3:55, ahead of Natalie Anderson at 4:30 and Darby McAdams at 4:42.

Changed in 2019, this year’s format again offered racers a do-or-die format over three-rounds of racing, the field being whittled down each day. This new structure, says organizers, allows winners to pass through each round, eventually ending up in Saturday’s final on Jacobs Ladder.

Racers all got a chance to deliver their fastest time in S-Turn Rapid, with the top 40 men and top 10 women going on to round two. In Round Two’s North Face Head-to-Head, racers got placed based on their times from the previous day, with the fastest time matched with slowest time. The winners of each round, a field of 20 men and 5 women, advanced to the finals on Saturday, held on Jacob’s Ladder, where the day’s fastest paddler won.

And this was no easy feat on a surging race course known for chewing up paddlers — let alone when having to maneuver the gates set-up throughout the course.

“I was super stoked to be able to pull together a solid run on my first lap, making all the gates and only a few mistakes,” says Jackson. “Although the few mistakes I had, like spinning around, dropping low on a gate, I thought that would put my time slower. I felt that time would be topped in the second rounds by any number of people, so I was super surprised that held for both runs for the win. Although my second run was much faster throughout the course, I guess my lifejacket grazed a gate, which I didn’t feel, so the first run ended up being my faster time. I am beyond stoked to end up on top again, but in the end I was just fired up to get to race with everyone again, it was an unreal day.”
As for any miscues on a stretch that fosters them, he adds: “The first run had a few things that felt much slower than they clearly ended up being. My seondnd run was the run I wanted, but must’ve just grazed one of the gates, but it happens.

Watch his winning run here:

Results:

Women

North Fork World Championship
BibGenderFirst NameLast NameBest Time
12FSageDonnelly3:25.47
21FNatalieAnderson4:30.09
33FDarbyMcAdams4:42.35
44FKirraPaulus5:06.56
55FAnnaWagner5:15.70

Men

PlaceBibGenderFirst NameLast NameBest Time
110000MDaneJackson1:52.00
211MAlecVoorhees1:55.41
317MJeremyNash1:58.89
430000MTadDennis2:01.87
518MKalobGrady2:03.62

 

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