Dane Jackson, Nick Troutman Tie at Paddling Life Open

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The water might not have been the highest competitors have seen but the excitement still was at this year’s seventh annual Paddling Life Pro Open on Monday, May 28, in Steamboat Springs, Colo. And the sub-par levels still didn’t stop some of the world’s best kayakers from putting on a sizzling show as the final event of the Yampa River Festival.

Sponsored by Rhino Racks, Rocky Mountain Remedies, Kokatat and the City of Steamboat Springs, the event saw an international contingent descend on the Yampa River for a winner-take-all combo-event featuring a freestyle event in Charlie’s Hole downtown and Class V race down Fish Creek.

With events flip-flopped to take better advantage of rising creek flows, the freestyle event took place first, with 17-year-old Dane Jackson barely out-dueling Nick Troutman and third-place finisher Jordan Poffenberger in the finals.

For the women, New Zealand’s Courtney Kerin took first, followed by Dutch paddler Martina Wegman and New Zealand’s Louise Jull.
From there, it was onto the creek event, where a brief warm spell brought levels up to a runnable flow on Fish Creek for the downriver race. “It was a bit bony, but still a great race,” says New Zealand’s Mike Dawson, who flew in just the night before from London where he was training for the upcoming Olympics.

In the end, Dawson took third in the creek race, just six seconds off Troutman’s winning time of 2:40 and four seconds behind Jackson at 2:42. For the women, Wegman finished first at 2:47, followed by Jull in second at 3:01 and fellow Kiwi Toni George at 3:03. “It was amazing that Dane and I were so close with the course being as rocky as it was,” says Troutman. “And it was great training for the Homestake race at the Teva Games.

Jackson’s win in freestyle and second-place showing in the creek race tied Troutman’s win in the creek race and silver showing in freestyle, and in the end the two tied for top honors, with Pofferberger taking third. For the women, Wegman took top overall honors, followed by Kerin and Jull.

“Even given the low water, the feature in Steamboat is one of the best we have on the entire circuit,” says head judge Justin Owen.

“All in all, it was a great event again, testing a little of everything,” says organizer Eugene Buchanan. “I think it helped ready everybody for the Teva Games.”

Overall Results
Women
1.Martina Wegman Creek time: 2:47:75 (1); Freestyle finish: 2
2.Courtney Kerin Creek time: 3:12:55 (5); Freestyle finish: 1
3.Louise Jull Creek time: 3:01 (2); Freestyle finish: 3

Men
1.Dane Jackson Creek time: 2:42:19 (2); Freestyle finish: 1 Points 55
Nick Troutman Creek time: 2:40:04 (1); Freestyle finish: 2 Points 55
3.Jordan Poffenberger(C1) Creek time: 3:02:34 (4); Freestyle finish: 3 Points 39
4.Mike Dawson Creek time: 2:46:12 (3); Freestyle finish: 6 Points 37
5.Luke Farney Creek time: 3:18:83 (6); Freestyle finish: 4 Points 36

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