Faux-Troutman Nab Top Honors at Paddling Life Pro Invitational


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With high water coursing down the Rocky Mountains, freshly married Nick Troutman of Jackson Kayak and Australia’s Tanya Faux took home top overall honors at this year’s Paddling Life Pro Invitational on Monday, May 25, sponsored by Steamboat in the Summertime, NRS, Kokatat and Dagger Kayaks.

Troutman, the world freestyle kayak bronze medalist, earned the title after flipping to a first-place finish in the afternoon’s freestyle event, barely edging out Stephen Wright and Corey Volt in the freestyle finals. Following Troutman in second place overall was world kayak freestyle silver medalist Andrew Holcombe of Dagger Kayaks, whose win in the raging Fish Creek race earlier in the day offset an eight-place finish in freestyle to earn him the runner-up spot. Two-time Paddling Life Invitational champion Stephen Wright settled for third place overall, with a second-place showing in freestyle and sixth-place finish in the creek race.

For the women, it was Australia’s Tanya Faux soaring to her third overall title in a row, with wins in both the creek race and freestyle event, followed by Emily Jackson of Jackson Kayak in second, with a third-place finish in the creek race and second-pace showing in freestyle, and Kiwi Nikki Kelly in third, with a second-place showing in the creek race and sixth-place showing in freestyle. World freestyle kayak champion Ruth Gordon took fourth overall.

“All in all, it was a great event,” says owner and Paddling Life founder Eugene Buchanan of the two-event competition drawing some of the world’s beset kayakers to Steamboat Springs and offering more than $3,500 in cash and prizes. “There are a lot of other events going on in Colorado right now, and it was great to see so many competitors come up between the Buena Vista event and next week’s freestyle nationals in Glenwood Springs.”

The unique event tests both downriver creek racing and freestyle, with the best overall score determining the champion. “It’s great to have a one-day event that rewards both creek racing and freestyle,” says Troutman.

Primary sponsors of this year’s event include Steamboat in the Summertime, Kokatat, NRS, Dagger Kayaks and Canoe & Kayak magazine. The event also draws attention to Charlie’s Hole downtown, which the City based its successful recreational in-channel diversion water right (RICD) filing on in 2004. “This is just one way to help showcase what a world-class feature the town has,” adds Buchanan. “Plus, it’s a great way to showcase and reward today’s best all-around paddlers.”

Special Hobie Helmet Cam of the Fish Creek Race:
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Event Photos:
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Quotes from the Competitors

Steven Wright: I was pretty bummed that I lost to Nick, but we are still friends. I got flushed out on my last ride, and it was funny because sitting in the eddy just before that I said to Nick, “I’m going to beat you this round.” Also the “Wave Monkey” was pretty cool because no one has ever done that before. As for the dual-event format, it’s definitely tricky, but it is a great alternative to the standard format where the competition is based over a few days. The rain, and cold today made it hard, but overall it was a great event, and it was also good how they also adopted the official judging system but kind of kept their jam session format.

Tanya Faux: I was proud over my win for the fourth year in a row. The creek race at high water was really fun, and so was the feature for the freestyle event. My dog also certainly liked it here.

Nick Troutman: It was good to beat Stephen Wright, but I am also bummed about his flush, but overall the day went pretty well. After both the creek event and the freestyle I am ready for bed. The good thing about having both events on the same is that it keeps the event flowing but leaves you exhausted at the end. The move to the official USAC freestyle moves was also a good move this year, and gives the events a more official feel.

Cory Volt: This is my 4th year at the event and I am still stoked about it. I love the combo event format, because it really separates out the true paddlers. The dam for the creek race was fun, but it was also a challenge for some people due to fear. Even I put my self on live bait safety just in case, but we had no issue. As a professional paddler you need to be able to go along with what the event organizer gives you, if you are afraid then don’t compete. The judge system really favors big moves, but the move to the official format allows for better judging; I threw an entry move that no one else did and was able to get 3rd.

Creek Race Results
Name Time Place Points
Andrew Holcombe 2.46.41 1 30
Sam Sutton 2:49:00 2 25
Jared Seiler 2.52.63 3 20
Dave Fusilli 2:58:12 4 19
Nick Troutman 2:59:13 5 18
Stephen Wright 3.00.81 6 17
Ken Hoeve 3:02:28 7 NA
Bradle Lauder 3:02:44 8 16
Kelsey Thompson 3.02.88 9 15
Jeremy Laucks 3:04:53 10 14
Corey Volt 3.05.90 11 13
Dan Piano 3.07.62 12 12
Kyle Hull 3.10.82 13 11
Stephen Forster 3.20.50 14 10

Name Time Place Points
Tanya Faux 2.57.16 1 30
Nikki Kelly 2.59.97 2 25
Emily Jackson 3.14.57 3 20
Ruth Gordon 3.21.50 4 19
Sarah Hamilton DNF 5 18

Freestyle Results
Name Place
Nick Troutman 1
Stephen Wright 2
Corey Volt 3
Dave Fusilli 4
Kyle Hull 5
jared Seiler 6
Dan Pianoa 7
Andrew HOlcombe 8
Kelsey Thompson 8
Bradle Lauder 9
Jeremy Laucks 10
Sam Sutton 11
Stephen Forster 12

Name Place
Tanya Faux 1
Emily Jackson 2
Devon Barker 3
Ruth GOrdon 4
Sarah Hamilton 5
Nikki Kelly 6

Overall Results
Nick Troutman: 1
Andrew Homcombe: 2
Stephen Wright: 3

Tanya Faux: 1
Emily Jackson: 2
Nikki Kelly: 3

Staff Post
Staff Posthttps://paddlinglife.com
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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