Well, he did it…finally. Living up to this year’s race motto “Wishful Thinking,” kayaking phenom Dane Jackson finally broke one of the longest-running records waiting to be broken in extreme kayaking: the coveted 4-minute mark in North Carolina’s badge-of-courage Green Race.
Jackson posted the best time in the Saturday, Nov. 5, race, winning the race for the fifth time but more importantly to him, finally breaking the 4-minute barrier with a time of 3:58.68. Next up was Isaac Hull with a time of 4:11 and Holt McWhirt in third at 4:12.07. You could say he crushed it by 1.32 seconds…a lot when any ride in an errant hole could multiply that five times easily, or even a hit by a wave or something as benign as a big splash could add crucial seconds to your time.
Between the 170+ racers battling it out and 2,000 spectators hiking into the gorge, the Green River Narrows Race has emerged as the largest extreme kayak race in the world. This iconic kayak race has drawn spectators and racers from around the world, humbled Olympic medalists, and been featured on major networks such as CNN. Some have likened it to the Super Bowl of kayaking. This year’s race also served up live footage for the third time in a row, with the HammerFactor’s Green Race Live, featuring state-of-the-art live drone and high-definition camera technology. (Visit them on Facebook for updates.)
Last year, Jackson won this in a time fo 4:12, again ahead of second-place finisher Issac Hull and third-place finisher Holt McWhirt at 4:23.1— after hitting a practice run time of 4:02.3 at regular flows. But lower flows and a blip en route cost him. “It turns out upside-down and backwards not the key to sub-4,” he quipped at the time. “Experiment over, back to the drawing board for next year.” The year before he posted a time of 4:02.4, and the year before that 4:02.
“The community and vibe around the green race is just so amazing, and one of the most enjoyable weekends of the year,” he says. “Although everyone wants to do as well as possible, everyone is just having an amazing time racing, cheering friends on, and having another awesome day on the water.”
For the women, Adrienne Levknecht took first at 4:41.61, followed by Evy Leibfarth and Regina Goldkuhl.
We caught up with Jackson after his record-setting run for the lowdown on breaking 4.0:
Click below for full results, and see below for the winner of Paddling Life’s Guess the Winning Time contest, sponsored by Werner.
And Here’s Our Guess-the-Winning-Green Race-Time Winner!
Yes, thanks to PL partner Werner, Michael Watson of Columbia, SC, is the lucky winner of a new Ultimate Carbon Straight Shaft Whitewater Paddle.
“Awesome! I am pumped!” Watson says. “I knew Dane would sub-4 the Narrows this year and I knew he would be driving hard. I thought he wanted to demolish 4:00 and guessed a time that would reflect his motivation. Thanks for the 3:58:69 Dane and congratulations on the glass!”
Congratulations. Michael on your winning Green Race time guess and enjoy your new Ultimate Carbon Straight Shaft Whitewater Paddle form Werner.
Click below for NPR interview with women’s winner Adriene Levknecht
Read past Green race stories here:
Closing In On 4 Minutes: A Q&A with 25th Green Race Record-setter Dane Jackson (Watch Video!)