Onto the Rouge: WW Grand Prix Kicks Off on Ottawa’s Gladiator Wave

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It reads like a Who’s Who of Whitewater. Fresh off last year’s extravaganza in Chile, 35 paddlers (27 men and 7 women) competed Monday, April 28, on the Ottawa River’s Gladiator Wave for the Best Trick award to kick off the 2014 Whitewater Grand Prix. And it was a familiar name on the podium…

You do the math. Drawing such big names as Dane Jackson, Nick Troutman, Rush Sturges, Bryan Kirk and yes, for the first time, Eric Jackson, from the USA, as well as such Canadian stalwarts as Kalob Grady, Ben Marr, Tyler Curtis and Joel Kowalski, as well as a host of top paddlers form other countries, the Whitewater Grand Prix, which this year will be covered in a feature story in Outside magazine, brings the sports best together for a week-long series of events on some of the toughest whitewater on the planet.

The men are matched in force at the event by the world’s top women kayakers, including Martina Wegman, Nicole Mansfield, Adrienne Levkneckt, Sandra Hyslop, Mariann Saether, Louise Urwin and Hanna Kertesz.

If the first day’s action is any indication, there’s a whirlwind of awesome whitewater paddling in store. Kickig off the event was the Big Trick award, in which paddlers were given several chances to wow their peers with their biggest move. In a beautiful multi-media presentation afterwards, each paddler was then tasked with raking the top 10 men and women, without voting for themselves. In the end, it came down to familiar names topping the winner’s bracket, with Troutman taking the men’s class ahead of Dane Jackson for the men, and Saether taking the women’s leader-board spot ahead of Adrienne Levknecht.

From there, it was onto the wild and wooly Rogue for the Boatercross event, whose results will be posted shortly.
Results: Day 1 Big Trick
Women:

1. Mariann Saether- 2014 Jackson Rock Star
2. Adrienne Levknecht- Dagger Jitzu
3. Nichole Mansfield- Fluid Jed
4. Martina Wegman
5. Sandra Hyslop

Men’s Class:
1. Nick Troutman- 2014 Rock Star
2. Dane Jackson- 2014 Rock Star
3. Tino Spret- 2013 All-Star
4. Devin Scott

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