In a possible up-and-coming run on the Jackson throne, Team Dagger’s 17-year-old Max Karlsson of Sweden captured first place overall in the Junior K1 Men’s division, as well as first place in the Men’s Squirt competition, at the Sixth Annual Freestyle World Cup earlier this month.
World Cup events took place June 25-29 at the Natural Games in Millau, France; July 1-6 in Salt, Spain; and July 7-12 in Sort, Spain.
Karlsson also calls Erie, Colorado, home, and his first run down Boulder Creek was at age 9, in the Dagger Dynamo he snagged from his big sister.
The World Cup, which takes place every two years, has grown to be the most prestigious and recognized event for freestyle paddlers, and competition in the Junior K1 Men’s division included elite playboaters from around the world. Freestyle kayaking is a mix of style and acrobatic maneuvers executed in torrent water. If you aren’t adept at pulling off phonix monkeys and mcnasties in giant holes, you will not be competitive here.
Each competitor has 45 seconds to demonstrate their set of moves in front of the panel of judges. Karlsson, who paddled a carbon Dagger Jitsu, took first place in two out of three events, for an overall win in the Junior K1 division, with an overall score of 300 — the highest score for any competitor in the World Cup.
“The World Cup Freestyle event is one of the most challenging competitions, and to win is a tremendous victory,” said Chris Gragtmans, Team Dagger manager. “Team Dagger is incredibly proud to have Max on the roster and it has been exciting to watch him progress as an athlete. Our 2014 season has gotten off to a great start and Max is a big part of that success. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him and the entire Team Dagger the rest of this year.”
Learn more about Max Karlsson, Team Dagger and the latest athlete accomplishments on the Dagger Community page.