Three-peat for Dane Jackson in WW Grand Prix

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Start singing that Na-na-na-na, hey-heeey, Goodbye song. That’s what kayaking phenom Dane Jackson pulled off yet again in this year’s coveted Whitewater Grand Prix on a variety of rivers in Quebec, coming in first in three of the six events and second in two others to win the title for the third straight year.

Taking second in the kick-off Big Trick event to Nick Troutman and third in the second event’s BoaterCross, it wasn’t until the third event, the Time Trial, that Jackson earned a visit to the top spot on the podium. Then he kept the streak going with a win in the fourth event, the Big Wave Challenge, and the final event’s Giant Slalom to take home the overall crown for a third straight time.

“It’s an insane feeling to have won it a third time,” says Jackson, who flew to Hawaii immediately afterward for a shoot with GoPro. “I’m pretty surprised and super stoked. It was as another epic year.”

As for which event he liked best, the answer is “yes.”

“Each event was hard, whether it was trying to beat the others or just make it down the course,” he says. “I’m stoked on the events in the whole, but it’s hard to pick a favorite. It’s just always an incredible event. The stages are all different and fun. And it’s good times no matter what.”

Levels, he adds, were perfect, something organizers have no control over. “This was probably the luckiest Grand Prix yet for levels,” he says. “It was also one of the better ones, as well as the stiffest competition.”

“Some people had more strengths in one aspect compared to the other,” he adds. “Joel Kowalski, Rush Sturges, Nick Troutman, Gerd Serresoles and a few others challenged me in every event.”

He shone the brightest, perhaps, in the fourth event’s Big Wave Challenge, which challenged even Jackson as the elusive, ice-filled Black Mass Wave on the Mistassibi came in as a frothing maw.

“People were catching the wave about half the time,” Ben Marr told event correspondent Capo Rettig. “It was so steep and fast you had to change your momentum from downstream movement to surfing in a split second.”

After a few single-trick rides, Dane threw a full score airscrew followed closely by an airscrew-to-airscrew combo into an airscrew-to-clean-blunt combo. According to Rettig, his tricks were so quick and on top of one another that the judges were forced to spend extra minutes using the video review to correctly judge the ride that eventually went on to win him first place. Kowalski took second in the hair-raising freestyle event, with Troutman taking third and Rush Sturges fourth.

From there, it was onto the Freestyle Throwdown, which was won by Troutman and put him in the running for the overall crown heading into the sixth and final event, the Giant Slalom, through raging, big water Class V.

“That final event was the scariest,” Jackson says.

But that’s when he came through again, winning the event by just a tenth of a second ahead of Sturges and Evan Garcia to take home the overall crown for an unprecedented third straight time in a row. In all, he finished with 164 points to 144 for Sturges in second and 141 for Kowalski in third.

“I almost had him,” says Sturges. “The kid is on another level in pretty much every aspect of the sport. Extraterrestrial.”

As for the event on the whole, Sturges says it was awesome but taxing. “I enjoyed all the events,” he says. “The Boater Cross is one of my least favorite events because although it’s epic for spectators, it’s very dangerous and scary going head to head against your close friends.

“It was cold and rainy a good portion of the time,” he adds. “This makes it difficult to keep your morale and positivity up. It’s a lot of days on the road in close quarters with everyone. Part of the Grand Prix is just getting through each stage and maintaining your health and positivity. It’s a battle start to finish.

“Pat does a great job on a shoe string budget. There is no question that it is the most progressive event in our sport. I look forward to seeing how it continues to evolve over the years.”

As for Jackson, he took another step toward cementing himself as the sport’s best.

“He’s truly a phenom,” says kayaker and writer Frederick Reimers, on hand to write a feature story on the event for Outside magazine (view his daily updates HERE. “I got to witness firsthand how next-level he is. It wasn’t even close really: he took first in three events and second in two others.”

Martina Wegman, meanwhile, of the Netherlands, took first for the women with consistent performances, winning the Time Trial and BoaterCross and finishing in the top five in every other event. While it still came down to the last event, the showings earned her the top overall spot with 34 points to Mariann Saether’s 33.

With the event wrapped up, the competitors dispersed back to their hometown rivers and other events throughout the country and world, knowing that the Grand Prix, even without a purse, is the best of the best that there is, testing all around paddling better than any other event on the water-filled planet.

Men’s Overall Results
1. Dane Jackson (USA) [164pts]
2. Rush Sturges (USA) [144pts]
3. Joel Kowalski (CAN) [141pts]
4. Nick Troutman (USA) [126pts]
5. Gerd Serrasolses (ESP) [120pts]

Women’s Overall Results
1. Martina Wegman (NLD) [34pts]
2. Mariann Saether (NOR) [33pts]
3. Adriene Levknecht (USA) [30.5pts]
4. Sandra Hyslop (GBR) [24pts]
5. Nicole Mansfield (USA) [20.5pts]

Stage 6: Men’s Giant Slalom Results:
1st Place: Dane Jackson (USA) [1:18.5]
2nd Place: Rush Sturges (USA) [1:18.6]
3rd Place: Evan Garcia (USA) [1:19.0]
4th Place: Joel Kowalski (CAN) [1:20.0]
5th Place: Gerd Serrasolses (ESP) [1:20.2]

Stage 6: Women’s Giant Slalom Results:
1st Place: Mariann Saether (NOR) [1:32.1]
2nd Place: Martina Wegman (NLD) [1:33.1]
3rd Place: Adriene Levknecht (USA) [1:35.3]
4th Place: Nicole Mansfield (USA) [1:42.7]
5th Place: Sandra Hyslop (GBR) [1:56.6]

Stage 5: Men’s Freestyle Throw-down Results:
1st Place: Nick Troutman (CAN) [87.5]
2nd Place: Dane Jackson (USA) [86.66]
3rd Place: Bryan Kirk (USA) [83.33]
4th Place: Mathieu Dumoulin (FRA) [81.67]
5th Place: Rush Sturges (USA) [80.83]

Stage 5: Women’s Freestyle Thrown-down Results:
1st Place: Adriene Levknecht (USA) [27.5]
2nd Place: Mariann Saether (NOR) [24.17]
3rd Place: Martina Wegman (NLD) [21.67]
4th Place: Sandra Hyslop (GBR) [16.67]
5th Place: Hannah Kertesz (USA) [12.5]

Stage 4: Big Wave Challenge Women’s Results:
1st Place: Hannah Kertesz (USA)
2nd Place: Adriene Levknecht (USA)
3rd Place: Martina Wegman (NLD)
4th Place: Sandra Hyslop (GBR)
5th Place: Nicole Mansfield (USA) & Mariann Saether (NOR)

Stage 4: Big Wave Challenge Men’s Results:
1st Place: Dane Jackson (USA)
2nd Place: Joel Kowalski (CAN)
3rd Place: Nick Troutman (CAN)
4th Place: Rush Sturges (USA)
5th Place: Devyn Scott (CAN)

Stage 3: Women’s Time Trial Results:
1st Place: Martina Wegman (NLD)
2nd Place(tie): Adriene Levknecht (USA) // Mariann Saether (NOR)
4th Place: Sandra Hyslop (GBR)
5th Place: Nicole Mansfield (USA)

Stage 3: Men’s Time Trial Results:
1st Place: Dane Jackson (USA)
2nd Place: Chris Gragtmans (CAN)
3rd Place: Tino Specht (USA)
4th Place: Gerd Serrasolses (ESP)
5th Place: Tyler Curtis (CAN)

Stage 2: Women’s BoaterCross Results:
1st Place: Martina Wegman (NLD)
2nd Place: Sandra Hyslop (GBR)
3rd Place: Mariann Saether (NOR)
4th Place: Nicole Mansfield (USA)
5th Place: Lu Urwin (NZL)

Stage 2: Men’s BoaterCross Results:
1st Place: Marcos Gallegos (CHL)
2nd Place: Joel Kowalski (CAN)
3rd Place: Dane Jackson (USA)
4th Place: Rush Sturges (USA)

Stage 1: Women’s Big Trick Results:
1. Mariann Saether
2. Adrienne Levknecht
3. Nichole Mansfield
4. Martina Wegman
5. Sandra Hyslop

Stage 1: Men’s Big Trick Results:
1. Nick Troutman
2. Dane Jackson
3. Tino Spret
4. Devin Scott

More info: CLICK HERE

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