Whitewater Gran Prix Heads to Chile

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Last year’s inaugural event in Quebec, won by upstart Dane Jackson, took place in the form of six different stages over two weeks, each stage seeming more ridiculous than the last in terms of difficulty or size, testing 25 of the world’s top paddlers invited by selection. This year’s will follow a similar format.

“The format of the second WWGP in Chile will be similar, with numerous events over a two week period,” says organizer Pat Camblin, adding that most invitees were based on results from around the world over the past year, as well as a view via a select video process. “It’s our aim to showcase the sport of whitewater kayaking and some of its most talented athletes in the best venues in the world.”

In all, the Whitewater Grand Prix will bring 30 of the world’s best to compete in five events over 14 days from Dec. 1-14 on some of Chile’s most challenging Class V whitewater.

Invited this go-around are last year’s Top 5 winners, including winner Dane Jackson, Ben Marr, Rush Sturges, Nick Troutman and Bryan Kirk; women’s top three finishers Louis Urwin from New Zealand, last year’s winner, Mariann Saether from Norway and Adriene Levknecht from the U.S. Also invited are France’s Eric Deguil, this year’s AWP champ; Issac Levinson, last year’s winner of the green Race; San Sutton from New Zealand, who took first in this year’s Sickline event; Mike Dawson, because, well, he’s Mike Dawson; Andrew Holcombe and Evan Garcia, who won two events at last year’s Whitewater Gran Prix.

Also getting a last-minute invitation was Jared Seiler, sponsored by Pyranha, IR, Werner, Astral Buoyancy and more. “I’ve been going down to Chile for the past five years in a row, and am really looking forward to it,” he says. “Bringing that many good kayakers together at a world-class playground is very exciting…epic things will happen. The first Grand Prix was a huge success and generated tons of exposure. This year I know will do the same.”

For those hoping to catch the action live, the tentative schedule is as follows:

Opening Party: (Location: Pucon, Chile):
“It’s an epic party to get things started,” says Cambl’n. “We will welcome the athletes in true whitewater form.”
Whitewater Enduro (Location: Rio Gol Go):
Kayakers race against the clock on a challenging section of whitewater which includes 18 gates they must cleanly pass through. A highlight from the 2011 event in Quebec, this is sure to test the athletes.

Whitewater Enduro (Location: Rio Puesco, Pucon Region):
Kayakers race against the clock on a challenging section of whitewater which includes 18 gates they must cleanly pass through. A highlight from the 2011 event in Quebec, this is sure to test the athletes.

Whitewater Sprint: (Location: Rio Fuy):
Kayakers race one at a time down a short, steep and technical section of whitewater navigating their way safely down rapids, cascades and waterfalls.

Whitewater Enduro: (Location: Futaleufu River, Patagonia):
Kayakers will finish this year’s WWGP with a challenging race down an extended section of big Class V water on one of the prettiest rivers in the world.

BoaterCross: Location: Futaleufu River, Patagonia):
This is sure to be another great event, with the kayakers battling down one of the biggest rapids on the Futaleufu…perhaps at the infamous Throne Room.

Closing party: (Location: Futaleufu River, Patagonia, Chile): An end-all bash to close the event and celebrate the standout performances.

And, drum roll please for PL’s pick for the men’s and women’s winners ….

A U.S. sweep with Dane Jackson in a repeat for the men, and Adriene Levknecht for the women.

Info: www.whitewatergranprix.com

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