Canadian Nick Troutman destroyed the wave and fellow paddlers in Thun with rides scoring more than 1300 points as International Canoe Federation Freestyle World Championships got under way.
Troutman led the entire men’s delegation of Canadian paddlers into the quarterfinal rounds with blistering rides full of huge air screws and was among just a handful of men successfully throwing down McNasties.
Troutman’s score of 2480, comprised of the best two of four rides, was more than 800 points ahead of the next highest scoring competitor, second place Slovakian Peter Csonka with 1613 points and nearly 1600 points ahead of defending World Champion Eric Jackson of the USA. Interesting side note: Troutman became Jackson’s son-in-law this spring when he married, Jackson’s daughter, and top pro kayaker Emily Jackson.
In all, some 14 countries will be represented in the quarterfinal round set to take place Friday. Lluis Rabaneda, Chair of the ICF Freestyle Committee said 14 countries and four continents represented by 30 paddlers demonstrates the increasing depth of talent developing in freestyle paddlers around the world beyond powerhouse countries like the USA, Canada and Australia.
Richard Fox, Second Vice President of the ICF, was seen spending a lot of time in the judging booth yesterday checking out the action, taking photos and even guest posting an observation via Twitter. “Freestyle brings a lot of energy and excitement to canoeing,” Fox said. “I think it has a lot of potential to grow and really capture the imagination of a new breed of paddler.”
High-scoring juniors point to bright future for freestyle
While the weather’s been less than spectacular, the Juniors at the International Canoe Federation Freestyle World Championships certainly are.
Four divisions competed in intermittent rain during the 2009 edition of this event going on in Thun now through Sept. 6. Perhaps the most amazing feat of the day was achieved by Jason Craig, Team USA junior men’s competitor. The 16-year-old’s score of 1708 would have landed him in second place in yesterday’s senior men’s division, behind Canada’s Nick Troutman and ahead of Slovakian powerhouse Peter Csonka.
Nine of the 10 semifinalists in junior men scored well enough to have also made the Top 30 quarterfinal cut in the senior men’s division, prompting ICF Second Vice President Richard Fox to comment that the future of freestyle seems secure and bright.
A shining light in the junior women’s division was France’s Nouria Newman. Newman’s 418 point ride eclipsed second place Sandrina Hornhardt from Germany who tallied 130 points. Also scoring more than 100 points was third place Leoni Haberling of Switzerland with 115 points.
After the scores were posted, Newman, who also competed in 2007 Worlds on Canada’s Ottawa River, sagely said it’s fun out there but there’s still a long way to go in the competition. The top 10 junior men and junior women from yesterday’s prelims advance to semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
another notable performance included an impressive 1013-point ride turned in by Canada’s Guillaume LaRue in the C1 class.
Defending champ Ruth Gordon holds down top spot in women’s freestyle prelims
Women’s K1 prelims held few surprises as wave riding action continued with 43 of the world’s top female paddlers battling out for the top 20 spots to advance quarterfinal competition in the International Canoe Federation Freestyle World Championship.
Canada flexed its muscle again today as defending World Champ and Canadian National Champion Ruth Gordon racked up 713 points in defense of her title. Close on Gordon’s heels, US National champ and last year’s World Cup champ Emily Jackson scored 601. Rounding out the top five are Norway’s Mariann Saether, Australia’s Tanya Faux and USA’s Jessie Stone.
The only upset of the competition came when former World Champ, veteran German paddler Jutta Kaiser, failed to advance out of prelims, just barely missing the Top 20 cutoff by three points.
The ladies agreed the wave was unrelenting. “You have to totally go for it,” says Team USA’s Jessie Stone. When asked about any surprises in the results, Stone laughed saying she was most surprised by her own results. “I just wanted to go out there and do what I know how to do so I’m just thrilled that I stuck a helix and flip turn and ended up Top 5.”
Another rider with a sizeable bag of tricks is Australian paddler and famously fierce competitor Tanya Faux. Despite a fourth place finish today, Faux is never really satisfied with anything less than first. Faux said that after seeing how the scores came out today, she has a much better idea of what it’s going to take to finish the event with a gold medal.
1 11 Gordon Ruth 713,333 Prelim CAN
2 90 Jackson Emily 601,667 Prelim USA
3 61 SAETHER MARIANN 528,333 Prelim NOR
4 12 Faux Tanya 500,000 Prelim AUS
5 67 Stone Jessie 365,000 Prelim USA
6 140 Wegman Martina 355,000 Prelim NLD
7 15 McDonald Carly 281,667 Prelim CAN
8 167 Kulkova Ekaterina 240,000 Prelim RUS
9 13 Jarvie Fiona 235,000 Prelim GBR
10 106 Motoko Ishida 205,000 Prelim JPN
For complete results and event schedule Click Here