The reign of Dane continues. Dane Jackson, at age 30, vanquished more than a dozen would-be rivals March 12 at U.S. Freestyle Team Trials on Columbus, Georgia’s Good Wave. Jackson showed himself to be the competition’s most consistent performer, as well as its most explosive, throwing a litany of airscrews, pan-ams, helices, blunts.
Jackson will compete again on Good Wave at the World Freestyle Kayak Championships in October with fellow teammates Mason Hargrove, Hunter Katich, Hayden Voorhees, Bennet Smith, and his father Eric Jackson, who finished second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
Dane Jackson’s 2022 championship run at the Nottingham Worlds secured an extra berth for the men. In all, Team USA saw over 50 athletes compete on March 11-12 to fill just 24 spots.
“The Team Trials is always such a fun event because it’s a great time to see everyone, but it also answers the question of who is going to be trying out for the team this year, and who has been training the hardest,” says Dane. “It also is a tough event because when you know all of these people, you wish everyone could get the opportunity to compete at the World Championships. Wave comps are always a different beast, anything can happen, and you always know there are going to be upsets, and there were for sure.”
As for the upcoming Worlds being held on the same home-country feature, he says that can only help.
“Getting to be the home country and compete on the Worlds feature itself is always great because any opportunity to compete on the Worlds feature helps you prepare for the main event,” he says. “So it was a great weekend getting to see all of these paddlers lay down their rides, and we definitely have some strong paddlers this year. In the end it was just another great weekend getting to compete with some great people, big rides went down, and we are all ready to get to work.”
Missoula-native Darby McAdams, who turned 25 the day before competing in the preliminary round, emerged from a stacked field of women as the team trials champion. She will be joined by teammates Olivia McGinnis, Emily Jackson, Sage Donnelly, and Rachel Scheffe.
Makinley Kate Hargrove
—By Christian Knight