Today is the official hangover day. After 14 heats of K1 Men prelims, only 20 of the 71 competitors moved on to the quarter finals later this afternoon. Many of the remaining 51 paddlers, as a result, were out in full party mode last night. Some were celebratory while others were a bit more sullen than convivial. Several of the men who came to North Carolina knew their prospects for advancing past the first round were slim. For many, the importance of the event lies in where they place in relation to years past, and to simply belong. It doesnít hurt that the Green River is close at hand for those international boaters who also take in the creeks along with the freestyle.
US Eric Jackson placing 11th in prelims.
The sad story yesterday was USAís Bryan Kirkís 22nd place finish. Upon making the team, Kirk has had a singular mission to compete in the World Championships. His first run sealed his fate as he struggled to initiate moves, constantly getting rejected from the hole. It was tragic to watch as the time ticked down while the score grew too slowly to keep pace. In the end he was shy of the cut line by 182 points. The remaining US men all made it through to the next round with Dane Jackson holding on to first place by 304 points. Todayís quarter finals will cut the field down to 10 men. Of the top 20 qualifiers, Great Britain holds the majority with six men, followed by the USís five, with three Frenchmen, Two Slovakians, and one each of Canada, Poland, Spain and Japan.
As I post this, the C1 Men are finishing up their runs and K1 Women are starting up. The US has four C1 entries. Previously in the week the OC-1 Men set the stage for the single paddle events. USís Jordan Poffenberger and Dane Jackson took first and second in the OC-1 prelims. Most consider Jordan, holding on to first after prelims, as the favorite. Second was USís Tad Dennis in the new Wave Sport Mobius. Dane Jackson, the reigning World Champion, produced a sub par first run combined with a the top scoring run of the prelims combining to place him in fourth place going into finals.
Tad Dennis throwing down a huge second run to position him second after prelims.
Dane Jackons's second run with father Eric looking in the background