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Old 09-04-2013   #1
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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2013 Freestyle World Championships

On a whim I decided to venture out to the Nantahala Outdoor Center, NOC, for the 2013 Freestyle Kayaking World Championships. Upon arrival, the Great Smokey Mountains do not disappoint in their namesake. It’s refreshing that the “smoke” rising from mountains each morning and afternoon does not result in any sort of respiratory issues or structure loss. The ever-present damp dominates the senses while the competition regalia fills every other space not occupied by the humidity. The NOC is packed with athletes, media, and officials while at the same time accommodating customers looking for rafting and zipline tours. In the scheme of things this competition isn’t much different from any other river festival save for the international complement of teams. 27 nation flags hang from the pedestrian bridge over the river.

Today marks the second day with Men’s and Women’s Squirt boats, and K1 Jr. Women preliminaries. While the usual suspects of the Jackson and Demshitz team members are present, the national alignment of competitors provides an extra layer of excitement and complexity. The complexity is helped along by the fact that the overwhelming majority of kayaks are Jackson 2014 Rockstars with Pyranha, Dagger, and Wave Sport sprinkled around here and there. The international feel is complete with the occasional Vajda.. No matter which athlete takes the gold, it’s clear which manufacturer is in the lead.

Yesterday’s Jr. prelims cut the Junior Men down to 10 from a field of 33. Our three US Juniors made the cut, placing 1st, 3rd, and 5th. For those who enjoy competitive freestyle, you can’t help but take a fair bit of pride in the fact that our paddling youth are quite capable against the world’s best. Today will show how our Jr. Women stack up internationally. Before the Jr. Women compete, however, the squirt boats will take to the hole and compete with confounding displays of submerged acrobatics.

The competition hole, to my eye, is nothing particularly exceptional. In talking with the competitors, I get the sense that, not unlike any given competition, the hole has its good and bad sides. A fair few competitors lament that the World Championships are being held on a hole feature rather than a wave feature. Even the official event poster has a kayaker featured in mid blunt as if to highlight the angst of those who desire big wave competition while being handed a modest hole.

Colorado is somewhat represented in this international stage. Chino of Costa Rica and Max Karlsson of Sweden call Colorado home for some or all of the year. Hobie is running around with a microphone as well, and you can see him on the daily feeds. Below is the link to the event where you can watch live feeds and daily updates. Tune in today at 11 eastern to “watch,” in a metaphorical sense I suppose, the Men’s and Women’s Squirt Boating heats. At 1pm there will be a downriver creekish race for fun, and then Jr. Women K1 will take to the hole for their prelims.

https://www.freestylekayaking2013.com/
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Old 09-04-2013   #2
 
BV, CO
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Nice. Wish I was there. Worlds are always as much about the boating community as who wins. Keep the updates coming.

Very sorry to "report" that one of the favorites and one of the very best guys our sport has to offer, Jason Craig, dislocated a shoulder yesterday...
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Old 09-04-2013   #3
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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It is true that Craig, during practice on Monday, injured his left shoulder. I am not keen on the particulars of the injury only to say that it's not so bad as to have the arm fully immobilized. This will impact the US team for sure.
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Old 09-04-2013   #4
 
BV, CO
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Jason called it a "dislocation". This is a guy who has battled back from an horrific back and pelvis injury where walking was in question to standing on podiums again. Such a disappointment for this to happen now. All part of the week long drama called Worlds. Healing vibes to a Brother...
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Old 09-04-2013   #5
 
Aspen, Colorado
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Jason Craig prior to accident

Bummer about Jason getting hurt again. Here is a vid of him when he was healthy and rippin' it up at the Teva Games.
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Old 09-05-2013   #6
 
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For what ever reason, heat 4 isn't on the page, but Jason Craig competed and was, for a while anyway, sitting in 3rd. Index of /home/scoreboard/pdfs
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Old 09-05-2013   #7
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
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Looks like Dane Jackson is in first and Jason Craig's still in 3rd. Go USA!
LIVE STREAM OF THE FREESTYLE KAYAKING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
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Old 09-07-2013   #8
 
Erie, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hojo View Post
Colorado is somewhat represented in this international stage. Chino of Costa Rica and Max Karlsson of Sweden call Colorado home for some or all of the year.
Colorado is fully represented at worlds because Max is first and foremost a Colorado paddler. After all the Colorado community is at "fault" for Max getting addicted to paddling whitewater. At the worlds he is being coach by Dustin Urban remotely via the live feed and a cell phone. So Colorado athlete is being coached by a Colorado coach.

And with Dustin's guidance Max has been kicking ass reaching the finals in both jr men and squirt. So tune in tomorrow and cheer for Team Colorado.
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Old 09-08-2013   #9
 
BV, CO
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Go Max. Heard he had a personal best score. That, at a Worlds, is called stepping it up!
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Old 09-08-2013   #10
 
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Well, for those following the competition, Max of Colorado/Sweden and team USA are paddling right now in Squirt Boating!
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