Talk about a doozie of a douching competition. With six balls-to-the-wall events over two weeks, the first ever Whitewater Grand Prix wrapped up with a hair-raising Class V Giant Slalom event in Quebec. And while top-place honors in that event went to Evan Garcia, Dane Jackson’s third-place finish was enough to propel him to the overall victory stand…
Six big water events, each one purging competitors’ sinuses like no tomorrow. And in the end it was youngster Dane Jackson taking home top honors with a slew of consistent finishes. Before the GS event, Dane took second to Ben Marr in the Big Wave Challenge; second to Garcia again in the Time Trial; second in the Best Trick contest to Marr; and a tie for first in freestyle on a new set of Quebec waves called Pillars, followed by Matthieu Domulin, Troutman, Tyler Curtis and Rush Sturges.
His worst showing was 14th to Nick Troutman’s first in the Big Water BoaterCross event. But it was enough to eclipse Marr by three points in the overall tally to take home the crown.
Read on for overall results, an inside view of the epic, high-water Class V downriver race on the Petit Bostonnais near the town of La Tuque from Nick Troutman, and a wrap-up of the women’s side…
WHITEWATER GRAND PRIX WORLD CHAMPION:
1st Dane Jackson (USA) 112.5pts
2nd: Ben Marr (CAN) 109.5pts
3rd: Rush Sturges (USA) 102.5pts
4th: Nick Troutman (CAN) 94pts
5th: Bryan Kirk (USA) 91pts
6th: Chris Gragtmans (CAN) 84pts
7th: Gerd Serrasolses (ESP) 82.5pts
8th: Tyler Curtis (CAN) 79pts
9th: Aniol Serrasolses (ESP) 78pts
10th: Tino Specht (USA) 77pts
11th: Joel Kowalski (CAN) 74pts
12th: Evan Garcia (USA) 70pts
13th: Casper Van Kalmthout (NLD) 67pts
14th: Keegan Grady (CAN) 66.5pts
15th: Anton Immler (SWE) 61pts
16th: Jonny Meyers (USA) 53pts
17th: Tyler Fox (CAN) 45pts
18th: James Bebbington (GBR) 43.5pts
19th: Devyn Scott (CAN) 40pts
20th: Logan Grayling (CAN) 33pts
21th: Mat Dumoulin (FRA) 30pts
22th: Joey Hitchins (CAN) 13pts
WHITEWATER GRAND PRIX WORLD CHAMPION:
1st Lou Urwin (NZL) 27pts
2. Katya Kulkova (RUS) 19pts
3. Marie-Pier Cote (CAN) 16pts
4. Emily Jackson (USA) 4pts
5. Katrina Van Wijk (CAN) 3pts
Troutman: In His Own Words Recounting the Petit Bostonnais Creek Race
It was probably one of, if not the gnarliest, creek races ever.
The race was held on the Petit Bostonnais in record high water. This changed the name of the game.
We all showed up the morning of the race to check out the course at its new water level (about a third of the level the day before). It started of with a quick sprint from the start line, right onto a double stage 30-footer. If you didn’t get your boof hard enough left you would get stuck in an eddy on the right before the second drop, which would kill your time. Next was a quick slack water piece right into an 8-foot drop that led straight into the long slide that was the finish of the course. Though I shouldn’t talk down the slide, being that gave the majority of the carnage, as well as took up at least 1/3 of the entire race, which was about 2 minutes 30 seconds total.
The main difficulty for the slide was the fact that it was hard to move once you started, meaning if you were left you going left, and if you were right you were going right. I think pretty much everyone’s goal was to just stay upright and pointed downstream, which most people didn’t achieve.
My first practice run I realized how much of a whiteout the slide actually was, and how out of control you really were. I did a 540 spin and a flip as I rag dolled down the slide, only to get to the bottom and see Joel had just swam before.
This only started off our day of carnage while competing on the most epic Time Trail race ever. The start times went with the current standings, and being I was in first at the time I decided to go watch a couple runs before I went. What a bad idea that was, I watched 4 runs, with 3 being complete carnage. Starting with Devyn Scott running the slide spinning backwards flipping getting stuck in the hole at the bottom and working his way out. Then followed by Anton Immler coming down looking really good, getting a bit sideways and clipping a rock, which sent him completely aerial doing a huge pan-am onto his face. Then Tyler Cutis came down flipped half way down this long side, rolled up backwards flipped again and stayed upside for the next 100 feet finishing with a swim in the bottom hole.
I then walked up for my run, and by the time I got to the start line the swim count was up to 6. My game plan was to go for the win, so I figured I would paddle as hard as possible for the flat sections knowing that I wouldn’t need to paddle for the slide. This was a good plan in theory, but didn’t work out so great as I thought. I started pretty good, until the first double drop where I got pushed right and had to paddle hard to get out of the strong eddy pocket. I then knew
I had to catch up on time so I paddled harder in the next pool, nailed the line for the 8-foot boof and started to drive left for the first pour-over ledge on the top of the 700-foot slide. Though while driving left I hit a rock flipped and did a quick roll leaving me backwards as I drop into the hole. I then work hard to get out knowing I am not going to swim. Though after getting out I was completely wasted of energy as I spun around for the intense part of the slide. I knew all I could do was to keep it straight, which I did.
I was so fired up that I didn’t flip on the slide like in practice, that I pretty much forgot about the bottom hole until I dropped into it. Bummer. Now I was surfing a pretty big ledge hole completely out of energy. Though I was still not going to swim, I would just work my way out and I tried to get out river right but that didn’t work, so then I tried river left which started to get close, until I just had nothing left and fell over while trying to brace/surf.
I knew I couldn’t get out because of my exhaustion so I decided to swim. I was sop tired I could barely find or grab my spray skirt. Once I did get out I instantly felt the cold-water rush against my body, which was confusing being I was wearing a dry suit, latter to realize I left the relief zipper open. Though the cold water was t he least of my worries being I was still out of breath, underwater and getting recycled in the hole while swimming. I got recycled twice while swimming and having no energy to panic I just curled up in a ball and waited. I flushed soon after and instantly was hit with two throw ropes that got me to shore. I crawled up and took a couple much needed breaths. It then sank in that I didn’t finish the race, and I needed to go back up for my second run.
I was definitely shaken up a bit, but I also knew I had to get back on the horse. I borrowed a boat for my second run being that mine was still pinned under water, and I took it easy just wanting to have a good, safe, clean run. Which I did, having probably my best run of the day with my only mistake being getting stuck in the right eddy on the double drop again, and getting stopped in the bottom hole again. Though this time I knew I wasn’t swimming no matter what it took, though having the energy to paddle out really helped.
At the awards we had a solid lineout for bootie beers with a total swim count for the day being 9 or more.
I do wish I could have had maybe a third run to try and ‘race’ it again, but in the end I was excited to have actually finished and to leave the day with no injuries, other than a bruised ego, which was fine with me. I was also super fired up for my little (not actually) brother-in-law Dane Jackson, who styled the course all day. Finishing in a close second while throwing in a ‘Brown Claw” in the hardest part of the slide. I think everyone was especially impressed with his boating in the race.
The Women’s Side
A group of primarily three paddlers set a new precedent for woman’s competitive kayaking. Whether surfing Gladiator or the big slide in La Tuque, the female competitors rose to the immense challenge that is the Grand Prix… and in fine form. Marie-Pier Cote (CAN), Katya Kulkova (RUS), and Lou Urwin (NZL) were the only female competitors to complete the entire Grand Prix.
On the first day of competition, Lou Urwin from New Zealand got momentum going being the first to drop onto the intimidating Gladiator Wave. Her first ride she got pushed to the middle and ended up charging the big pour-over that sits behind the feature. Keeping her cool she punched the corner, caught the eddy, and went back up to run it again. Anyone who doubted the women would step up on these challenging courses were proved wrong on day one.
During the Big Wave Challenge, Katya Kulkova from Russia did what is being described as the biggest trick ever thrown by a female competitor. Her slick air-screw on the Pillars Wave earned her top spot in the freestyle competition and caused jaws to drop and the highlight video crew to call it a wrap. The Giant Slalom event, one of the most intimidating competitions of the entire Grand Prix, went to Marie-Pier who drove through the dangerous ledges and through pushy wave trains in order to take first place. The Quebec native was all smiles in the eddy, happy to have finished strong in the Grand Prix.
In this male dominated event, the women kept pace on and off the water. Raising the bar in both the freestyle and creeking competitions, all three competitors can hold their heads high after a grueling two-week effort.
–Aaron Capo Rettig
More info: www.whitewatergp.com