Dane’s Games: Dane Jackson Sweeps Creek and Freestyle Events at GoPro Mountain Games

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Call it Dane Time again. That’s the take-home from this year’s GoPro Mountain games in Vail, Colo., where 21-year-old kayaker Dane Jackson won the competiton’s two most coveted kayak events: The Steep Creek Race and Freestyle Championships.

Jackson earned the first win with a blistering third and final run down Homestake Creek, one of the most difficult sections of whitewater in Colorado dropping 480 vertical feet through sharp rock cascades, all at an altitude of nearly 10,000 feet.

“That was my first time winning this event so I’m pretty fired up,” Jackson told Canoe & Kayak magazine afterward. “My first run was awesome but my second run was gnarly. I got messed up on the last drop so I was just stoked to make the finals.”

Following Jackson on the podium just three-tenths of a second back was Spain’s Gerd Serrasolses, with Maryland’s Cole Moore in third and fellow Jackson paddler Nick Troutman taking fourth.

“Homestake makes for a great race, but it’s really technical,” Troutman says. “There are a lot of sharp rocks so it’s easy to catch an edge or get turned around, which ends your race. It makes for a really challenging racecourse.”

For the women, French paddler Nouria Newman, a slalom paddler who won gold at the 2014 World Championships, won the race in her first visit to the GoPro Mountain Games, followed by 14-year-old sensation Sage Donnelly. Adriene Levknecht finished third followed by Hayley Stuart.

In the Freestyle event held on a high-flowing Gore Creek in downtown Vail, Jackson did it again, with a high-flying, looping score of 1150, to take home a sweep of the marquee paddling events. His sister, Emily Jackson, meanwhile earned her whopping eighth win at the Game’s Freestyle event, while setting her eyes on the upcoming World Championships in Canada.

“This is my eighth time winning it, but the first time that my American Kayak Team tryouts were just three days away, so by preparing for it I was actually in Glenwood training on the waves,” says Emily. “ It’s a completely different mentality, but the water levels were great , and the weather is fantastic, so the combination set me up nicely for the win.”

“And winning this event helps me a lot going into trials,” she adds. “Even though it’s a hole event, it’s a really big
confidence boost. If I didn’t do well here, I think it would have changed things mentally for me a little bit.”

Freestyle Results
1. D. Jackson 1150.00
2 H. Katich 1036.67
3 M. Dumoulin 1005.00
4 S. Write 920.00
5 N. Troutman 893.33

Steep Creek Race Results
1 Dane JACKSON 1:47.40
2 Gerd SERRASOLSES 1:47.71
3 Cole MOORE 1:49.22 MD
4 Nicholas TROUTMAN 1:50.76
5 David FUSILLI 1:52.39 PA

Women’s Freestyle Results
1. E.Jackson 690.00
2. N.Beeby 480.00
3. R.Stuart 423.33
4. C.O’Hara 410.00
5. C.Kerin 286.67

Downriver Sprint
1. Spencer HUFF 17:35.38
2. Isaac LEVINSON 17:44.38
3. Gerd SERRASOLSES 17:47.80
4. Jeremy RODGERS 17:56.24
5. Nicholas TROUTMAN 18:02.69