Freestylers Ready for Argentina Worlds

Who will be the sport's king and queen this year?

More than 160 athletes from 25 nations will be competing in the 2017 ICF Freestyle Kayak World Championships, which begin in San Juan, Argentina, on Monday.

The first day will see competition in the ‘squirt’ boat category, with Great Britain’s Claire O’Hara the star turn after dominating the event for the past decade.

O’Hara will start a short-priced favorite to win her fifth world title, with most interest being in whether she can post a score that will challenge the leading male competitors.

“This is not a traditional squirt boating venue, as it's shallow in most places and doesn't really have a significant mystery seam, so paddlers are going to have to be really creative with their rides,” O’Hara said.

“It's going to be a lot more like the 2013 NOC venue where athletes will perform a whole mixture of different routines in very different sections of the arena. It's going to be quite exciting seeing what different people come up with for their rides.

“I don't think we will see any record score rides here in the squirt boating, but we will see some spectacular displays of athleticism and skill.”

USA’s Dane Jackson is the star turn in the men’s events this week in San Juan, although he is not expected to contest the ‘squirt’ competition.

The Jackson family name has been synonymous with freestyle kayak since Dane’s father, Eric, became a household name in the 1980’s.

Eric Jackson, 53, will be competing in the squirt.

Dane Jackson is expected to face hot competition from fellow American Tom Dolle in the men’s K1 category later in the week.

“I’m expecting a super high scoring sick worlds to be a part of and watch, along with super tight scores,” he said from San Juan.

“I think this feature is epic, but it is also one of the first times we are going to see all the top people have very different routines I think.

“I’m excited just to be back into training mode, but definitely feeling the heat as there are a ton of great paddlers here.”

The 2017 ICF Freestyle Kayak World Championships begin on Monday and run through until Saturday.

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