Published on septembre 2nd, 2015 | by Kayak Session https://www.kayaksession.com/img-current-issue/upload-your-video.png

Inside the 2015 Freestyle Worlds With EJ – Ep3, Oc1, Junior Men & Women’s Prelims

Oc1 Prelims

OC1 is the often recognized as the redheaded step-child of freestyle kayaking, but it is also very competitive with the top paddlers being top C1 paddlers as well. Reigning World Champion- Jordan Poffenberger didn’t disappoint with an awesome McNasty on multiple rides.  Dane Jackson, who is always in contention for the win with medals in past World Championships in the OC1 category, pulled off a close 2nd place.   Canadian Paddler Andrew Hill has been training hard on the Garburator wave and has been working the big moves and it paid off with a 3rd place finish.   Rounding out the finals roster will be USA’s Brad McMillan and Germany’s Jonas Unterberg.

We’ll see what happens in finals, but it is likely going to be a one big trick and one little trick showdown as the OC1’s don’t perform very well once you do a trick and fill up with water.   The entire strategy for winning is to throw a high scoring (McNasty is the highest at 160) move and stick it, and then go for  spins, roundhouses, etc..    Easier Said than done, but we saw that working with Jordan and Dane.

Jordan got a 300 point ride with a McNasty and Blunts and 380 combined score while Dane got a 300 point combined score.


Dane Jackson (Usa) ©kayaksession.com/ P. Holcomb


Jordan Poffenberger (Usa) going for a huge McNasty©kayaksession.com/ P. Holcomb


The latest design for OC1 freestyle allows so much more for paddlers, especially on a wave! ©kayaksession.com / P. Holcombe

Junior Women’s Prelims:

The Junior Women range from very skilled and potentially medaling in the senior women’s class to first time on a wave so big and fast (many of the Europeans).

The Garburator wave is in perfect form today at -3/4 on the gauge.    This is considered to be the best level for this wave by most of the top paddlers.

One of the big stories of this event is Sage Donnelly.  Sage was winning most of the junior and some of the senior events in the USA two years ago, but was too young to compete in any ICF competitions (she was 13 and the minimum age is 15).   This year she finally gets to show off her skills and did just that in prelims.   Sage’s moves included a Helix, Back Pan Am, front air blunts, and back air blunts to take the lead with a two run combined score of 716 points, more than double the next competitor.

Another fun story is Darby McAdams out of Missoula, MT, USA, who’s aggressive style and confident personality has her paddling to new personal heights everyday it seems.   While not a contender for the worlds in terms of skills 6 months ago, she has quickly risen to the challenge and is solidly in second place throwing a massive back pan am, as well as blunts,  and backstabs in almost every ride.    Darby doesn’t have the depth of moves like Sage, but is gunning for the top spot either way and it will come down to implementation as we get to semi-finals and finals.  Darby had a combined score of 343.

Sofie McPeak, from Great Britain, is only 80 pounds, but is also a fireball and has been training hard on this wave for over a month.  She really put her moves together in prelims to take the third spot and her score of 218 isn’t representative of what she is capable of as she threw a massive back-Pan Am on her second ride but flushed out.    If she can stick that move, she’ll be a threat to both Darby and Sage.

Rounding out the top 5 was Germany’s Emma Schuck and Great Britain’s Emma Witherford at 108 and 96 points.

The results and moving on to semi-finals are:

  1. Sage Donnelly, USA- 716
  2. Darby McAdams, USA- 343
  3. Sofie McPeak-, United Kingdom- 218
  4. Emma Schuck- Germany- 108
  5. Emma Witherford- United Kingdom- 96
  6. Kira Carreto Tejedo- Spain- 55
  7. Emily Zwanenburg- Canada- 36
  8. Johanna Denke- Germany- 35
  9. Georgia Clarke- Australia- 26
  10. Mirela Serres Segarra- Spain- 18

Sage Donnelly showing some strong skills on Garb ©kayaksession.com/ P. Holcomb


Emma Schuck (Ger) ©kayaksession.com/ P. Holcomb

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©kayaksession.com/ P. Holcomb

Junior Men – Prelims 

With a perfect water level, sunny weather, big crowd, and highly skilled junior paddlers, we saw some epic rides!   The Canadians, British, and Americans were leading the charge with some huge rides.

A few moves that we hadn’t seen yet with the junior women started appearing on a regular basis with the Junior men and the amplitude was getting big with huge bonuses popping up often as well.

kalem Kennedy lead heat #1 with beautiful Airscrews, Pan Ams, and one massive Helix.   It wasn’t until the second heat that Jugo Scott from Great Britain took over the lead from Kalem Kennedy and Alec Vorhees pulled into the third place position.   Alec has been the most consistent paddler in practice thus far with over 1,000 point rides on a regular basis, but had a hard time putting it together in prelims, having only 2 rides that lasted 45 seconds and bailing on passes that he normally would throw on, but still putting down some solid scores.

One of the stories of the Junior Men’s class are the two sets of brothers competing.   The Kennedy’s with Caleb and Quentin from Canada,  and the Vorhees with Alec and Hayden from the USA.   Both sets of brothers made it into the semi-finals in good form.

Quinton threw faster than his brother Caleb but didn’t score as big of air and flushed quicker until his last ride which was epic and awesome to watch; getting an Airscrew, Both Pan Ams, a Helix, and a Back-stab.

I can truly say- “Wow”! and that would describe the new generation of junior paddlers here today.

But now the results:

  1. Hugo Scott- GBR- 1383
  2. Alec Vorhees- USA- 1163
  3. Kalem Kennedy – Canada- 1110
  4. Quinton Kennedy- Canada- 1090
  5. Hugo Anthony- GBR- 953
  6. Charlie Brackpole- GBR- 800
  7. Raphael Schea- Germany- 770
  8. Hayden Vorhees- USA
  9. Michael “Caito » Roemer- USA
  10. Fabian Lanao- France

The cut to top 5 will be exciting!   only 400 points separate them today and that is on two rides combined- the Semi-finals is 2 rides and only 1 counts!


Hugo Scott (GBR) going huge! He will end up winning the prelims ©kayaksession.com / P. Holcombe


Kalem Kennedy securing a spot in the next round ©kayaksession.com / P. Holcombe


Alec Vorhees on his way to 2nd place ©kayaksession.com/ P. Holcombe


Fabien Lanao (France) making the cut, with a 10th position ©kayaksession.com / P. Holcombe


Michael Roemer ( USA) ©kayaksession.com / P. Holcombe


Hayden Vorhees ©kayaksession.com / P. Holcombe


Charlie Brackpool (GBR) ©kayaksession.com / P. Holcombe


Hugo Anthony (GBR) ©kayaksession.com/ P/ Holcombe


Quinton Kennedy reminding everyone he is at home on Garb! ©kayaksession.com / P. Holcombe

Men’s Kayak Prelims- 2015 World Freestyle Kayak Championships


I am writing this BEFORE the event, to stage up my thoughts and feelings on what is about to transpire.    The Men’s Kayak class has the biggest numbers,  strongest paddlers, and the most depth of field of any class in the World Championships.   That statement is, in no way, meant to belittle the other classes, it is simply to note that the this is where you will witness the highest level of freestyle paddling and see more moves, thrown bigger, and faster, than anywhere else.     There is no question that the USA and Canada are fielding strong teams, as well as France and Great Britain.    There are amazing paddlers from other countries as well, but these are the powerhouse teams entering this competition.   With Stephen Wright missing the Team for the USA this year, it diminishes the USA’s chances of medals as he has always dominated the Garberator, winning the last world cup here, and spending his summer’s on the wave, but he did have a chance to show off his squirt skills, winning the World’s in Squirt yesterday.

My Son, Dane Jackson, who is the current World Champion, is coming into this event confident, and is having long strings of amazing practice rides and is known to rise to the occasion in the World Championships- winning his last two in a row (Juniors- 2011 and Seniors- 2013).   My son-in-law, Nick Troutman, has medaled in the last two World Championships on a wave- Bronze in 2007 (Peter Csonka was second and I won), and Winning the gold in 2009 beating out me for second and Stephen Wright for third.    While he hasn’t won a medal since, the worlds hasn’t been on a wave since.    We are now on his home wave, Garberator, and Nick is looking like he has something to prove as his rides are typically somewhere between amazing and super amazing.  There are many new people that you should be watching that have never medaled in a Worlds yet, such as Caleb Grady from Canada who should be top 5, Bren Orton from England, who could be top 5, as well as Matt Dumoulin, Devin Scott and Paul Palmer who are also paddling very well.    It is going to be fun!

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