Inside the 2015 Freestyle Worlds With EJ – Ep4, Senior Mens Prelims
Inside the 2015 World’s with EJ – Senior Men’s Kayak Prelims
The day started off at 8am sharp at the Garberator, like clockwork, as the last of those wanting early training left the wave and heat 1 took center stage. The DJ started playing loud music, as if the rave hadn’t finished yet from the night before, and the announcers began calling out the athletes in order. Peace from Japan, who finished top 10 in Thun in 2009, had some decent rides, but the leaders in the first heat were Peter Csonka and Clay Wright. Clay tried to remove himself from the competition due to a shoulder injury last night, but was 12 hours too late to do so and for the first alternate, Stephen Wright to be allowed to compete. It was great to see Clay go for it anyhow and come in second place in his heat to Peter with a 770 point combined score. Peter was at 1100.
Heat two had some more of the “who’s who” with Bren Orton from England throwing down the new leading scores with Joel Kowalski not far behind, bumping Clay and Peter down a couple of notches. Peter Csonka has three silver medals and I know he wants that gold. He flushed twice on his McNasty, but finally got it on his third ride.
20 Men will make the cut from the 75 competing. I predicted that 800 points would be the cut-off, but we’ll see what that is. I hope Clay makes it of course, but he’ll be close if he does.
Water levels are perfect, once again, and the moves are looking sharp and big. We will be seeing rides well over 1,000 point levels (Look for 1500 points in a single ride from the top 2 paddlers, would be my guess… I am writing this in almost real time, so we’ll have to wait to see!)
Heat Three stepped up the game with Devin Scott and Kalob Grady nailing some great ridess, keeping the strong Canadian home team in the game, making it where it is likely that all fiver of the paddlers will make the cut to the Quarter-Finals and three of the paddlers may make the top 5.
Heat 4 had British superstar, Alan Ward (5th in 2013) throwing down some solid moves, while young American/Swedish paddler, Max Karlsson, had a 1,000 point first ride and a solid back up ride to be in top 10 after his heat. American bronze medalist from 2001, Bryan Kirk, and many time USA Team member, formerly team manager for Wavesport kayaks, paddled very well using his strong moves, the Helix and Filip Turn to push into top 10 as well after his heat.
Heat 5 had the strongest Canadian paddler, Nick Troutman, in his 2016 Jackson Kayak Rock Star throwing the biggest, fastest moves we have seen yet on his first ride, and then his second ride took the amplitude of the moves to new heights, but he flushed early. His third ride he struggled and didn’t score well. His fourth ride, however, was the ride of the day, so far, with a 1400 point ride!! Fast and furious, but still not perfect (he missed a pass and didn’t get to the end of his routine). Still, Nick is in first after his heat, putting the Canadians in four of the top 5 positions so far! Ugandan team member Yusef Basalirrwa, was loving the cheering, and throw some sweet moves on his third ride to show that he has some real skills.
In Heat 6 we have the French superstar, Mattieu Dumoulin, who threw down on his first run, and had a different training regimen than most of the competitors here. Instead of training for 5 weeks on the Garberator Wave, Matt spent much of his time in Montreal on Lachine rapids, with smaller crowds and smoother, easier waves for practicing. Matt would show up on Garburator every other week or so for about 5 days to hone his Garb specific skills. While it can be argued that training on the exact wave you are competing on is more important and a better idea, Matt showed that this method worked well and there is a reason he is a “European Champion” and now in the third position after his heat. His score could have been up to Nick’s level had he thrown his Clean Blunts better, as his best scoring rides he missed one each time.
It is good to see Pat Camblin giving it his best shot out here. He has great Pan Ams and did an awesome back pan am as well. It looks like he will make the first cut, keeping the Canadian 5 top paddlers making it!
Heat 7 -The big moment in this heat was watching young Leonard Keller from Ireland make it into the top 20 and have a shot at making the cut. His brother, Moe, has been on the freestyle scene for many years and competed as well.
Heat 8 was the final Heat and included 4th place finisher from the last worlds, Sebastien Devred, Uganda transplant, Sam Ward (originally from England), and current World Champion, Dane Jackson. Raoul Collenteur, from the Netherlands, almost made the top 20 cut, which would have pushed out USA’s Junior World Champion from 2013, Hunter Katich, but he didn’t quite put it together keeping Hunter in as bubble boy, but on the good side of it! Sam threw an awesome first ride and ended up solidly making the cut, as did Sebastien. Dane didn’t hesitate to show off his skills with the new high scoring ride of the competition at 1500+ and followed up with nearly 1,600 points on his second ride to give a new world record high score for prelims at 3,113 points about 700 points over number 2, Nick Troutman.
Dave Fusilli, and Leonard Keller watched themselves get knocked out of the next round by heat 8, which is a hard thing to watch as you have your fingers crossed and you know it is no longer in your hands.
Here are the Results for the Prelims: (Top 20 advance to semi finals)