Inside the 2023 Freestyle Worlds – Day 4 OC1 finals, Men’s Prelims
By: Kathy Holcombe / Photography: Peter Holcombe
Today, another champion was crowned at the Freestyle Kayak World Championships. The morning kicked off with nine men in the open canoe class. The feature was difficult and many athletes flushed before putting any points on the board. The preliminary round was a close battle between former World Champion, Jordan Poffenberger (USA) and Landon Miller (USA), with Jordan throwing down a big first ride. Landon moved to the top of the leader board in his second ride and clinched the top position with a huge trick in his final ride, giving him a sizable lead going into finals.
Landon Miller (USA) took the lead once again in the final round on his first ride, but Zachary Zwanenburg, from team Canada, laid down a huge score on his second ride that bumped him up to the top of the leaderboard. Miller on the final ride of the day threw a big panam, securing the third gold medal for Team USA on his final ride.
The Men’s Kayak Preliminary Round was a steep cut that eliminated 33 athletes. The competition was fierce throughout the event, but particularly among the top three finishers. Tom Dolle, from France, placed first in the preliminary round and has come out on top for most of the freestyle competitions this year (winning the Colorado Cup, GoPro Games and Montreal EauVive) and is definitely a top contender for the gold this year. Dane Jackson (USA) is the reigning World Champion and is only 1.67 points behind Dolle. Dane is a 4x time World Champion and fierce competitor, and should definitely not be underestimated. Mason Hargrove (USA) is the local favorite and knows this feature better than anyone else in the world. He is sitting comfortably in third place and hungry to show his hometown that he has what it takes to finish on top. It’s anyones guess as to who will leave with the gold in the men’s K1 class this year. A huge congratulations to all of the athletes who made the cut and will paddle again in the quarter final round on Friday at 13:05 EDT.