UNLEASHED Quebec MMXIX – Stage 1: The Rib, Big Trick Style
UNLEASHED Quebec: MMXIX
Stage 1: The Rib – Big Trick Style, presented by Jackson Kayak
by: Kalob Grady
May 4, 2019 – 7:00pm
Mist rose over the Ottawa River, and steam emanated from SEND’s coffee mugs on a uncharacteristically warm morning. They piled into the truck and set off on the morning scout mission. It was just past 7am, and the organisers set out to make the final decision on the location of Stage 1. The record breaking flows that have hammered the Ottawa River basin over the past week brought two dormant, never before seen giants to life on the Ottawa River.
Option (a) for Stage 1 was Centurion Wave, formed at the jumping rock pinch on the main channel. Dynamic, shifting and fast, this wave has potential to deliver some of the sickest tricks ever seen, let alone in a competition setting. Option (a.1) was the Rib, located off the beaten path on the typically flat, heavily dammed eastern channel of the Ottawa. With a crazy rib forming down the middle, and an unpredictable boil building in the lead in, this wave is impulsive, and riders would have to be too.
After getting eyes on both waves, organizers deemed Centurion Wave too flat as the levels slowly dropped to display athletes full potential. They hedged all bets on the Rib. Thankfully, praise the river gods, the Rib looked good, moving in the direction of off the charts as the levels slowly shifted throughout the day.
Stage 1 went down in the Unleashed Big Trick format, meaning that the 22 athletes were split into two heats, each heat was given a two-hour session, and the athletes had at it on the wave. Every ride was recorded, and the judges examined the reel for each athletes’ top three tricks at the end of the day. After each riders’ top tricks from the entire session were compiled, athletes were judged on their top three tricks, scoring combo tricks as one, and rewarding air, difficulty and style in order to determine a winner.
Tom Dunphy (IRE) immediately displayed the intent of this competition, carving down the wave into a massive Helix right out the gate. No warm up session, no chill rides to feel out the wave; Tom has experienced Unleashed before, and he came to play for keeps! Arthur Paulus (FRA) followed suit on his first ride lining up intimidating backwards tricks and flashing his style with an epic back pan-am. Natalie Anderson (USA) flaunted her skill with a few massive moves early in the session and quickly enticed the crowd, ensuring everyone was watching while she was on the wave. Husband Leif Anderson (USA), inspired by his wife’s outstanding rides, gave his full effort and then some. Even with his massive stature, Leif made his tricks loom large in the air overtop the Rib.
In addition to the experienced Stakeout attendees and the established athletes of the sport, the young generation deserve a massive shout out for stepping up to the plate to compete in Unleashed 2019. The new era of kayaking is already here and in good hands with millennial shredders Tom Dolle, Hayden Voorhees and Garrett Madlocks surpassing their elders on route to an epic afternoon on the river!