Age: 24 | Saluda, NC
Known For: Green Race dominance and freestyle prowess
This Year: Made the 2013 U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team, won a fifth consecutive Green Race women’s class, and all while getting her degree and becoming a paramedic.
What’s Next: Getting ready for September’s Freestyle Worlds, held near home on the Nantahala River. She’s also traveling to Austria’s Sickline championship race for the first time, and, as every year, Levknecht is also excited to fire up the Green Race.
More on Adriene: Website
Age: 26 | Elizabethtown, KY
Known For: Being America’s best freestyle kayaker
This Year: After training in Uganda for February, the reigning USAFK female K-1 point champion won at the US Freestyle Kayak Team trials for the second year in a row, making it onto the team to compete in the worlds.
What’s Next: Mills is currently SUPing around Colorado and will be heading to Norway for some epic paddling soon after. She will be competing in the worlds in September along with Adriene Levknecht and Elaine Campbell.
More on Haley: Website
Age: 23 | Ottawa, Ontario
Known For: Founding TiTS DEEP and styling burly whitewater
This Year: Placed third in the 2012 Whitewater Grand Prix, though getting to the event in Chile was the bigger adventure. Renting a truck with Louise Urwin and Louise Jull, Van Wijk and the others drove and paddled their way through Patagonia leading up to the WWGP.
What’s Next: Hitting up the North Fork Championship and pushing the TiTS DEEP brand through longer online expedition films. Van Wijk will also be joining Mariann Saether for an Iceland expedition in July.
Okere Falls, NZ
Known For: Competing in extreme kayak races around the world
This Year: Hitting the Green Race, Whitewater Grand Prix, and winning the women’s title of the New Zealand Extreme Race Series.
What’s Next: Catching lots of summertime sun on the Ottawa.
More on Lou: Website
Age: 32 | Voss, Norway
Known For: A smorgasbord of First Ds, including female firsts on Chile’s Rio Baker and the Rheinfall, Europe’s biggest waterfall.
This Year: Recovering from a major injury to win the King of the Falls contest at the Teva Extreme Outdoor Games in Italy, and earn Rider of the Year Best Drop honors for styling Double Drop on Norway’s Teigdalselvi River.
What’s Next: Competing for her native Norway on the international slalom circuit, a film trip in Iceland, and traveling with friends to the border region between Russia and Mongolia in search of more first descents.
Age: 23 | New Zealand/The Netherlands
Known For: Perfectionist approach to paddling
This Year: While taking the runner-up women’s spot in the 2012 Whitewater Grand Prix, her best experience for the year was exploring the Agia Azul’s series of waterfalls in Chiapas, Mexico with a strong paddling team.
What’s Next: Hitting the waters of Iceland with Mariann Saether’s team. Also racing whenever she gets the chance.
More on Martina: Story
Age: 30 | White Salmon, WA
Known For: Charging Northwest whitewater
This Year: Competed in the Whitewater Grand Prix, paddled around the Northwest, ran Celestial Falls tandem with Katrina van Wijk. The Pyranha team rider just took second in the 2013 Little White Salmon slalom race.
What’s Next: Finding more whitewater around the world and the country.
More on Nicole: Video
Age: 21 | Pau, France
Known For: Slalom supremacy and steep creeking
This Year: Nouria didn’t just win the women’s class if the 2012 Whitewater Grand Prix; she dominated it with four out of the five stage victories. Newman had also competed and placed third for the Under-23 slalom world championships and made the World Cup finals.
What’s Next: While she loves creekboating, Newman’s focused on slalom this year, working hard to represent France at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
More on Nouria: Website