High Style: Mathieu Dumoulin in the men's K1 final. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

High Style: Mathieu Dumoulin in the men’s K1 final. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

Words by James McBeath
Photos by Peter Holcombe

The sun rose this morning on the most exciting day for all, finals day! The Garb was up early and seemed hungry as usual as all our classes, save squirt, complete today for the medals. If yesterday’s semi finals were any indication, the action and accompanying pressure should be intense. With everything at stake and a 3-ride, one counts format, we look for ride scores to soar.

Dane Jackson shows off his versatility with a silver-medal ride in open canoe. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

Dane Jackson shows off his versatility with a silver-medal ride in open canoe. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

The OC1 boaters were the first to stare into the wave and meet the cheers from an already packed house. Current World Champion Jordan Poffenberger the early favourite was up against his US teammates, Dane Jackson and Brad McMillan. Rounding off the field was Canadian Andrew Hill and German Jonas Unterberg. Going in it was clear that, for OC1, an open deck canoe, the first move will be critical. After that first move and with the Garburator pile dropping water continually into the canoes, these kayaks weighed a ton immediately and are near impossible to throw around. The first runs were all uneventful, but the second attempt at the wave Canadian Andrew put him on the Freestyle map for good with what was to be the top run of the day.

OC1 Final Results:
Andrew Hill, Canada
Dane Jackson, USA
Jordan Poffenberger, USA

Junior Women were next with all eyes on phenom Sage Donnelly of the USA who has dominated this wave from day 1 with some of the highest scoring rides of the entire event, let alone the junior women! The first two rides were flushes sending a message early that the wave needed respect for a win. Darby McAdams had an amazing first ride as the third paddler to go coming back to the eddy with a score of 203, the first score to beat. Sophie McPeak of the UK, coming into the final round as the silver favourite, had the reversed fortune and flushed scoring a mere 7 points. Then along came Sage. The crowd went from a polite applause to standing ovation/jumping hysterically as Donnelly dropped in and threw down two early Helix’s on both sides as well as a massive back Pan Am thrown in with spins and blunts both directions and both sides. Her score was announced at 588 points brought the settling crowd back on her feet. 588 being a ride that most men have not achieved at these World Championships!

Junior Women K1 Final Results
Sage Donnelly, USA – 588
Darby McAdams, USA – 203
Sophie McPeak, UK – 71

Alec Vorhees, en route to a silver medal in the junior men's final. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

Alec Vorhees, en route to a silver medal in the junior men’s final. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

Next in line were the five junior men, lead by the strong UK contingent with three of the top five spots held by their junior men, Charlie Brackpool, Hugo Anthony and Hugo Scott. American star, Alec Voorhees, the favourite after the early rounds, was ready to bring his A-game as was the Flying Frenchman, Fabien Lanao. Immediately the rides were well over 300, a great increase from the earlier rides… we expect those scores to continue to rise as the day progresses. Lana impressed on all his rides but to the delight of the huge UK crowd, countryman Hugo Anthony dropped onto Garb and tamed it with a grouping of moves that rivalled the senior mens, a 782 point ride that included huge air on all moves.

Junior Men K1 Final Result
Hugo Anthony, UK – 782
Alec Voorhees, USA – 676
Fabien Lanao, France – 557

Men’s C1 Canoe

The third event today brought us back to the single-bladers, the C1 Men’s finals. With three world champs in the field, Dane Jackson, Seth Chapelle and current champ, Jordan Poffenberger leading expectations, we also had a home town element with youth, Zachary Zwanenburg of Canada and rounding out the field was Frenchman / high flier Sebastien Devred. Dane Jackson working hard today already a silver medalist in OC1 and with Men’s K1 to come, was still expected to soar, but the championships were Poffenberger’s to lose. When Devred laid down the first high score over 400 that lit a fire under the others. Zwanenburg struggled early on the wave in his first two rides, but laid down an amazing 528 point ride to take third behind Seth Chapelle’s second place ride of 595. Dane missed a few moves, flushed a few seconds earlier on his first two rides so all was on the line for his last ride. As we expect by now, Dane scored with an amazing flurry of massive pan ams, a huge air screw and a ending pistol flip to take the win with a 863.

C1 Men Final Result
Dane Jackson, USA – 863
Seth Chapelle, USA – 595
Zachary Zwanenburg, Canada – 528

Emily Jackson threw down with precision and style to take home the Women's K1 gold. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

Emily Jackson threw down with precision and style to take home the Women’s K1 gold. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

Women’s Kayak

The last two events featured are the headlining classes of the Men’s and Women’s K1, with promise to make the grand finale of these the 2015 ICF World Freestyle Canoe Championships an awesome one. With thousands in attendance filling both shores the top athletes hit Garb, starting with the women. In the finals were underdogs Ekaterina Kulkova of Russia, Hitomi Takaku of Japan and Emily Ward of the UK. In the mix were the two dominating champions of freestyle, current champion Claire O’hara and Emily Jackson, a 3-time world champ who aims at reclaiming her crown. The scores immediately started to soar into the 300 zone with an awesome ride right out of the box from Hitomi Takaku, stepping her in to the grand stage and into 2nd place position behind Emily Jacksons pan-am laden first ride of 372. UK paddler Emily Ward couldn’t regain her semi final’s magic this day as she slipped in with the lowest scores. After 2 rides and going into the final ride the pressure was firmly on the shoulders of both UK team mates to beat out a 3rd ride score of 448. Unfortunately early ride flushes made it impossible to catch the American superstar and Emily Jackson relives her dream and captured her 4th world championships ahead of Hitomi of Japan and Claire O’hara of the UK.

K1 Women Final Result
Emily Jackson, USA – 448
Hitomi Takaku, Japan – 265
Claire O’hara, UK – 263

Men's runner-up Dumoulin  in action. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

Men’s runner-up Dumoulin in action. Photo by Peter Holcombe.

Men’s Kayak

And now on to the grand finale! The men’s K1 ICF Freestyle Canoe Championships finals. This is the ultimate head to head battle with the top 5 mens kayakers duking it out; included in the field was Dane Jackson of the US, Nick Troutman of Canada, Brendan Orton of the UK, Joaquin Fontaine I Maso, France’s Mathieu Dumoulin. The early going, like the women, saw one or two weaker rides than expected from a couple of our competitors. Local boy, Troutman, managed to only get an opening ride of 607 and Orton, who was a frontrunner all week came through with a 507. Mathieu Dumoulin was first to the plate with a big score in his opening ride of 1087 getting the crowd to their feet; and there they would stay! Up next was Dane Jackson who simply LIT up the wave scoring an incredible 1560 with a move per pass. The final round was a stage set: Dane in the lead, Matt in second and Maso in third. The final pass for Orton resulted in an early, disappointing flush, Dumoulin stepped up his game with a ride of 1420 to take what he thought was full control of silver. But Dane answered back with an even higher 1650 point ride and local boy pulled out the stops and dropped in a ride of 1170 for third place.

K1 Men Final Result
Dane Jackson, USA – 1653
Mathieu Dumoulin, France – 1420
Nick Troutman, Canada – 1170