Tomorrow, Saturday, Dec. 14, athletes will conclude the second annual Whitewater Grand Prix with a big-water enduro race down the Rio Futaleufu in the Patagonia Region. Over 30 of the world’s best extreme kayakers, including several Olympians and world record holders, gathered for 14 days to test their skills against each other as well as the legendary rapids of Chile, bringing a spotlight on some of the most endangered rivers on the planet.

“The Whitewater Grand Prix is about more than just kayaking,” says Patrick Camblin, the event director. “Those of us who use these rivers have an obligation to fight for their protection; not just for recreation, but for the health of the entire ecosystem. Our rivers are the lifeblood of our planet.”

Yesterday (Wednesday), athletes competed in Stage Four with a big-water boatercross—think combination downriver race/roller derby—on the Futaleufu. Katrina Van Wijk (CAN) came in first, breaking Nouria Newman’s (FRA) winning streak. Dane Jackson (USA) took the win for the men and broke the three-way, first-place tie with Eric Deguil (FRA)—who came in second—and Isaac Levinson (USA), who placed fifth. The WWGP title is close for the men with only 6 points separating the top four places. With a score of 99, Jackson leads by 2 points ahead of Deguil, and Garcia trails behind Levinson by only a single point at 93.

To determine the overall winner, scores are totaled from each of the five stages, with points scored according to sliding scale based on stage finishing place among the field. For instance, for the men, first place gets 26 pts + 1 bonus for winning, second place gets 25 pts, third place gets 24 pts, and the points descend accordingly. For the women, first place gets 7 pts + 1 bonus for winning, second place gets 6 pts, third place gets 5 pts, and so forth. Even though there have been some injuries / non-starters, racers still accumulate points for ‘last place,’ etc.

During the WWGP, the racers have faced courses including a boulder dash where paddlers raced against the clock on a nearly 2-kilmeter stretch of Class V whitewater on the Rio Puesco. The course included several short waterfalls and pourovers and plenty of tight slots, forcing paddlers to navigate through massive boulders.

Mike Dawson (NZL), who placed first in Stage One of the Whitewater Grand Prix, dropped out of the remainder of the competition due to a preexisting injury that he sustained in the lead-up to the event. He is doing well, but has decided not to risk further injury. “It was awesome to be part of an event that is pushing the sport forward, bringing so many of the disciplines together and putting wicked images out to the mainstream,” Dawson says.

Stay tuned to CanoeKayak.com for the stage results and more stories as we follow the event. For more information including the athlete roster, go to www.whitewatergrandprix.com

Follow WWGP on Twitter – @triberider and on Facebook here.

Current Overall Standings:
MEN:
Dane Jackson99
Eric Deguil97
Isaac Levinson94
Evan Garcia93
Todd Wells85
Michele Ramazza67
Galen Volckhausen66
Jakub Nemec59
Anton Immler59
Adrian Kiernan56
Lorenzo Andrade Astorga56
Rush Sturges56
Joel Kowalski55
Ben Marr53
Marcos Gallegos51
Dag Sandvik45
Geoff Calhoun44
Mikel Sarasola41.5
Daniel Randon 40
Jared Seiler39
Mike Dawson34.5
Momo Castillo33
Rafa Ortiz29
Fred Norquist25
Juan Antonio De Ugarte22.5
Kyle Hull8.5

OVERALL WOMEN:

Nouria Newman29
Martina Wegman24
Katrina Van Wijk23
Lu Urwin14
Nicole Mansfield9
Natalie Anderson9
Louise Jull8

Stay tuned for results and updated coverage.
Follow WWGP on Twitter at: @whitewaterGP and @triberider and on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/whitewatergrandprix

Dane Jackson racing the Puesco