Eric Deguil by Erik Boomer

The first stage of the 2012 Whitewater Grand Prix is in the books, following two days of racing on one of the stoutest whitewater race courses ever set. The Whitewater Enduro stage on the Rio Gol Gol featured a nearly one mile-long stretch of Class V whitewater, including extremely technical rapids punctuated by several 15-20 foot waterfalls. The athletes paddled two laps on the course, one yesterday and the other today.

New Zealand Olympian Mike Dawson won today’s Lap 2 and enters the next round of competition as the overall points leader. Nouria Newman of France took the women’s division, which was run on the same super-stout course as the men.

The Enduro course has proven itself to be a worthy test of the world’s best paddlers, at least four of whom swam. All competitors are safe and sound, thanks to the excellent safety the athletes are providing for one another. There are very few sports in which the competitors also act as each others’ rescuers. In the WWGP, no one is better able to do it.

Even before competition began, the Gol Gol was dealing out the hurt. Eric Deguil (FRA) broke a rib landing deep off the rio’s 40-foot Salto del Indio during practice. He surprised everyone by strapping up with duct tape and winning yesterday’s Lap 1. He finished 6th today.

The current standings after Stage 1 are as follows:

1st Place: Mike Dawson (NZL) 4:22.89
2nd Place: Isaac Levinson (USA) 4:27.61
3rd Place: Dane Jackson (USA) 4:33.40
4th Place: Evan Garcia (USA) 4:34.41
5th Place: Michele Ramazza (ITL) 4:36.69
6th Place: Eric Deguil (FRA) 4:36.90
7th Place: Jakub Nemec (CZE) 4:37.27
8th Place: Todd Wells (USA) 4:40.40
9th Place: Marcos Gallegos (CHL) 4:46.26
10th Place: Ben Marr (CAN) 4:47.43
11th Place: Mikel Sarasola (ESP) 4:47.92
12th Place: Juan Antonio De Ugarte (PER) 4:49.00
13th Place: Galen Volckhausen (USA) 4:49.64
14th Place: Geoff Calhoun (USA) 4:49.98
15th Place: Jared Seiler (USA) 4:50.11
16th Place: Rush Sturges (USA) 4:51.49
17th Place: Dag Sandvik (NOR) 4:52.48
18th Place: Anton Immler (SWE) 4:53.32
19th Place: Joel Kowalski (CAN) 4:54.84
20th Place: Adrian Kiernan (AUS) 4:56.86
21st Place: Lorenzo Andrade Astorga (CHL) 4:56.87
22nd Place: Daniel Rondón (PER) 5:00.13
23rd Place: Momo Castillo (CHL) 5:07.30
24th Place: Rafa Ortiz (MEX) 5:19.22
25th Place: Fred Norquist (USA) 5:19.76

Women Standings after Stage 1
1st Place: Nouria Newman (FRA) 5:00.76
2nd Place: Martina Wegman (NLD) 5:08.55
3rd Place: Katrina Van Wijk (CAN) 5:25.82
4th Place: Natalie Anderson (USA) 5:33.64
5th Place: Louise Jull (NZL) 5:41.14
6th Place: Lu Urwin (NZL) 5:45.83
7th Place: Nicole Mansfield (USA) 6:24.09