Wednesday, May 1, 2013

2013 US Freestyle Kayak Team Trials

Even though it was a cold, rainy weekend, last weekend was great. We had the 2013 US Freestyle Kayak Team trials for Worlds, which are being held at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in September. I learned how to kayak at the NOC over 10 years ago and the Nantahala River was the first river I ever paddled on. I thought it would be pretty amazing if I could represent the US in this monumentous event. 
Trying to make the best out of a cold day.
 I was super stoked on Saturday when it was 55 degrees and raining that I had just picked up my newest sponsor, SurfFur. They have super warm sweatshirts and a full length, waterproof, windproof, parka that is big enough to change in. In prelims the day before, I ended up in 1st place going into semi-finals! Throughout the day on Saturday there were rumors of impending heavy rain and some speak of having finals on Saturday night. 
Flippy flopping my way to victory. 
 Saturday after semi-finals I was in 2nd place behind Haley Mills with Elaine Campbell in 3rd, Emily Jackson in 4th, and Devon Barker in 5th. Emily is heavily pregnant at over 7 months but we all knew that she had a lot of "tricks" up her sleeve for finals. Sunday morning we woke up to heavy rain and a  rowdy looking radar. As a "creek" boater I would normally be pretty pumped, but I had other things on my mind that morning. I knew what I had to do to come away with what I wanted, a spot on the US Freestyle Team. 
Dropping into a flushy, brown, feature.
The water came up over 400 cfs in under two hours and it was raining over an inch an hour while we were eating breakfast (at 1030). We were all watching the hole slowly disappear and we were all on edge not knowing if we were even gong to have a finals. The five women got into our kit and all of us were (abnormally) quiet in the eddy prior to competing. Haley, Elaine, and I are pretty well known for being a bit rowdy in the eddy. What's the point of competing if you can't have fun!!??
Nervous faces or game faces???
 I won't give the play by play but Haley and I had "good" first rides and we ended up 1st and 2nd respectively. We were (once again) the ones to beat. Elaine pulled out a ride that was up to par and placed her in 3rd again. For the first time ever Emily Jackson ended up in 4th place and just out of contingency for Worlds, she is first alternate however, so there is still a chance she will compete at Worlds in September.

Happy face!!
Stoked that even though the hole was not so good and it was cold and rainy, I still made the US Team!! I represented the US in Thun Switzerland in 2009 and I wanted to have another chance that this "kayaker" can do some freestyle!! 
Celebratory beers with my teammates. 
We all ran into the dry area where, magically, there was a keg of beer!! We celebrated the night away with our victories and tried to stay warm and dry. 

I then traveled back to Greenville, SC on Monday and headed to an awesome 24 hour shift with Greenville County EMS, like nothing ever happened. I sure do love the split of lives that I am living right now!! Super shout out to my sponsors; Liquid Logic, Kokatat, Werner Paddles, Jen-ai Apparel Shred Ready Helmets, SurfFur, Watershed Drybags, and Smith Optics

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