The last event of this World Cup series at the Nantahala Outdoor Centre, the biggest event of the 3, is the decider of the whole series. It’s also the site of the next World Championships.
So the results from here will give us an indicator of whose looking good for next years Worlds, what we need to work on and who are the ones to beat currently.
The feature is a challenging powerful hole. All moves go in there, but it’s not an easy feature and you need to be fast and powerful to get good rides. The bonus of this event over the previous 2 was also that we had a full week of practice to get used to the feature.
First up of the competition was Mens Prelims. Cutting the field to the top 20. I’d been resting just having a couple practice rides during the week to give my collarbone a chance to heal up a bit after the Pigeon event.
I was really happy with how I was doing in the feature and how the new Dagger Jitsu is performing for me so even without much practice felt like I could compete well here.
I had really good rides and got 3rd place in the prelims, Peter was 1st and Dane 2nd. In the quarters the last 2 weeks of competition caught up with me and I couldn’t push properly on my right sued and finished up 12th. Happy it total but in need of a few weeks off the water to heal myself properly.
I really enjoyed the feature and am looking forward to being at full strength, trained up and un-injured ready to do battle here next year. I think I stand a good chance 🙂
In the finals it looked set to be an epic fight between Peter and Dane who’ve been stepping it up against each other every run throughout the series. Then we had Quim Fontane, Nick Troutman and Jason Craig who could easily step up and match them both to take the win here.
It was actually one of the best finals i’ve seen. Peter looked like he had it won with his first ride score of 1246 only for Jason Craig to jump close in his last ride full of big snappy moves to go into 2nd with an 1186.
Then on his last ride Dane shot into the lead with a huge 1316, with only Peter left to go and have one last shot to beat it.
Peter paddled in and let rip, getting all moves pretty much and fighting his hardest to get the Win, the whole crowd was on their feet going crazy for him. We were so happy when the score of 1538 came in! Peter 1st, Dane 2nd and Jason Craig 3rd.
This meant his 3rd win of the World Cup and the Overall World Cup 1st for Peter Csonka!
Really couldn’t have been more pleased for him, he really excelled this series and I can’t wait to get back on the water properly next season and compete in such a strong field.
Also worth an extra mention is the great performance of Jason Craig whose been off the water the last two years since a very serious back injury.
It was so great to see him back on the water paddling so well. Another year of training before Worlds and I think he will be another top competitor to add to the growing list of potential winners.
In the Women’s prelims and semis GBR’s Claire O’hara was leading but the rides weren’t that high scoring. Perhaps due to the difficulty of the feature.
The finals started slowly, the Women were going for the hard moves but missed them mostly, and scores comprised mostly of felix’s and loops. The Hole is tricky and powerful and it’s just not that easy for girls to get the highest scoring moves to go here, it requires a big amount of power and snappiness.
However on their 2nd rides the Women seemed to wake up and started to fight for the medals. Ruth Gordon threw a big ride with some Phonic’s, Mc’Nasties and Loops to get a 495. It was the highest score of the women’s competition so far and it seemed to motivate the women to do their best.
Next was Emily Jackson, getting good phonic’s both ways in her ride coming close and scoring 430. Claire O’hara tried to beat Ruth and Emily and improved on her 1st ride but not enough to move up.
Until the very last ride of the final it looked like Ruth would win. Claire was still sat in 3rd position with her last chance to get the top spot being the last ride of the event.
She really put herself together and went all out going for Switch Mc’nasty, Mc’Nasty, Phonics, Felix, Splits, a huge loop and scored a ride of 633 – a ride definitely worthy of her World Champion status!
She said after the competition that she could not believe what just happened in her rides 🙂
The fight in this final was definitely good enough to be a World Championships final. Claire’s score was the highest scoring ride of the series for Womens and in one of the harder features!
Overall Women’s World Cup went to Emily Jackson with Claire just behind in the overall standings taking 2nd.
In the Junior Mens Palm/ GBR’s Bren Orton was once again the one to watch with a win at the last event on the Pigeon, a 1st in the Prelims and Semi’s, his dominating paddling looked like the other juniors would have a hard time beating him at NOC.
In the finals Hunter Katich went huge on moves but just didn’t do quite enough moves to beat Bren. Brandurn Hepburn also of GBR came close too but in the end Bren’s 2nd ride score of 836 was unbeatable and he had the luxury of a victory lap last ride to claim his 2nd win of the series. Bren 1st, Hunter 2nd, Brandurn 3rd.
Despite Bren’s domination of the last two events his unfortunate flush at Rock island made the difference in the end as the Overall Junior Mens winner was Hunter Katich of the USA with a 1st and two 2nds. I’m sure Bren’s great paddling will make him another tough competitor next year in his first senior Worlds.
It’s been a really enjoyable trip. With my injury I wasn’t able to compete on the level i’d have liked to, but was very happy with the results I did get. It’s left me and Katya really motivated to train and get ourselves in the best shape for next season.
The NOC feature might well be changed before next year, we really liked it but regardless of feature next September is going to bring a very good competition.
I only wish it would be events every week with such a high standard to compete in 🙂 It’s always a bit sad when events like these finish. During the series its like a little life for each event and now its over we have to wait quite a while for the next big event to come around. It also gives us lots of time to prepare and get ourselves on the next levels.
A final Congratulations to the overall winners – Peter Csonka, Emily Jackson, Hunter Katich and Nuria Fontane!