2013 World Champs begin!


On Monday evening the 2013 World Freestyle Kayak Championships opened with the official ceremony in Bryson City. Bryson City is actually a little town but it seemed like every person who lives here came out to greet the athletes as we paraded down the main street.














The local Cherokee tribe took part in the ceremony with a show of their traditional singing & dancing even grabbing athletes and members of the crowd to join the dancing. It was a really nice touch to welcome all nations, become friends and get to see the culture of the people who originally lived on this land and are luckily still keeping their traditional ways and culture going. Straight afterwards Kayakers took to the big air ramp to kick off the show and the event until musicians took over the entertainment with a big concert along the street.












This opening ceremony definitely gave us a distinct taste of America and some of it’s unique characters who came to greet us, some of them that you could definitely only see here. It was really nice though that so many people came to welcome us, see our sport and have a good time socialising with the athletes.







Today (Tuesday) the competition finally started with Junior Mens & OC1 prelims. Rides were as we were expecting of a very high standard.

Junior Men’s prelims was stormed by the USA’s Hunter Katich, we hadn’t seen him in training so hadn’t counted him as a favourite, turns out he’d been sick so had been away, now back on the water it looks like the rest has paid off as he is now definitely THE favourite, scoring 1979, with his best ride getting 1100+, a score that would likely put him in the senior mens semi’s. But not far behind was Max Karlson of SWE in 2nd with 1206, Thomas Richard of FRA was 3rd with 1138 & in 4th was USA’s Alec Vorhees. (Alec I should have mentioned as another favourite in my last blog as he’s been flying, just somehow slipped my mind. Sorry Alec).


Hunter Katich  – USA


Max Karlson – SWE


Alec Vorhees – USA


Click the above results to see full size.




Even with Hunter’s impressive win today it’s hard to know if everyone was going all out or saving something for later, in my eye’s the event is still wide open, I think between them a huge fight for Gold is brewing. My personal pick is still that Max of Sweden will take the win.

Regarding the GBR boys they’d been doing great in practice and am sorry to report none of them made the cut to 10. Brandurn Hepburn just missed out in 11th. A hard thing to take for him, he is a great paddler and one who i was sure to see in finals, but often when you miss your target like this, when the sadness fades it’ll really spur you on, so I think he’ll come back even better and deadlier in thge future for sure!

A great performance though came from GBR’s 14 year old Jake Norman, at his first international event came in 12th! He’d really impressed me in training with his never give up attitude, focused approach and big moves. I know he wanted to go further but this was a great first showing for him and he’ll be one to watch in the coming years, i’d tip him to be a Junior Champion next time and if he keeps going the way he is will be a at the very top very quickly.

Open Canoe has usually been considered a bit of a joke but this Worlds I’ve seen moves being thrown I never thought would be seen in OC1. In practice I’ve been forced to take back my previous criticisms of the discipline as Jordan and Dane of the USA have been regularly getting Fonix’s, Mc’Nasties, Loops, Lunar Orbits and much more!!! No surprises that Jordan Poffenburger took the top spot with Dane Jackson just behind. It’s actually going to be a good battle to watch between them!!!

Too watch the events live see: http://www.freestylekayaking2013.com/worlds-live-feed.html

For the event schedule check out: https://www.freestylekayaking2013.com/worlds-spectators.html

For full results: http://www.noc.com/scoreboard/pdfs/

Well that’s it for today, tomorrow is squirt events then Mens Prelims are on Thursday, Women’s Prelims on Friday so please watch online & cheer us on!!!

Next Update on Thursday,



About James Bebbington

2011 ICF World Freestyle Kayak Champion & 2011 ICF World Cup Freestyle Kayak Champion Passionate about Kayaking, Travel, Nature, Dreams, Raw Food & the Beauty of Life. Don't give up on your dreams, listen to your heart!
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