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2012 Whitewater Grand Prix Update: Jackson, Levinson, Deguil Battling for Top Spot
“This is by far the most challenging and exciting event I’ve ever competed in...it sets a new standard for extreme sports events.” --Mexico’s Rafa Ortiz.
Supported by the Association of Whitewater Professionals, a non-profit association of whitewater kayakers and filmmakers, the 14-day event includes five stages of Class V paddling in Whitewater Enduro, Whitewater Sprint, Boatercross, and even Giant Slalom. From Dec. 1-14, racers moved from three events staged in the Osorno and Pucon regions of Chile onto the Futaleufu region of Patagonia. A full-length, made-for-tv video segment will be available following the event. Last year’s inaugural event in Quebec and Ontario was won by 19-year-old whitewater phenomenon Dane Jackson.
“We started the Whitewater Grand Prix in an attempt to break through to a broader audience, showcase our sport at its best, bring together the global paddling community, and highlight the growth our sport has experienced over the past few years,” says director Patrick Camblin.
And the competitors are stoked. “This is by far the most challenging and exciting event I’ve ever competed in,” says Mexico’s Rafa Ortiz. “Last year’s event was a huge success and it’s great to see so many top kayakers together in such a unique place on the planet. This sets a new standard for extreme sports events.”
The event kicked off in spectacular fashion with a whitewater enduro race on the Rio Gol Gol, where paddlers raced against the clock on a mile-long stretch of Class V, including several 15-20 foot waterfalls. Nouria Newman (FRA) placed first in the women’s division and Mike Dawson (NZL) placed first among men. See video HERE
“The Gol Gol valley is beautiful; volcanoes, lakes and an intense river. Easily the hardest I’ve ever raced,” sums up Dawson. “The final drop was a beautiful rapid with a great run-in to a 30-foot waterfall with big consequence after four minutes of hard paddling.”
“The Gol Gol is the sickest race I’ve ever competed in,” adds Martina Wegman (NLD), who placed second in the women’s division. “The river had a juicy flow and looked very intimidating. I was stoked having good lines on my first run and place myself second after the first stage.”
The second event, the Boulder Dash, was held Thursday on another mile-long section of Class V on the Rio Puesco in central Chile. Eric Deguil (FRA) took first place among the men and Nouria Newman (FRA) placed first among the women. It was there that series leader Mike Dawson dropped out of the remainder of the competition due to a pre-existing injury that he sustained in the lead-up to the event, deciding not to risk injuring it further.
The Sprint event was held two days later on the Rio Nevados, on a course that included several short waterfalls and pourovers and tight slots through massive boulders. Levinson, Jackson and Deguil finished one, two, three for the men, and Newman bested Wegman for the women, with Katarina Van Wijk of Canada’s Madawaska Canoe Centre taking third.
From here, the athletes now move to the Rio Trancura in the La Araucanía Region for the giant slalom event before heading to the big water of the Futaleafu for the final BoaterCross and Big Water Enduro events which will determine the overall champions.
See video HERE.
Schedule of Competition:
Stage 1 (12/3): Whitewater Enduro Race, Rio Gol Gol
Stage 2 (12/5): Whitewater Sprint Race, Rio Truful Truful
Stage 3 (12/8): Giant Slalom, Rio Trancura
Stage 4 (12/12): Big Water Boatercross, Rio Futaleufu
Stage 5 (12/14): Big Water Enduro Race, Rio Futaleufu
Stage 1 Results: Whitewater Enduro, Rio Gol Gol
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
Stage 2 Results: Boulder Dash, Rio Puesco
1st Place: Eric Deguil (FRA) 2:51.20
2nd Place: Evan Garcia (USA) 2:54.14
3rd Place: Todd Wells (USA) 2:54.76
4th Place: Dane Jackson (USA) 2:55.23
5th Place: Lorenzo Andrade Astorga (CHL) 2:56.46
1st Place: Nouria Newman (FRA) 3:07.73
2nd Place: Martina Wegman (NLD) 3:17.22
3rd Place: Katrina Van Wijk (CAN) 3:22.04
4th Place: Lu Urwin (NZL) 3:26.36
5th Place: Nicole Mansfield (USA) 3:40.41
Stage 3: Whitewater Sprint. Rio Nevados
1st Place: Isaac Levinson (USA) 1:20.81
2nd Place: Dane Jackson (USA) 1:21.05
3rd Place: Eric Deguil (FRA) 1:21.63
4th Place: Michele Ramazza (ITA) 1:22.14
5th Place: Evan Garcia (USA) 1:22.26
1st Place: Nouria Newman (FRA) 1:29.52
2nd Place: Martina Wegman (NLD) 1:33.67
3rd Place: Katrina Van Wijk (CAN) 1:35.16
4th Place: Lu Urwin (NZL) 1:37.54
5th Place: Louise Jull (NZL) 1:45.95