Unlike most competitions, the Midwest Freestyle Championships is set up to allow everyone to compete at their level. Beginners, Intermediates, Experts, Masters, and Womens’ classes are all options to push your skills to the next level. Over 50 competitors participated in this years beginner freestyle championships and over 90 competitors total. Introduction classes such as the Ray McLain Training Clinic and Rapids Riders Canoe U, have brought dozens of new paddlers to Wausau Whitewater Park over the summer and the paddling community has helped them learn basic surfing skills. Then, this August, the Jackson Freestyle Clinic filled to a record level of over 40 students! 7 experts, a dozen intermediates and over 20 beginners, all ready to learn from our Jackson Kayak Instructors.
Local Junior Paddlers Cody and Erin Achatz participated in the clinic and other beginning juniors including Alex Schrader, Mitch Lutey, and Evan Rose. Erin, Cody and Mitch event stepped up to compete in the Intermediate division. The beginner competition was won by Ryan Strong, who started kayaking only about 1 year ago.
Before the year’s expert competition some feature construction needed to happen though. Little Drop was ruined in a flood and with only 4 hours of availability and funds for a backhoe to help move the rocks back into place, it wasn’t quite right. So, as a group effort, paddlers bounced memories of the previous position of the rocks off of each other to determine the best course of action. Chad Kehn and John McConville did much of the work, moving rocks by hand to narrow the channel by the feature, then Brian Scholz who organized the event helped us get materials for building a removable wing dam. As the water level rose the next morning everyone was watching, for a moment, we saw a great feature, but the water continued to fill. So after some fiddling with water level, we found the right spot and the competition went on! This year’s expert competition champion was once again John Mc Conville followed by Jeremiah Kramasz, and Aaron Schrader.
This year the event added lunch time entertainment of the Ride the Bull Competition on the Big Drop Wave which had a handful of winners! Then the Sunday boater cross. Jeremiah K took first after knocking over little erin achatz who stuck in it to finish 2nd!
It was another great weekend thanks to a great paddling community and Brian scholz for organizing the whole event!