Freestyle kayak championship finishes up in Wausau.

45 Jackson Freestyle Clinic students, a few dozen kids under the age of 15, over 50 beginners, and a total of 110 competitors continues to show growth and improvement in freestyle kayaking in the midwest. And this year, competitors from Virginia, Washington, Colorado and Nevada joined us to check out the redeveloped “Little Drop” and “Number 4″ competition play features!

About 10 years ago, the top midwest paddlers won the advanced division with just a spin and a cartwheel.  Today, they are throwing space godzillas (both directions), splitwheel to cartwheel combos, loop to cartwheel combos, Airloops with HUGE bonuses, Mcnasty’s and Phonix Monkeys. And, in order to win, you better be able to perform most of these in one ride.

Now, with over 50 beginners and a crew of young skilled beginners under the age of 15, we are excited to see the growth of this sport even faster in the Midwest.  Iowa has built up 3 play parks in the past year and Minnesota’s Canoe U/Kayak U is building the young crowd of Coyotes who are bringing tough competition to the top paddlers.

Craig Esposito even gave John a scare of losing his championship title when he bumped into first after the semifinals. But JOhn threw a McNasty in the Finals round at the Buzzer to put the win just out of reach of Craig on his final ride. The crowd was going wild, all wondering if they could finally, after 8 years, claim a new champion. In the end, Craig could not quite complete his splitwheels to reclaim the championship title and John McConville continues to reign as the Midwest Freestyle Kayaking Champion.