Well, It’s that time of year again! Tomorrow kicks off the annual Jackson Freestyle Clinic with Instructors Colin Kemp and John McConville returning for another year of whit eater fun. And new to the crew is Jessica Yurtinus, instructing for her first time in Wausau. Everyone is really excited to meet her and welcome her to the Midwest family.

35 Students will participate in the clinic this year ranging in ability levels from beginner to expert, and Wausau Whitewater Park is the perfect location. The 10 various features on the 1/3 mile stretch of river provide a perfect play spot to fine tune every technique and trick.  This will be my 4th year partaking in the clinic and hoping to advance my skills to beat some of the guys in the intermediate competition.

Brian Scholz has done an amazing job of coordinating this years event. While it has all the usual events. Brian has outdone himself with the number of prizes this year. Every year paddlers say that the Midwest Freestyle Championships has better prizes than any other event in the country. Well, I haven’t been everywhere else so I can neither confirm nor deny this. But the 100 participants are entered into a raffle at the end of day sunday. In past years everyone has gone home with something!

The top Prize is a Jackson Rockstar, followed by dozens more totaling $4000 in value! What is the entry fee for the competition? well, just $45. Which is a steal considering you get to paddle for 4 days, eat lunch for free each day, you get a tshirt, AND you likely will go home with a prize worth at least $20 and good odds you’ll snag something spectacular worth over $100!  How can you go wrong?

Who can compete in this though? WEll, if you haven’t ever surfed in a wave or hole before, you are encouraged to compete! The beginner class ranges from first timers to advanced spinners, and maybe even a few cart wheelers.  The intermediate group competes at the more advance hole known as little drop. You’ll see these guys throwing loops, cartwheels, and maybe even a back loop or godzilla! Finally, the experts. This is where the competition is always tight. Phonix Monkeys, Orbitz, or super clean cartwheels, and split wheels will be needed to advance to the finals from this bunch. John McConville has taken the title the last 4 years. But after spending most of the summer creeking on the North Shore of Superior, the guys at the park have been honing in on some new tricks to try and edge him out of the top spot on the podium.

 The prizes for the winners this year were donated by the Red Eye Brewing Company! We are all very excited to have them on board this year because everyone looks forward to a post competition dinner at the brewhouse each season.  What are the prizes? Well, first place in each class will take home a stainless steel growler that can keep your Red Eye microbrew of choice cold for 24 hours!  2nd and 3rd places will take home the standard growlers.

The competition begins Saturday morning, with practice water Thursday and Friday! So head to wausau to be a part of the largest freestyle kayak competition in the country!

See you on the Water!