Freestyle Point Series Champions Complete Series in Three Months, Four States and Five Events

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US Freestyle Kayaking has announced its 2010 National Champions. These whitewater experts accumulated the highest number of points through their collective performances at five events held April 17 – July 2: the NOC Freestyle Shootout, Lyons Outdoor Games, FIBArk, Gunnison River Festival and the US National Championships in Missoula, Montana.

USA Freestyle Kayaking

"The Point Series reached its crescendo with a showcase of skill on the Clark Fork River in front of 18,000 spectators." Kevin Brown, Missoula

Bryan Kirk (Charlottesville, VA) and Haley Mills (Salida, CO) led the pack as the 2010 National Men’s and Women’s National Champions. Lauren Burress (Sullivan, IN) and Dane Jackson (Walling, TN) took the honors in the Junior Women’s and Junior Men’s class, respectively. In an unprecedented sweep, Dane also claimed the C1/Decked Canoe and Open Canoe classes, for a total of three National titles.

Bryan, a member of the USA Freestyle Kayaking (USAFK) Steering Committee notes, “Winning the National Championship Series is a great end-of-season bonus to both me and to my sponsors - Wave Sport, AT, NRS, and Predator - for my having performing well consistently at all five point series events. As a member of the US Freestyle Committee I'm proud to see our work setting up the first national series in seven years come to fruition, in addition to taking the win!”

“The point series succeeded in its effort to increase event participation, and grew a competitive story through the season,” notes Risa Shimoda, USAFK Chair. “We have some improvements to make and will be working with our event organizing partners to encourage even greater participation. Longer term we’d like to see regional circuits over the next few years whose qualifiers move on to National Championships. This direction will encourage paddlers who are not able to travel all over the country.”

Two and a half months after its kick-off on the Nantahala River in western North Carolina, the series concluded with a showcase of impressive skill on the Clark Fork River in front of 18,000 spectators. According to Strongwater Paddle Sports’ owner, event sponsor and organizer Kevin "KB" Brown. “By hosting the nation's top freestyle paddlers, Missoula was extremely excited to create more interest in the sport of freestyle kayaking which will in turn drive demand for lessons, sales and rentals. We were able to showcase Brennan's Wave as a great competition venue; illustrate how a competition in an urban environment can increase spectatorship; and announce future plans for a new downtown river project called the Max. Today, weeks after the event’s conclusion, my store is rocking!"

"The event was not viewed solely from the banks of the Clark Fork River," KB continues. "A towering outdoor display board streamed the event live to the thousands gathered under the downtown park’s covered pavilion and an online feed by saw 174,000 viewers. The event even streamed live into the building of our title sponsor, the First Interstate Bank. It did tons for Missoula from economic stand point, and put Missoula on the whitewater competition circuit map."

Bryan Kirk sums up how these public displays of expertise and athleticism support the national movement to get outdoors: “The freestyle circuit exposes thousands of people to the sport each year, which is good for kayaking and river sports in general. Once spectators see how much fun we're all having and realize there's more than just one way to enjoy the water they, in turn, may go out and hop in a recreational kayak or onto a Stand up Paddleboard (SUP) and have a great day.”

Point series champions will receive a personalized garment, a certificate from USAFK and a free registration for all 2011 USAFK Point Series events.

USA Freestyle Kayak is the governing body for whitewater freestyle kayaking in the United States and one of nine paddling disciplines governed by USA Canoe Kayak. USAFK coordinates the use of internationally approved rules administered by trained judges, and processes results to manage point tallies. In addition, USAFK sponsors the Freestyle Moves Library, a tool for educating aspiring freestyle paddlers and training judges. Point series events conducted community service projects intended to integrate visiting paddlers into the host communities.

For more information contact Risa Shimoda (301) 502-6548 risa(at)theshimodagroup(dot)com or visit www(at)usafreestylekayak(dot)com.


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