The mood was a unique mixture of serious competition--with whitewater athletes walking the course, scouting lines, and discussing runs, penalties, and strategies--and family reunion, as this tight-knit group of friends and river-family caught up on old news and shared new memories after yet another year.
Race organizer MJ Simpson found time to compete in tandem events with both of her young sons. Simpson volunteered to organize the 2012 event in part, she said, because she met her husband, David Simpson, at an Open Canoe Nationals in Carltin, MN, so she felt she owed the event a good turn. “We’re even now, OC Nationals,” Simpson joked at the awards ceremony on Saturday evening at NOC’s Pourover Pub, to the laughter and applause of her fellow-canoeists.
Open Canoe slalom is a test of speed, river-running skills, and agility, and paddlers strove to excel in all three areas over the course of the weekend. In speed, the unrivalled champion was Jordi Domenjo, a coach at Colorado’s Alexander Dawson school, and a top kayak slalom athlete from La Seu D’Urgell, Spain. Domenjo posted a top time of 129.14, seconds ahead of the second place finish by Eli Helbert of Asheville, North Carolina, who came in at 155.05 in the OC1 Open X class.
There were only a handful of clean runs posted over the course of the weekend, a rare distinction since Open Canoes are long and it takes significant skill to navigate them through the slalom course at all, not to mention the difficulty of passing through each gate without tapping (or whacking) one. Among those competitors who managed at least one clean run were Carole Westwood, Adrian Nye, Dooley Tobras, and even the C2 team of Andrew Westwood and Paul Mason, among others. Course designer David Simpson also posted a clean time on Sunday morning, much to his relief. “It would be a sad state of affairs if the course designer couldn’t clean his own course,” he said.
View Full Results here:
Day 1 Slalom Final
Day 2 Slalom Final
Day 3 Slalom Final