Photos by Kelly O’Day
The 13th Annual Midwest Freestyle Championships were held at Whitewater Park in downtown Wausau the weekend of August 20-21. Freestylers had 30 seconds to pull off as many tricks as they were able, and the two days of competition closed with BoaterX (Boater Cross) races pitting four kayakers at a time racing on a short course.
“We had 108 competitors, which is the largest freestyle kayak event in the U.S.,” board president and event coordinator Brian Scholz said. “This is sitting in one feature, trying to rack up as many points as you can by performing tricks, versus the traditional (slalom whitewater) event that’s a down-river race with penalties for hitting or missing gates. We have a lot of beginners. Most have day jobs and do it for the fun of it.
“Weather always plays a big role. It doesn’t help getting spectators when it’s pouring rain. Quite a few people came out Sunday, when the weather was nicer.”
John McConville from Jackson, Wis., won the Advanced division for freestyle for the ninth year in a row, while Collin Kemp, of Reno, Nev., captured the Boater X competition.