Photo Gallery: Montana Whitewater Championship Finals

By AUSTIN SMITH

Wednesday marked the culmination of a month-long battle for points and respect as the Montana Whitewater Championships was hosted at Brennan’s Wave in Missoula’s Caras Park.

Strongwater, Missoula’s premiere ‘surf’ shop, has been involved with two previous U.S. Freestyle Kayak Association events at Brennan’s Wave. Last year Missoula was a mid-tour pit stop, and the year before a qualifier for the U.S.

Wednesday’s competition was the first time the points tour has made Montana its final stop.

This was also the third year of Association competition to feature sanctioned judging. A crucial step on the road to including freestyle kayak competition as an Olympic sport, Missoula’s surf community is delighted to be pushing their passion towards an international stage.

Missoula’s business sector has also rallied around the event. Notable community sponsors included Strongwater, First Interstate Bank, Community Medical Center, and Zoo Town Surfers.

The top five competitors were honored Thursday afternoon, competing within eight brackets for prizes ranging from $1,000 to ‘$25+gear’ bundles. Brackets accommodate men and women of all ages and experience, and feature some notable events such as OC1 (stubby freestyle canoes) and C1 (knee kayaking). Strongwater representatives estimated approximately 50-75 entrants for the championship.

Winners included:

  • Men’s Pro (K-1) – Dane Jackson
  • Men’s OC-1 – Dane Jackson
  • Men’s C-1 – Dane Jackson
  • Junior Men – Poffenberger
  • Men’s Open – Matt Donnelly
  • Women’s Pro (K-1) – Emily Jackson
  • Junior Women – Sage Donnelly
  • Cadet – Michael Romer

Click any photo to see it larger and launch the gallery.

 

Clay Wright, Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Clay Wright, Missoul...
Johnny Meyers, Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Johnny Meyers, Misso...
Brennan Labbe, a Missoula 1st grader, plays in the river just downstream of the competition.  Brennan was in attendance with his mother, Jordan.  Missoula, MT, June 27th, 2012.
Brennan Labbe, a Mis...
Cheyenne Rogers of Missoula awaits her turn on Brennan's Wake.  Rogers is the inspiration for Kettlehouse Brewery's 'Eddy Out' pale ale logo.  Missoula, MT, June 28th.
Cheyenne Rogers of M...
The roiling waters of Brennan's Wave, just south of Caras Park in Missoula.  Brennan's Wave is a successful river rehabilitation and memorial project in the name of kayak legend Brennan Guth.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012
The roiling waters o...
Strongwater Paddlesports, Missoula, MT, June 27th, 2012.
Strongwater Paddlesp...
Montana Whitewater Championship competitor at Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Montana Whitewater C...
Montana Whitewater Championship competitor at Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Montana Whitewater C...
Johnny Meyers attacked Brennan's Wave with confidence throughout the comp.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Johnny Meyers attack...
Montana Whitewater Championship competitor at Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Montana Whitewater C...
Competitors catch their breath mid-river while Clay Wright rolls through Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012
Competitors catch th...
A stand-up paddleboarder surfs in between heats.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
A stand-up paddleboa...
Strongwater Paddle Sports, Missoula, MT, June 27th, 2012.
Strongwater Paddle S...
Clay Wright, Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Clay Wright, Missoul...
Montana Whitewater Championship competitor at Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Montana Whitewater C...
Clay Wright, Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Clay Wright, Missoul...
Montana Whitewater Championship competitor at Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Montana Whitewater C...
Eric Jackson floats past the Championship sponsor signs as he drops into Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Eric Jackson floats ...
Competitors look on as Eric Jackson rolls through Brennan's Wave...
Competitors look on ...
...and smile with encouragement as EJ comes back around.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
...and smile with en...
Montana Whitewater Championship competitor at Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Montana Whitewater C...
Montana Whitewater Championship competitor at Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Montana Whitewater C...
Montana Whitewater Championship competitor at Brennan's Wave.  Missoula, MT, June 28th, 2012.
Montana Whitewater C...

 

 

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Austin Smith in a tie

Austin Smith is a 21-year resident of the Missoula area, and an ardent fisherman, hunter, and snowboarder. When not working on the University of Montana campus, taking classes in the Journalism program, or contributing to the social media efforts of several local organizations, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his Akita and his family.