Photo Gallery: Montana Whitewater Championship Finals


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.





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.