The 2020 USA Whitewater Freestyle National Championships were held virtually this year!
With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing this summer, the 2020 Freestyle National Championships were facing a huge hurdle: how to hold an important competition without putting the competitors and their families at risk. The ACA Freestyle Competition Committee purpose is to promote athletic competition in paddle sports at the local, regional, national and international levels. Staying committed to their mission, the group got creative and chose to offer the competition in a virtual format to encourage competitors to continue training, paddling, and staying involved.
Each competitor submitted a 60-second video of themselves doing flatwater freestyle and/or performing a single big trick. After the conclusion of the video submission period, seven ICF judges scored each entry. Competition entry fees were gathered and split between the first-place winners’ favorite paddling charity organizations.
The first challenge to this altered event format was communications. Social media was used to spread the word about the virtual competition, and the event was opened to anyone who wanted to compete. The second challenge was technology. Finding easy to access and utilize online video uploading software, registration processes, and enforcement of the established competition rules.
Solutions were found and the 2020 Freestyle Nationals went off without a hitch! The awards, designed to commemorate the unique circumstances that have met us this year were designed, built, and shipped to winners by US Whitewater Freestyle Committee Vice Chair Ned Poffenberger.
These are the final results. Note that Lane is not a US citizen so Bennett finished 2nd in the US Nationals.
Article and photography provided by:
US Freestyle Kayak Committee
Risa Shimoda – Chair
Ned Poffenberger – Vice Chair
Emily Jackson – Athlete Rep