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2014 Whitewater Grand Prix Update

Posted: 04.29.2014

The 2014 Whitewater Grand Prix bring 35 of the world's best kayakers together to compete in 6 events over 14 days on the powerful whitewater rivers of Ontario & Quebec.

There are a number of Dagger athletes that were invited to compete this year, including  Aniol Serrasolses and Chris Gragtmans. Gragtmans recently wrote an article for Canoe & Kayak on the famed competition. Read an excerpt below:

"The Whitewater Grand Prix is a unique competition for a lot of reasons.
But the one that stands out most is the clear juxtaposition: On one hand you’ve got an extremely small, intimate event with no spectators; then you factor the design of an event geared toward its broadcast to the digital world. The energy is a type all its own with a structure more like a free-formed paddling trip than a typically regulated competition—and with all the proceedings captured by the best media pros in the biz. As a competitor in the inaugural 2011 event, a lot of my unforgettable memories stored away swelled back to the surface as I finished the long drive north once again. Last week’s practice sessions were a definite indicator that things are getting real in Canada. And as the two-week, multi-stage competition officially begins today, I can’t wait to see what this third Grand Prix installment has in store.Here are a few things to watch out for:

Water Levels. Eastern Canada has had a record snowpack this winter, and the rivers are guaranteed to be bigger than kayakers have ever seen them. The Ottawa River, where the event starts, is already near peak spring-flood levels, but the actual 2014 peak is probably still three weeks off. Farther north in Lac St. Jean (site of the final stages of the 2011 Grand Prix), there are still snowstorms occurring, and the melt has not really kicked in. All of that kinetic energy is waiting, buried under thick layers of snow; when the full brunt of this energy hits, it will be colossal. For the athletes, this translates to apprehension, excitement, innovation, and focus. The opening party on Saturday night was a good indicator of exactly that volatile emotional mixture: total unadulterated stoke.

Schedule. Event Stages 1 and 2 will be the Ottawa River freestyle (Big Trick Contest) and the Rouge River Boatercross, respectively. This weekend, we sat at an in-between level (too high for Mini-bus, too low for Big Bus and Gladiator), but as the water kept pushing its way through the reservoirs upstream, luck would have it that the legendary Gladiator wave reared its head for today’s first day of competition."

To read the rest of Chris' article for Canoe & Kayak, click here.