2022 USA Freestyle National Team Trials

Saturday, March 19 • Results

The best of the best playboaters competed in the 2022 USA Freestyle National Team Trials March 19-20 at RIVERSPORT. Competitors qualified to compete at the 2022 Nottingham Worlds in a variety of events within the discipline. Admission to the event was free, and the athletes were practicing throughout the week prior – so there was plenty to come down and watch!

New to the sport?

Canoe freestyle showcases athletes performing acrobatic movements while paddling in a whitewater feature such as waves, holes and eddy lines. Surfers, snowboarders and gymnasts have nothing on these athletes who do amazing moves that often have equally amazing names – donkey flip, lunar orbit, and space godzilla to name a few. The spins, loops, cartwheels and turns launch paddler and boat into the air in ever-increasingly complex combinations.

Athletes score points based on accuracy, height in the air and the complexity of the combined moves. Seamless transitions and use of the paddle also play into scoring.

You’ll find four types of boats in freestyle competition: surface kayaks, decked canoes, open canoes, and squirt boats. In kayaks, athletes are seated and use a double-bladed paddle. Canoes require the athlete to be in a kneeling position with a single-bladed paddle. Squirt boats are designed to use the flow of the water to perform tricks both underwater and on the surface.

Hard to imagine anything more fun to watch – or do!

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