Wow……This is the only thing that comes to mind when I look back over the 2015 Freestyle World Championships and the year leading up to it. The start of my year is always based around my new year’s resolutions. This year I changed it up and added less direct goals and more based on my way of living. For starters: go paddling when and where I want to and never feel like I “need” to go paddling. This approach to kayaking really started once I had my son Tucker but I did feel the need to emphasize it this year…. What did that mean? It meant I missed a few events here and there because I wasn’t looking forward to the feature or travel to get there. It also meant I kayaked more then ever! Why? Because I was exactly where I wanted to be. My thought process for Worlds Training started with searching for waves- but it wasn’t really a search as my favorite place ever is the White Nile in Uganda. Not only because of Nile Special and Club Wave but for the general atmosphere of Island Living- Simplicity.
I spent 17 days there- and my first trip away from Tucker working on every move I could think of. There, I was focused on another New Years Resolution: to learn 3 new moves. My goals were something I can control- while the goal of making the US Team and Winning Worlds was not something I can control…. The resolution was met early. Mainly because I was so excited to work on moves I couldn’t do on demand, or confidently. Left Helix, left Pan Am, clean Blunt, left McNasty. Many of these moves helped me throughout the year in competitions and towards my win in the World Championships. US Team Trials came and went in the blink of an eye- it was held on a Tuesday, Wednesday and in the middle of the Colorado Tour. I had a hard time at the event seeing my Dad miss out on the US Team by 2 places. It was a bummer for me but also a reminder that doing what you love is most important and he was doing all of that. Fishing competitions, paddling with his family, and running a business…
Shortly after team trials I was up on the banks of the Ottawa River, but the first week of being there I was teaching Whitewater Riders- a teen program with MKC. It was perfect as many of the students were learning basics that I needed some work on. For me teaching has always been fun because I am amazed at how much better of a boater I am afterwards… Jackson Kayak Team at Worlds By the next week my mentally of “training” begun. The only difference in the day to day for me between training and just boating, is that I keep a journal, and I usually spend most of my time on the feature the event is at- otherwise its almost the same. My Journal consists of notes on how to do moves better, how I was feeling, how Tucker slept, what I ate and how my head game is doing. This helps me see what I need to paddle my best. Halfway through the summer I realized dieting made me feel weak on the water and afterwards I made sure to eat a big meal before boating and my paddling felt so much stronger. Little things like this made a big difference for me.
Once the event started I was BEAT. Not from kayaking as I was not doing a ton of it, but because I couldn’t believe how much work there was around organizing team boats for worlds; We had 96 Jackson Kayak boats delivered to the Ottawa, and people showing up literally the day before worlds. This kept me insanely busy but at the same time I was so excited when I would see all the rockstars on the water. So it was all worth it. My next focus was on energy levels. I would visit a Russian osteopath who would remind me that she cant help me unless I stop stressing out. This would always make me laugh because Worlds was in a couple days, and I was excited for that but stressed about the boys competing and that I wouldn’t have what my team needs to perform well. After the boys did their first round, I felt a huge load come off and I remembered to only focus on what I can control. Emily Jackson on Garburator wave at World Championships That brought me to competition day- I knew I couldn’t control what the judges give, or what the other girls can do, so my goal was to get my routine. I knew I wanted to feel fresh so before competing each time- I brush my teeth and I always put on dry under layers. This is how I know I am ready.
Prelims went great, I was sitting in 2nd with low scores. The second didn’t surprise me but MAN those scores did- we later found out that the hardest judges and judging was done during the women. The next round was the next day so I didn’t have time to figure it out, everyone told me to change my routine as they were being too hard on the bigger tricks, but I knew my routine was just fine, and if they don’t score my moves- oh well…. At least I stuck to it. This brought me to semi’s- the dreaded Semi Finals. Everyone hates semi’s as it’s the least amount of rides (2)- and it determines whether or not you are in finals. A flush makes a big difference in this round… Luckily for me my head was where it needed to be, and while everyone said change your routine, I stuck to it, again…. This again- put my in 2nd with really low scores. I made it to the next round. And the next round was FINALS!! Huge Aerial move by Emily Jackson All day I watched each finals, OC-1, C-1, Jr M, and Jr W. As Team Manager for Jackson Kayak I was SO fired up for each one of our athletes. It was awesome to see everyone do so well. I was so impatient to have my turn!
Finally mid day we had our Womens Finals. I was nervous…. For the mens finals, but PUMPED for the Womens. The finals eddy was awesome, each lady was SO insanely positive and enthusiastic. I knew it was going to be a great experience. Claire and Hitomi are two of the best competitors, not because they are awesome paddlers but because they are always smiling and happy in the eddy. Emily Ward and Katya also looked like they were having a great time throughout the finals. I won on all 3 rides, I was very consistent throughout the entire competition and carried that into finals. I really couldn’t believe I did it when Emily Ward took her last ride and it wasn’t quite enough to podium. Watching her last ride it reminded me- There is nothing you can do now, its all up to her. This was great because it goes to show that the standings of the Worlds really aren’t in your control- BUT if you stick to what you know, and do it well…. Things just might work out the way you want. Women’s top 5 at 2015 World Championships: Emily Jackson, Hitomi Takaku, Clair O’Hara, Katya Kulkova, Emily Ward Emily and EJ Cheering I was so fired up but I still had BIG butterflies in my stomach because the men’s were coming up. Dane Jackson (my brother) and Nick Troutman (my husband) were both in finals with Mathieu, Quim and Bren. All of them could win worlds, but I just wanted them to paddle well.
Dane kicked things off insanely well and put a lot of pressure on the athletes left to go- that included Nick who somehow decided that in order to beat Dane he needed to go faster and bigger- this left him out of sync for both his first two rides. Mathieu was also in a good standing in 2nd with a BIG score. Bren and Quim didn’t quite pull out big rides. Nick was the last to go and I swam across the river to talk to him. Once I was there I asked him whats up- he said he wasn’t sure, he just wanted to do well. I told him he only had one ride left and it was up to him to go out and have fun or to keep stressing about how he does in the end. With a couple kisses I sent him off and he pulled off a good ride- not his best but just enough to get onto the podium. I was so happy for him, he won two rounds and it would have been sad to go from 1st to 5th with a choke. While I wish Nick had a better finals, I was very excited for the first ever Jackson double win in Mens and Women with myself and my brother Dane. I had won it with Nick, and I won Juniors with my Dad, but never had Men and Women been won by a brother sister duo….
Once the men’s finals was over, the concept of Worlds being over as a whole, hit me hard. I couldn’t believe it had come, and then I couldn’t believe it had gone. One quote I repeated almost everyday, if not to myself but to other athletes - “A competition is the opportunity to showcase ability, but never define it.” I didn’t feel I showcased my full potential but I also know the event doesn’t define what I can do either. This leaves me excited and ready to go out and paddle, even on Garburator - the competition spot. Some people think “you must be burnt out.” My response is certainly not! I was paddling all summer, and exactly where I wanted to be! Thanks to everyone and my sponsors for making sure I not only had the equipment I needed and wanted but also provided continued support throughout the entire event. Kokatat, Jackson Kayak, Werner, Snap Dragon, Seea Swimwear, Smith Optics and Kind Bars. That’s the winning Kit right there! An even bigger thanks to all those who believed in me, and didn’t ask that silly question- Wait- you still kayak?! But you have a kid… So the gold is for all those moms out there seeking adventure! Love to you all, Emily Jackson-Troutman