All they have is 45 seconds to showcase their paddling skills. The three big rapids at Meenthullipara were the testing grounds. The one who performs more mind-blowing stunts at the rapids would take the prize.
The freestyle kayaking competition that marked the opening day of the Malabar World Kayak Championship and Malabar River Festival on Wednesday at Chakkittapara was a test of how far the kayakers could survive paddling against the flow.
And the winner in the men’s category was none other than Dane Jackson from USA, who has several freestyle world titles under his belt.
Nick Troutman from Canada came up second while Brenden Orton from the U.K. came third in the close competition.
Martina Wegman from Germany bagged the first prize in women’s category while Ann Bruno from USA and Nouria Newman from France came up second and third respectively.
Around 40 paddlers took part in the men’s category while five participated in the women’s category.
Earlier, district panchayat member A.K. Balan handed over the paddle to Jacopo Nordera of Madras Fun Tools to mark the beginning of the competitions. Chakkittapara grama panchayat president Sheeja Shashi and Joint Director of Tourism C.N. Anitha Kumari were present.
Intermediate kayaking competition will be the highlight of the second day of the festival, and will be held at Pulikkayam near Kodencheri.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran will officially open the event at 5 p.m. on Thursday in the presence of MLAs George M.Thomas, A. Pradeepkumar, V.K.C. Mammad Koya, M.I. Shanavas, MP; district panchayat president Babu Parasseri and Director of Department of Tourism P. Balakiran. Competitions will be held at Anakkampoyil and Arippara in the coming days. The festival will conclude at Pulloorampara on Sunday.
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