Kokatat Athletes Win Gold at the 2007 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships

Tuesday, 22 May 2007
KokatatKokatat athletes Ruth Gordon and Dan Burke are crowned World Champions at the 2007 Freestyle Kayaking Championships, held on the Ottawa River in Canada first week of May. The competition was held at "Bus Eater" wave, which is the biggest wave the World Championships has ever been held on.

Ruth Gordon, a local to the Ottawa River, put on a spectacular performance leading the way in each round, to take home the gold medal in the K1 women's division. The competition was fierce but Ruth's commitment to training on big waves paid off. She spent the past 2 years traveling and training on features such as the "Nile Special" on Uganda's White Nile and on the "Hawaii Sur Rhone" wave in Lyon France. Ruth, now age 30, has been paddling for over 10 years. When asked how she felt about winning the world championship title she said "The competition is mere minutes, the joy is in the journey and that makes it all worth while". 

Dan Burke walked away with the gold medal in the men's C1 division after a unbelievable ride in the final round. Dan's goal for the competition was to paddle his best, as this would be his last kayaking competition. "I knew that I was having a great ride that would most likely place me in the top 3, but with only 8 seconds left I found myself in the right place on the wave and got the right bounce to be able to do a McNasty, one of the higher scoring moves for the competition" said Dan. Dan has been paddling for 12 years and 9 of them have been in a C1 kayak. Now living with his wife and daughter in New Hampshire, he spent this past year cross training to prepare him for the competition. Due to lack of water to train on year-round in New Hampshire, Dan focused his energy on endurance training to be in the best shape possible.

Other Kokatat team medalists include Tanya Faux, silver medalist in the women's K1 division and Nick Troutman, bronze medalist in the men's K1 division.

Tanya gave Ruth a run for the gold the whole way, with only 5-7 points separating the two at any one time. Tanya's aerial moves were definitely a highlight to watch during each round. When asked about her preparation for the world championships, Tanya said "In March I was faced with two options, one to head to the White Nile River in Uganda to train for the Worlds, the other to fulfill a 4 year long dream". Instead of traveling to the Nile Tanya successfully completed the first decent of the King Edward River in the Kimberley's of North Western Australia, a 310km journey through the most remote region of Australia.

Nick is also a local Ottawa River paddler. Growing up in Beachburg Ontario, the competition site was literally in his backyard! Though no stranger to the freestyle kayaking scene, this was Nick's first time competing in the world championships. "I thought that I would be nervous the whole time, but when it came down to it, I just had fun, especially being that it was on my favorite wave in the world" said Nick. Nick led the competition placing first in all the rounds leading up to the final heat of five competitors where he ended up in third. 

For full results, photos and coverage of the 2007 World Freestyle Kayaking Championships, visit the official website at:


David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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