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2003 Wildwater Rankings

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by Tom Wier
USAWildwater K1 Team

March 7, 2004 -- Landsburg, WA

The 2003 national wildwater rankings have been compiled, and the results hold a few surprises. Many new faces had impressive showings at big races, and overall participation was up even though fewer wildwater boats competed. I was only able to obtain thirty race results this year, down from a high of fifty-two two years ago and thirty-eight last year. This was due partially to the cancellation of the Mid-Atlantic Series and the lack of results from Colorado. Several races in California were added in addition to the Kern River World Cups. The Cup races brought several paddlers out of retirement, most notably several C-2 teams and C-1 paddlers. Overall, most paddlers entered fewer races, and only ten paddlers registered five or more races.

For the first time, Chris Hipgrave of Bryson City, North Carolina won the men's kayak rankings. He beat out second place finisher Simon Beardmore with strong performances in Team Trials/Nationals and large regional races like the Upper Gauley. Beardmore posted good results in the Northwest Cup Series and at Team Trials. Andrew McEwan finished third, his first year out of the top spot for quite a while. McEwan concentrated this year on paddling sprint, but won the only two wildwater races he competed in: the Team Trials/ Nationals sprint and classic. Previously unranked Rich Roehner of Bellingham Washington was fourth and Dave Hammond retained his fifth place ranking. Eric Giddens and Eric Young were two surprising finishers this year. Giddens, a well-known slalom athlete, was fourth in the Team Trials Classic and second in the sprint, and was ranked 7th. Eric Young just missed the team, finishing eighth in both events and was ranked 13th.

The junior men's kayaks were particularly impressive. Geoff Calhoun won by almost three percent over Clay Wilder, and would have ranked third in the senior men's kayak. Clay Wilder was second, just ahead of Tyler Dyer, and would have been fourth in the senior class. Nic Borst of Colorado was fourth and the top cadet was Will Loken in fifth place.

Jennie Goldberg of Seattle, Washington fought off injury and again won the women's K-1, beating out Team Trials/ Nationals champion Rebecca Giddens. Goldberg registered 8 races despite losing more than two months of the season to back trouble. Giddens only competed in the two races of team trials, and won decisively despite the fact that she had paddled a wildwater boat a total of two times before. Renatta Altman ranked third after posting an overall win against strong competition in the Little Falls Race. Other notable finishers were U.S. Team Members Marci Cari and Katherine Edmonson (4th and 6th respectively). Cari was unranked last year, but had solid performances in California regional races and in Team Trials/Nationals. Unfortunately, she was unable to finish the world cup due to broken ribs suffered in the first world cup race. Edmonson moved up from 16th in 2002, and was the top U.S. woman in several of the world cup races.

Five junior women competed in 2003, one less than 2002. Erin Wilder won the rankings after strong finishes in Eastern Junior Team Trials. She beat out Perrin Pring, the second place finisher by over 10 points. Perrin did very well in her first year of racing, qualifying for the senior team and competing in the World Cup on the Kern River. Third was Rya Marques, another paddler new to the rankings. Fourth was Lisa Adams, who also competed with the senior team in the World Cup races.

Tom Wier of Washington topped the C-1 rankings for the third time, beating out John Pinyerd of Georgia and junior Tom Grey of Colorado. Wier registered nine races in the rankings, more than any other paddler, and rode victories in the Northwest Cup and Team Trials/Nationals to his first place ranking. Coming out of retirement for the World Cup races on the Kern River, John Pinyerd showed his experience in early season southeastern races and Team Trials/Nationals, placing second to Wier after several seasons without racing. The C-1 surprise was junior Tom Grey, one of the young racers from Colorado. After placing third at Team Trials, Grey went on to solid finishes in both the senior World Cup and Junior World Championships later in the year. Other notable finishers include Bob Bofinger and Ed Gordon (4th and 5th respectively), Mike Beck, Chris Wiegand, and junior Jeff Poe (10th, 11th, and 12th respectively). Gordon moved up from his 2002 ranking of 24th, while Bofinger dropped from 2nd. Mike Beck was previously unranked in C-1, Wiegand improved from 26th in 2002, and Poe moved up from 22nd. Overall participation in the C-1 class dropped slightly from 43 boats in 2002 to 39 in 2003. Only 9 racers paddled C-1 wildwater boats, even with he draw of the World Cup races in California. Junior participation was again low, and juniors were not ranked separately.

Participation in the C-2 class increased this year by a few boats, including some wildwater C-2 teams attracted by the world cup. Reid and Russel Bailey came out of retirement and ranked first after winning Team Trials/Nationals on the Kern River. They were followed closely by the team of Dan Schnurenburger and Chuck Lyda in second and the team of Mike Harris and Chris Davis in third. Chuck Lyda also paddled C-1 to a 6th place rank in that category, but chose to race in the World Cup as part of a C-2 team. There were no other wildwater C-2s ranked in 2003, but the number of open canoes competing in downriver was higher than in previous years.

For an explanation of how the rankings are calculated, please email Tom Wier at

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Tom Wier is a K-1 Wildwater racer living in Landsburg, WA. Reach him at<.