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
For an explanation of how the rankings are calculated, please email Tom Wier at email@example.com.
Click Here for Overall Rankings
Click Here for Wildwater Only Rankings
Click Here for Rankings by Class
Tom Wier is a K-1 Wildwater racer living in Landsburg, WA. Reach him