After losing his title in 2010, Whitehorse’s Kevin Daffe was back at the top of the heap at the Whitewater Rodeo on Wednesday. But he wasn’t alone.
Daffe was joined by friend Sam Penner in a tie for first in the advanced division of the annual freestyle kayak competition hosted by the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club at the Rotary Centennial Bridge.
“It’s for fun more than anything,” said Daffe. “I was surprised. Some of these guys are doing tricks I didn’t even know you could do, so it was neat to see some of these new tricks out there.
“I’ve kind of got the same set that I’ve always done. It just worked this time.”
Daffe, who has won the title more than five times now, represented Canada at the junior world championships in 1999, finishing 21st.
Earning him the top spot on Wednesday were cartwheels, blunts, a loop combination, ending with a no-paddle loop – always a crowd pleaser.
The tie for first is Penner’s best finish in the advance division. He placed third in 2010.
“Usually I don’t place or I get third,” said Penner. “It’s feels pretty good… (I’m) out there having fun. I don’t remember what I did out there, I just went out there and put out as many tricks as I could in the allotted time. I think I went over my allotted time and kept on doing rodeo tricks.”
Penner tied for first with blunts, cartwheels, a pistol flip and a space Godzilla.
Daffe and Penner were also neck-and-neck in the downriver race with Penner edging out Daffe by less than a boat’s length. It was his first time placing first in that event too.
“He gave a big scream and got six paddle strokes ahead of me,” said Daffe. “It’s fun to be competing like that and be so close.”
“I’ve been paddling a long time and have been paddling with these guys for a long time, so I know all their secrets,” said Penner.
“I was told to say, if I get an interview, what Usain Bolt says: I came here to be a legend and I did just that.”
Placing third in the freestyle event was Dave Pigott with a series of blunts and wowing the crowd with an attempt at an airscrew.
Terrace, B.C.‘s Jeremie Drouin, who won the advanced freestyle division the last two years, was absent from the rodeo.
After finishing third in 2010, when boogie boarding was first added to the rodeo, and second last year, Mael Pronovost rode his board to first place in boogie board competition. He also took first in the beginner division of the freestyle kayaking.
Mike Terlesky won his second-straight canoe division at the rodeo.
A total of 35 paddlers participated in this year’s event.
1st Kevin Daffe
1st Sam Penner
3rd Dave Pigott
1st Marc Pronovost
2nd Natalie Sands
3rd Dave Lariviere
1st Mael Pronovost
2nd Kendra Willems
3rd Justin Munro
1st Mike Terlesky
3rd Adam Robinson
1st Mael Pronovost
2nd Isabelle Pronovost
3rd Luanda Pronovost
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