Whitehorse paddler takes on the world in Brazil

Whitehorse paddler Pelly Vincent-Braun splashed into the history books last week.

Whitehorse paddler Pelly Vincent-Braun splashed into the history books last week.

The 16-year-old became the first Yukoner to compete at the ICF Junior and U23 Canoe Slalom World Championships, in Iguassu Falls, Brazil, which saw over 380 athletes from 36 nations compete.

“It was really exciting, it was a great time and I’m glad I went,” said Vincent-Braun. “I’m not sure what, but I’m sure I learned lots.”

Vincent-Braun, who was one of 16 paddlers on Team Canada at the worlds, raced in two events in Brazil.

He rode the whitewater slalom course to 37th out of 43 competitors in the C-1 junior men’s category on April 23.

In both his qualifying runs he flipped his canoe, causing him to miss a pair of gates. The ensuing time penalties kept Vincent-Braun from advancing into the semifinals.

“I’ve never paddled on a manmade course and it’s quite a bit different,” said Vincent-Braun.

Vincent-Braun also represented Canada in the U23 C-1 men’s team event in which a team of three paddlers go through the course at the same time, having to make all the gates and finish within 15 seconds of each other.

The team raced to 12 out of 13 teams on Saturday.

Vincent-Braun, who is fittingly named after Yukon’s Pelly River, plans to “keep training for the team trials this fall and hopefully go to the next junior worlds,” he said.

Vincent-Braun qualified with an outstanding performance at nationals last summer. He won six medals – three gold and three bronze – at the Downriver Whitewater Nationals in Ontario.

“I wouldn’t have been able to have gone to the junior worlds without my dad and mom and all the coaches that have helped me get there, I just want to thank them,” he said.

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