World Kayak, the online hub of the freestyle kayaking community, is launching the first-ever point series designed to create a system of amateur rankings for recreational kayakers.
The point series will be implemented at World Kayak’s Hometown Throwdowns throughout the US and Canada this year. The system earned nods of approval from the freestyle committees of both countries’ kayaking federations. Hometown Throwdowns are kayak competitions aimed at helping recreational boaters meet others and improve their skills in a fun environment on their home rivers. There are some 160 Hometown Throwdowns scheduled this season.
“This is a long-awaited first step in creating a logical progression for competitors from absolute beginners through to the pro ranks and national level competition,” said World Kayak founder and Executive Director James McBeath. “We’re also pleased that USA Freestyle Kayak is unanimous in its support of the point series, seeing it as the starting point for paddlers hoping to be the next World Champion.”
Free and open to all skill levels, Hometown Throwdowns give local paddlers a chance to strut their stuff in a series of low-key competitions on their home whitewater play features. Each Throwdown series is comprised of three to six events held throughout the season, with dates varying by region. Throwdown divisions are set up to accommodate all levels of paddler skills and will rank every age bracket. The basic scoring system rewards everything from basic to advanced moves front surfs and paddle waves to more advanced moves giving all a chance at scoring points.
McBeath explained the new point system is modeled after best practice shown in a handful of more established sports such as swimming, hockey, baseball and BMX. There will be three classes within the amateur system: novice, intermediate and advanced. Each class will have local and regional rankings for all ages from 7 up to Masters (45+). Each entry into a Throwdown is worth 30 points; the top ten finishers at each event earn bonus points; point totals count toward year-end rank and overall awards. This formula allows for ranking to be based on both participation and place and will be used next year to determine ‘divisional status’ going forward, automating a paddlers amateur progression from novice to elite.
Those wishing to be ranked will be asked for a $10 contribution to help maintain the web-based point system. The fee can be paid during online registration via this web site at World Kayak’s PayPal-enabled Registration Page.
Prizes, just for participating, are donated by national sponsors Jackson Kayak, Smith Optics, Immersion Research, Mountain Khakis, Stonyboater Paddle Wax, Chaco, Astral, Shred Ready and Kokotat. Participating paddlers registering to be ranked will also be a part of a raffle for one of four Jackson Star series boats.
Throwdowns and other World Kayak special events are coordinated by a global network of regional ambassadors and championed by hundreds of bloggers on worldkayakblogs.com, one of the most robust social networks in the blogosphere. World Kayak also provides some of the best major event coverage in paddlesports media coverage in paddlesports media at their newly improved www.wkthrowdowns.com coverage portal, home to coverage and results from all 160 Throwdown events. World Kayak also hosts an online kayak teaching education portal.
World Kayak is a grass roots organization dedicated to increasing participation and growth in whitewater kayaking. For more information on local, regional and global whitewater events, instructional programs and
kayakers on home or distant rivers, visit WorldKayak.com.