Urban and Jacksons rule the kayak hole at Vail Teva Games
VAIL – After Saturday’s Teva Mountain Games kayak freestyle competition, the Jackson family took home medals in every color.
Emily Jackson, now a grizzled veteran of 21, won her seventh-straight women’s freestyle gold in this event, while her dad, Eric, took silver in the men’s competition, and her younger brother Dane, 12, won bronze.
Buena Vista’s Dustin Urban had the temerity to break up the Jackson’s party by capturing the men’s crown for the fifth time in his career.
“I’m psyched. This is my fifth time,” Urban said. “This was probably the most competitive event I’ve been to in a long time. There were so many guys who were capable of winning.”
In addition to making it a quintet of titles, Urban also helped out Emily Jackson with a minor predicament. For whom do you root in the men’s competition, you dad or your brother?
“Either one of them is a win-win situation,” she said with a smile.
While Urban and Eric and Dane Jackson all like to butt heads in competitions, it’s important to note that this is a friendly rivalry. They all use Jackson kayaks and Urban was using a new model, designed by Eric.
Calling it a “carbon kevlar layup,” Urban said his kayak was 40 percent lighter and thinks that the model will allow all competitors to perform at a higher level.
“Big props,” Urban said. “Another amazing boat design from E.J.”
Urban was definitely getting good air with his kayak. On the opening loop of his second run, which ended up being the winner, he went too high and flushed out of the hole, probably losing 10 of his 60 seconds.
The Buena Vista native, with heavy support, especially from a balcony of the adjacent Sitzmark Lodge, recovered quickly and started linking together his moves with precision. Making an adjustment from his first run, he did his high-value tricks in succession to make them more clear to the judges. He went right and left with his phonyx monkeys as well as space Godzillas. There were a few more leaps laced in and he finished with a lunar orbit on the buzzer.
“I got after it,” Urban said. “I had my sequence of moves I wanted to hit. I don’t think I really missed one of them. I was able to get through almost all of them. I got onto my lunar orbit right at the buzzer, so I didn’t really know if that would hold up.”
It did with 940 points. Eric Jackson finished with 810, followed by Dane at 800.
Emily, part seven
It has gotten to the stage where the Teva freestyle rodeo women’s competition is generally a battle for second place.
Emily is that good. Her first run was good for 530 points and nobody else came close.
“My first run, I got all my hard tricks in right away,” Jackson said. “I got lots of air on my front loop, my McNasty and my phonyx (monkey). I felt really good. My score was beatable, but Ruth (Ebens), like me, didn’t have her best ride.”
Ebens finished second with 300 points.
Though there’s a big snowpack and it was warm Saturday, Gore Creek was not going at its thunderous rate of last year and Jackson laid out her bag of ticks.
“The water was definitely way more mellow than last year,” Jackson said. “Last year, it was 90 degrees and the water just shot up. This year, 70 degrees, perfect weather, perfect water.”
There was a little deja vu of 2010 for Jackson as some driftwood came down the Gore during her third run, but she had already clinched her seventh-straight title.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
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