Vestavia Hills’ local, Bennett Smith, has been named to the 2017 US Freestyle Kayaking team and will represent Team USA in the upcoming International Canoe Federation (IFC) Freestyle World Championships in San Juan, Argentina in November. Smith, a 20-year old sophomore at Auburn University qualified for Team USA at the US Freestyle Kayaking Team Trials last month in Buena Vista, Colorado.
Smith is no stranger to being a member of Team USA, having qualified in the Junior Men’s Division in 2013 at the age of 16. This will be his first time to qualify for the team in the men’s division.
The 2017 ICF Freestyle World Championships will take place November 28th – December 2nd in the Rio San Juan White Water Park in San Juan, Argentina. The World Championship is the highest competition in freestyle kayaking. A total of 22 athletes including men, women and juniors will be traveling to Argentina to represent the USA. Bennett along with four other men from the United States will be competing in the men’s division.
What is Freestyle Kayaking?
Freestyle kayaking is a whitewater canoe discipline and competitions take place on stationary river features. Paddlers perform a range of acrobatic tricks and maneuvers on a river feature such as a wave or a hole. The sport (often also called play boating) is enjoyed by many as a recreational sport, but at the top-level freestyle athletes participate in competitions regionally, nationally and internationally. In International Canoe Federation (ICF) events, athletes have a set time to perform as many different moves as possible, scoring additional points for style. Finals are judged on three 45-second runs.
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