Action from the Canoe Finals at the 2023 PA Canoe Slalom National Championships. Photos by Noel Rowsell (www.photoexcellence.com.au)
Olympic gold medallist Jessica Fox was crowned women’s WC1, WK1 and Women’s Kayak Cross champion at the 2023 Paddle Australia Canoe Slalom National Championships, finishing ahead of sister Noemie, who won the silver medal in all three events.
In the men’s C1, brothers Lachlan and Kaylen Bassett also made it a family podium, finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively, whilst Angus Thompson had double success, winning both the MK1 and the Men’s Kayak Cross. Lachlan also won a bronze medal on Sunday in the Kayak Cross.
Competing at Penrith’s Whitewater Stadium in their last outing on home soil before they leave for Europe for the upcoming international season, Australia’s top Canoe Slalom paddlers boasted strong performances and will carry confidence into an all-important season that will include qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Jess was pleased to finish the day with a clear run in the C1, which she finished in a time of 102.14 seconds.
“The course is fairly open on the top, there are a couple of areas that are just about keeping the boat running and smooth and I didn’t have to make many changes,” she said.
“I knew I had a couple of time losses throughout the run in my semi-final, I was hoping to improve on those. Even in my final in K1 it didn’t feel too good on the bottom section even though the top did. I’m glad I put together a good run in the C1.
“My K1 semi felt nice. In the final, I was hoping to improve on the time but unfortunately it was two seconds slower. I lost a lot of that time on the bottom section.”
In the men’s K1, 26-year-old Angus Thompson won his inaugural national title, 16 years after he first appeared at the event as a 10-year-old.
Thompson enjoyed a clear run in the final which he finished in a time of 90.67 seconds, ahead of Mark Crosbee in second and Dominic Curtin who was third.
“I’ve been to plenty of nationals but never got the number one, so it’s nice to finally get that one,” Thomson said.
“I was feeling good from the semis, I didn’t need to change that much. Just did the little things right and managed to keep it going to the end,” he said.
Victorian paddler Tristan Carter won the Men’s C1 in a time of 97.77 seconds, from brothers Lachlan and Kaylen Basset who were second and third respectively.
Tristan said he has been working on producing consistent and clean performances and this weekend the hard work paid off.
“This weekend’s been a confidence boost. Showing and having evidence that things are going in the right direction,” he said.
“It’s a tricky course out there. They set a few tricky moves just to throw you off, there’s a few open sections as well. It makes it hard, especially mentally, to switch on and off like that but it’s what we’re here for and what we practice for. I’m happy to finish that way.
“I’ve been pretty happy with the kayak, I had three out of four clean runs in the kayak. All weekend I only had one run that I was unhappy with,” he said.
In a sport where 13-year old’s have a chance to mix it with the best in the country, and the world, Jess was impressed by the young talent on display.
“Penrith is a pretty big course, so it’s quite intimidating for some of them who’ve never been here before and had to get used to the course in a week or so, and then race. It’s great to see them being courageous and charging on the rapids.”
The Kayak Cross completed the weekend’s events on Sunday, with Jess and Noemie again finishing 1st and 2nd respectively in the Women’s division, ahead of Georgie O’Callaghan (VIC) in 3rd.
Angus Thompson won the Men’s Kayak Cross, ahead of Dominic Curtin (NSW) and Lachlan Bassett (NSW).
Visit the website for the full schedule and results: https://paddlepenrith.com.au/2023-csl-national-championship/