The 2023 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championship will be returning to a big-wave venue this year, with high-flying whitewater athletes making their way to the RushSouth Whitewater Park in Georgia in October. Good Wave promises to be one of the most exciting features for a general viewing audience since the 2015 Worlds on Garburator on the Ottawa River.

But before we get to Worlds, U.S. athletes must vie for a spot to represent their flag. The 2023 U.S. Freestyle Team Trials will also give us a sneak peek at the feature and the caliber of performances we can expect to see from international competitors later this year. So far one factor appears evident: some athletes are showcasing their home river advantage.

Here’s what the pros are saying about Good Wave and how they see the action unfolding for U.S. selection March 11-12:

“The wave is very challenging and the water levels affect it a lot. For the men, Steven Wright and Mason Hargrove are looking really good. There’s a huge turnout for the ladies here and they’re all bringing their A-game. Most of my sessions we’ve had more ladies than men, it’s been awesome. For junior women, local girl Makinley Kate is killing it!”

Sage Donnelly

“The local Hargroves show consistency on the wave and Makinley Kate is one of the strongest ladies on the water, even in the senior class.”

Emily Jackson

“Good Wave is very fun but I’m finding it pretty difficult to get some of my favorite tricks that I thought always came easy to me like helixes and clean blunts. The challenge has been a great experience and really my goal here was to learn how to surf this wave.”

Elaine Campbell

“Good Wave is a very interesting feature and you honestly never know when the time is right to throw a trick. The bounce flurries and this makes it tricky to line up and throw your move which can easily result in you flushing off.”

Landon Miller


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“I think it’s going to be a very competitive competition all around, from the junior men’s to senior women to C1. I’m excited to see it unravel and who will claim those elusive Team USA spots.”

Mason Hargrove

“The wave is a great feature to really challenge every competitor. It doesn’t give up passes or air easily and the set up is quite hard. The venue as a whole is going to be amazing. Columbus, Georgia has really come up in the ranks. I think it’ll be one of the best Worlds events we have had, rivaling the 2009 Worlds in Thun, Switzerland.”

Adriene Levknecht

The competition kicks off Saturday, March 11 at 9 a.m. EST. Stay updated by following USA Freestyle Kayaking.

Feature Image: Makinley Kate Hargrove shows the aerial potential of Good Wave. | Photo: by Rob Giersch


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