This long weekend was insane. First off, I finally got a chance to go back to my home river: the Ottawa. Secondly, I got to witness the Ottawa XL. And finally, my friend and I got locked out of her car for 24h, but that’s a different story.
The Ottawa XL is a two day competition consisting of a Biggest Trick competition and a Boater-cross. It doesn’t sound too intimidating until you hear that the river is flooded and that the competitors will be surfing Gladiator.
Boater throwing a huge pan-am on Gladiator
Arriving in the valley was a bit intimidating as I was overwhelmed with the same question from everyone: are you competing. I had seriously considered it.
I decided that if I was to compete in such an extreme competition, I was going to make it count. I would want to throw a huge trick and potentially qualify for the Grand Prix. Which was another question altogether, am I ready for the Grand Prix? The answer to that question was no. Although I will be, and when that time comes I will compete in the XL.
Ottawa valley boater Kalob Grady throwing a huge airscrew
It seemed like a lot of the boaters weren’t sure if they were ready to surf Gladiator. Boater after boater would begin to paddle back into the eddy on river left before they caught the wave. Yet, those that did catch the wave got a lot of air. Looks like Kalob (pictured above) is two meters out of the air!
Ben Marr throwing a Sasquatch.
Men typically dominate big wave surfing, but this weekend I saw its not always true. With Nourian Newman throwing huge clean blunts and Katrina Van Wijk also throwing a blunt. A little less than half of the men caught the wave and all of the women caught it.
Local Joel Kowalski with a back pan-am
The Ottawa XL was one of the most exciting competitions I’ve ever witnessed. I even got to see a trick I’ve never seen before, the Sasquatch performed by Ben Marr (pictured above). It was even more exciting to know that my friend Kalob tied in second place with Nick Troutman and is competing in the Whitewater Grand Prix next spring.
Women’s results: (*qualifiers)
*1st Place: Nouria Newman (FRA)
*2nd Place: Katrina Van Wijk (CAN)
*3rd Place: Mariann Saether (NOR)
4th Place: Katie Kowalski (CAN)
Top 10 men:
1st Place: Dane O Jackson (USA)
*2nd Place (tie): Nicholas Troutman (CAN)
*2nd Place (tie): Kalob Grady (CAN)
*4th Place (tie): Ben Marr (CAN)
*4th Place (tie): Tyler Curtis (CAN)
*6th Place: Marcos Gallegos (CHL)
7th Place (tie): Tyler Fox (CAN)
7th Place (tie): Rush Sturges (USA)
9th Place: Mikael Hyla (FRA)
10th Place: Abel Thevenet (FRA)