The Very Beginnings
Nick Troutman started kayaking at the age of 13. It all started when his best friend Joel (Kowalski, also a Team Jackson member) couldn’t hang out with him one summer because of Kayak School. Now Nick had lived beside the Ottawa River in Beachburg all his life so always knew about kayaking on the river, but this was his chance to actually try it so he went along with his pal Joel. It was a success, Nick was instantly addicted and has gone as far as to say that when he jumped into a kayak, that’s when he realised what was missing.
Enter Team Jackson
The next year, was the inaugural Keener Programme, a series of training camps for keen kayaking teens. Both Nick and Joel joined in where they picked up a sound base in kayaking skills (for more information on the Keener Programme click here) and they’ve been competing together ever since. Six years later, Nick and Joel competed side-by-side at the 2009 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships.
Nick’s Team Jackson career started in 2004 when he was trying out for the 2005 World Championships as a Junior. He did really well in the heats but succumbed to the pressure in the finals. Soon after, Eric Jackson offered to teach him during the Colorado Rodeo Tour. A tough decision for Nick’s parents but not so for Nick, it meant taking off the entire school semester in order to kayak, train and travel with the Jackson family. The parent-gods were smiling on him as Nick’s mum and dad agreed and off he went to join the Jackson Kayak team where he has remained to this day.
A Stellar Scoresheet
Nick’s achievements are impressive both on and off the water. His record is a stellar account of the international circuit. His first World Cup came in 2006, before the ICF was part of the Canoe Freestyle scene. As a 16-year-old, Nick took gold in the Junior Men’s K1. That same year, Nick won the National Championships in Canada.
It’s fair to say that 2007 was a turning point for Nick. In the spring he took bronze in the first ever ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championship, with veterans Eric Jackson and Peter Csonka taking the top spots. In the summer he swept the North American title and coming into Autumn he picked up the gold at the National Championships for the second year in a row. Participating in numerous events across the States, Nick moved into 2008 with a renewed confidence. Working his way up a notch, he won the silver medal in the 2008 ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cup (Peter Csonka won gold).
Reaching a pinnacle last year, Nick was crowned World Champion. As in the previous World Championships, Nick Troutman dominated the heats but this time for the final he managed to stay calm and focused and fought off the competition.
Off the Water
And what a year 2009 was. Just six months before the Worlds he had married Emily Jackson, making a Team Jackson of a different kind. At first, when Nick came to live with the Jacksons it was with one condition in EJ’s own words this was; “you can’t date my daughter.” But the Troutman charm won over and the couple married in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Last month (April 2010) the couple celebrated their first anniversary (Congrats guys!). After last year of living in a Honda Element doing the competition tour, the newlyweds toured around Europe and are now happily settling into their family home.
Setting up a home yes, but that doesn’t mean not doing much. Nick is a trained Film Producer with FIVEIGHTWO Media and has also featured in Nomads on National Geographic TV and Rush HD TV. Nick travels extensively to try out new waters; he just recently returned from a Mexico expedition where he made his first complete descent of the Rio Alseseca in Vera Cruz Mexico. He also has a descent of the Niagara Gorge under his belt. Nick is heavily involved with humanitarian work. He’s worked in Bujagali, Uganda and, nearer home, taught underprivileged kids in NY to kayak. Not forgetting where all this began, Nick coaches at the Keener Programme every year.
Most of his time is spent on the water and Nick paddles with the best. He counts Stephen Wright, Clay Wright, and Joel Kowalski as his best friends and of course Emily, Eric and Dane Jackson are family. He eats, sleeps and breathes kayaking and loves and lives for the adrenaline rush of running hard rapids, huge waves, and big drops as well as the fierce competition. And he loves kayaking for the eye-opener that it is, rightfully claiming, “You get experiences that you would only ever see from the seat of a kayak.”
Keep your eye on our Athlete of the Month for an exclusive interview, more pictures and footage of the reigning Canoe Freestyle World Champion.
Birthday: 20 October 1988
Height: 168cm (5’6”)
Weight: 68kg (150lbs)
Discipline of Choice: All types of Kayaking
Kayaking for: 8 years
Hometown: Beachburg, Ontario, Canada
Music: Everything with a beat
Beer or Juice? Both, or Chocolate Milk
Book or TV? Mainly neither
Night in or Night out? Night in
Run or swim? Run, I try hard not to swim
Motivated or Motivator? Motivator for sure, ask any of my friends