American Seth Chapelle broke through for his first world title and Great Britain’s Ottilie Robinson-Shaw successfully defended her canoe crown at the ICF Freestyle World Championships in Columbus, Georgia, on Thursday.

Chapelle triumphed in an epic men’s canoe final, snatching the lead with his final ride, and then watching on as last year’s gold and silver medalists, Landon Miller and Dane Jackson, both fell short on their final challenge.

Chapelle’s only previous medal was a silver in the men’s canoe in 2015.

“I’ve been competing at the world level, my first one was in 2003, this is my ninth world championships and I have four fourth place finishes and a second,” Chapelle said.

“I’ve always wanted to be a world champion ever since I knew about freestyle paddling and it’s finally happened.

“My world championships curse seems to be fourth place, so when I confirmed I was on the podium, I thought I have nothing to lose, if I throw my perfect ride I could win, so I just went out there and tricks started working.”

Dane Jackson won a third consecutive silver medal, while Landon Miller took the bronze to add to the gold he won in the open canoe 24 hours earlier.

The winner in the women’s competition was much easier to find, with Great Britain’s Robinson-Shaw successfully defending the title she won in Nottingham last year. Robinson-Shaw landed the two highest scoring rides and already had the gold medal locked away before her last venture onto the water.

Despite the win Robinson-Shaw said she still felt disappointed in her performance.

“It was a tricky competition, so it’s nice to be at the top again,” Robinson-Shaw said.

“I was really disappointed in my paddling. Whan I go out to paddle I’m not just trying to win the gold, I want to do a ride that I can look back on and feel really proud, and I am sad that I didn’t necessarily hit that.

“My dream for me is that whenever I compete I can do a ride that I’m truly proud of, that have pushed the barriers for women’s kayaking, but also to try and be at the top. That’s what I want to do.”

Poland’s Zofia Tula made up for the disappointment of missing the quarter finals in the women’s kayak with silver on Thursday, while Tamsyn McConchie from Great Britain took the bronze.

The qualifying rounds of the junior men’s and women’s kayak produced some exciting results, with Canada’s Sophie Gilfillan tipping American Makinley Kate Hargrove for the top score in the women’s.

“I had some good tricks and some really good passes, and I’ve got a ton more left in the tank, so I’m stoked,” Gilfillan said.

“It’s a really strong junior women’s class so I feel privileged to be paddling with these ladies. I’ll let myself take a deep breath and cool off. It’s competing, competing is hard, there’s ups and downs and I’ve had my fair share of downs in team training, so it feels good to have a few ups.”

In the junior men’s Great Britain’s Jools Gardner pipped Germany’s reigning world champion, Tim Rees, for the number one position.

“I’m looking for a higher score, but it was enough today to make it to the semis, so tomorrow I’ll be hoping for a bigger ride,” Rees said.

“I don’t really like the words ‘defending my title’ because defending is not putting you anywhere, and I’m sort of in attack mode. I’m aiming for 900 to 1000 points for just one ride in the final.”

Friday will see women’s and men’s junior kayak titles awarded.



  1. ROBINSON-SHAW Ottilie (GBR) 175.00
  2. TULA Zofia (POL)   33
  3. MCCONCHIE Tamsyn (GBR)  00


  1. CHAPELLE Seth (USA) 858.33
  2. JACKSON Dane (USA) 850.00
  3. MILLER Landon (USA) 803.33

Pics by Peter Holcombe

Canoe Freestyle