Germany’s Tim Rees became the first man to successfully defend a junior freestyle world title and Makinley Kate Hargrove thrilled her hometown crowd with her first world crown at the ICF Championships in Columbus, Georgia, on Friday.

Rees was a class above the rest of the junior field, posting a winning score more than 400 points clear of the next best finalist. In a history-making final, Onni Eronen won Finland’s first ever world championship medal by coming second and Great Britain’s Timmy Hill snatched bronze with his final ride.

The German said it felt special to be the first person in a quality field of paddlers to win back-to-back titles.

“It feels pretty great to break a record, there are some pretty big names in the game who didn’t make it, so it feels pretty great to be the first person to do it,” Rees said.

“I was pretty happy with my performance overall in the competition, I think I could still have gone a bit higher, but I’m happy with my result.”

Rees took the big decision to relocate to Canada for three months to prepare for the world championships.

“I knew that at the beginning of the season I was quite far behind in waveboating, because we don’t have any waves in Germany, but I’m pretty stoked that I could catch all the other athletes,” Rees said.

“I came to Canada, I could barely airscrew, I could barely PanAm, and to throw all those tricks in one ride, I’m pretty happy with it.”

16-year-old Hargrove won bronze at last year’s world championships in Nottingham, but in front of her home crowd the teenager always looked in control in the junior women’s final.

“I’m super excited to come out here in my hometown and show people what my homewave has to offer,” Hargrove said.

“It definitely made me a little nervous, but before the competition I was just smiling with my friends, I was so excited to have everyone here. I was unsure what I could do and what the wave would offer, and what I was feeling today, I honestly just went out there and tried my best.”

Finalnd’s Onni Eronen said he wasn’t aware he had won his country’s first world championship medal until after his men’s junior competition.

“I’ve been told after my ride several times now that I am the first Finnish medalist ever,” Eronen said.

“It feels amazing, finally bringing Finland to the world stage. It feels incredible, for me to be such a special part of history. I hope there’s going to be several more joining me in the history books as Finnish medalists.”

Great Britain’s Ottilie Robinson-Shaw means business in the women’s kayak, posted the highest qualifying score in the women’s kayak quarter-finals. The defending world champion finished with 1070 points, 400 points clear of 2019 world champion Hitomi Takaku from Japan, and 2015 junior world champion Sage Donnelly from the United States.

Donnelly said she was happy to make the semi-finals after a busy season off the water.

“The goal was to make it through to the semi-finals so I’m stoked with that, I didn’t get the whole ride I wanted to, but I’m stoked because I haven’t been able to train much, and I definitely haven’t been able to train at this water level pretty much at all,” Donnelly said.

“For the lack of training I’m stoked with how I’m doing and I hope to just keep improving. I have my own photography business now and I’m shooting weddings and portraits, so I’ve been working on growing that for the past couple of years.

“I’ve been doing a lot of creeking, just not a ton of freestyle.”

It was a similar story in the men’s quarter finals, with four-time world champion Dane Jackson finishing more than 400 points clear of local hope, Mason Hargrove.

Frenchman Tom Dolle was third, while Ireland’s David McClure, chasing Ireland’s first ever world championship medal, was fourth.

“Pretty happy, pretty rough, I wasn’t too sure, but it worked pretty well,” McClure said.

“My prep wasn’t as good as some, we didn’t get much time on the wave, so the prep could be a lot better, but it’s still pretty good. I did a lot of work.

“I think I’m an underdog, so I’ve just got to go out and do my best, and see what happens. The support here is really good, there’s a lot of people supporting me.”



  1. HARGROVE Makinley Kate (USA) 251.67
  2. GILFILLAN Sophie (CAN) 231.67
  3. KNIGHT Eleanor (USA) 136.67


  1. REES Tim (GER) 963.33
  2. ERONEN Onni (FIN) 533.33
  3. HILL Timmy (GBR) 498.33

Pics by Peter Holcombe

USA Makinley Kate Hargrove Columbus

Canoe Freestyle