BANKS — The best kayakers in the world competed in the semi-finals of the North Fork Championship, this year every competitor was forced to race their way to the finals.
The field started with 137 men and 18 women, after Thursday's race down S-Turn Rapid the field was narrowed to the 40 fastest men and the 10 fastest women.
The semi-finals will cut the field once more and on Saturday at 1:00 20 men and 10 women will race down Jacob's Ladder while trying to navigate the gates while going as fast as they can.
"This year is special, it is the world championship so whoever wins this event will not only be the king of the North Fork, but the king of the world," said Spaniard Aniol Serrasolses who won the event last year.
This year there were almost twice the competitors as the prestige of being the World Extreme Kayaking Championship continues the growth of the North Fork Championship, but there is also another theory.
A new format requires even the top pros to qualify for the finals and that new format has lead to more competitors and especially more Europeans coming over for the event.
"This is by far the most stacked field of competitors," said Dane Jackson who finished 3rd last year, but won it the both of the years prior. "This year the stress and pressure was a lot more savage because you weren't safe no matter what you got the year before."
The North Fork Championship will begin at 1:00 p.m. the results of the semi-finals have not been released, but here is the link to where those will be posted.
It's also important to take your time if you are traveling north this weekend as this event has brought a ton of people to Banks and the along the river to the north.