Name: Bennett Smith
What country are you competing for?
– The United States of America
Favorite place to train?
– A secret spot I found by my house. The “Cry Baby” Hole
How many World Championships have you competed in before?
– This will be my 3 rd !
What are your previous placements at Worlds?
– 19 th place and 5 th place
How does the level of competition at World Championships compare to any other
– There is no tougher level of competition than the World Championships. It is
the Olympics for whitewater kayaking. It is the only competition that you can
expect to see the best paddlers from every country together in one place. It is
a different beast!
What’s your favorite part about World Championships? Or if you have never been to
a Worlds before what are you most excited for? (Location, people, party, competing,
– I am most excited for seeing everyone I have met at the previous world
championships, and exploring new countries and cultures. For this World’s, I
am most excited to see everyone’s hard work payoff during the competition!
What are you doing to prepare for the 2019 Freestyle World Championships?
– Balancing life with kayaking and trying to get on the water as much as
possible. It is easy to start viewing training as a job so I always try to keep a
positive attitude and have fun!
What are some things you think you can do to improve your placement in Sort?
– Get there early and get acclimated to the feature, strengthen my body to
prevent injuries, and be in my kayak as much as possible!
Do you have any pre-competition traditions?
– I try not to. I want to be able to compete at my best no matter what the
circumstances are leading up to the competition. I definitely warm up my
body before getting in my kayak though!
Favorite pump up song?
– Sometimes I am in the mood for a song that isn’t too crazy, but gets me calm
and focused. Sometimes I am in the mood for a fast song that gets me
Do you normally make a routine that you practice and use in competition or do you
just send it with no plan?
– I usually have a planned ride that I have rehearsed and practice, but a paddler
has to be willing to stray away from a ride if something unexpected happens.
If your boat is in the perfect position to throw a trick that isn’t in your planned
ride, sometime you just got to SEND IT.
What is your goal at the 2019 World Championships?
– My goal is to win the 2019 World Championships. It isn’t going to be easy but
my goal is within reach!
What tricks or combos do you think you will put into your rides?
– Last World Championships there were a lot of new trophy moves that I did not
know were worth so many points. I have been practicing those trophy moves
and am ready to bust out a few this World’s 😉
What are your early predictions for who is going to do well in Sort?
– For the other countries I am not sure, but I am very excited that we have a
really strong U.S. team and I am predicting the U.S. to do incredibly well in all
If you have been to a previous World Championships, what are some tips or secrets
you want to share with first time Worlds Competitors?
– To win World’s, you have to advance through preliminaries, quarterfinals,
semifinals, and finals. Those are the most cuts you will go through in your
career as a freestyle kayaker! My tip is you need to be consistent. Don’t go for
your craziest ride in the early rounds if you aren’t 100% you can get it, or you
may end up messing up and not advancing. Stick to what you know you can do
and what you know will advance you forward into the next round, then
unleash your record breaking ride later in the competition.