Teenager Tom Dollé stole the show today at the International Canoe Federation Canoe Freestyle World Championships in Sort in Spain, the Frenchman winning the gold medal in his first senior competition with victory in the decked surface event.
The 18-year-old withstood a nerve-racking final ride from reigning world champion, Dane Jackson, with the American coming up just short of the 960 points posted by Dollé on his first run.
It was a nervous wait for Dollé, with Jackson the last paddler on the water.
"I can’t believe it," Dollé said.
"I knew I couldn’t do better, but I knew they could do better, so I just had to watch and hope for the best.
"I’m super-stoked that we all finished so close to each other – it was a really tight battle.
"I don’t really train much in the canoe, but the kayak helps a lot for canoe.
"It doesn’t really matter how much training you do in canoe when you do kayak at the same time.
"Senior is so much harder, there’s so much pressure."
Jackson left his best run to the last and threw everything he could into the final 60 seconds.
He posted 950 points to take the silver medal.
American team mate Jordan Poffenberger followed up his open surface triumph yesterday by securing the bronze medal with a score of 943.33 points.
In the women’s kayak surface preliminaries, the United States' Sage Donnelly qualified first with a combined freestyle total of 1,146.67 points.
It is a first senior World Championships for the 18-year-old American, who was crowned the junior world champion in 2015.
Poland’s Zofia Tuła qualified in second place with 1,063.33 points.
France’s Marlene Devillez, the 2017 world silver medallist, was third fastest with 946.66 points.
The next round of the event, the quarter-finals, is due to be contested tomorrow.
That will come between the semi-finals and final of the men’s and women’s kayak junior competitions.