Freestyle kayaking is making a splash on the Wisconsin River in Wausau this weekend.
"The toughest part is understanding the motions that you need to make with your body in order to make the tricks happen," Wisconsin Rapids-native Ashley Knutson said.
Knutson entered today as the defending women's Midwest Freestyle Champion. And has four years of experience competing in the sport.
"After one day, I just fell in love with it and I slowly learned more and more and I progressed to be the level where I am today, competing at a very high level," Knutson said.
Originally known as the "Wausau Throwdown", the competition has been around for 13 years.
But this year saw more women competing in Wausau than ever before.
"When I started kayaking here, there were maybe four or five women in this freestyle competition and today we have nearly 15," Knutson said. "I've been at other freestyle kayaking events in the country and they don't even come close to this many paddlers at this level."
Knutson finished fifth at this year's championships, with Reno, Nevada-native Jessica Yurtinus taking home the title.
"This was a tough feature. I actually competed with the men earlier and I was a little bit better," Yurtinus said. "Regardless of the skill level, it's awesome seeing that many women out."
The 34-year-old is only in her third year of competing. And now she calls herself, the Midwest Freestyle champion.
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