Freestyle kayaker Dustin Urban ’07 has been competing in his sport for more than a decade, and he's had success both in the United States and on the international stage (including a 6th-place finish at World Championships in 2003). Since graduating from Princeton, his priorities have shifted: With a young family and a full-time job, the 26-year-old finds time to practice most days but limits his road trips to three or four each year. Still, he told PAW, "I'm able to kind of come off the bench and be competitive."

Last weekend, at the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colo., Urban twisted, flipped, and paddled his way to victory, winning the pro freestyle kayaking event for the fourth time in his career. Freestylers compete in one-minute intervals and try to do as many tricky maneuvers as possible. Judges award higher scores for more technically difficult moves and, as Urban says, "amplitude is also a factor" (translation: the more air, the better). At Vail, the water was unusually high, so competitors had to rely on improvisation, a strength for the veteran Urban.

Urban lives in Buena Vista, Colo., on the Arkansas River, and works as the director of marketing for South Main, a New Urbanist community adjacent to a whitewater park. In July, he will compete at the U.S. national team trials in Missoula, Mont., in hopes of earning a trip to the 2011 World Championships in Germany.

(Photos courtesy Dustin Urban ’07)

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