Nick Troutman
Credit: Dane Jackson

Learn more about this young up-and-coming freestyler

Beachburg, Ontario // Age: 23

Ask Nick Troutman what he’s looking forward to in his career, and he’ll say seal-launching his kayak into a glacier-fed, granite gorge in Austria where class V and VI rapids—as bad as whitewater gets—drop down a 10 per cent gradient. October’s Adidas Sickline creek race will be the next big test for this former world-champion freestyler who proved his versatility at this year’s Whitewater Grand Prix. Troutman placed fourth at the Quebec competition that combined creeking, racing and freestyle events.

Troutman grew up just out of earshot of the Ottawa River’s famed rapids, but now spends equal time in Tennessee since marrying into what could be called the first family of kayaking. When Troutman was crowned freestyle king in 2009, his new wife Emily Jackson, father-in-law Eric and brother-in-law Dane all climbed the podium as well. Four-time freestyle world champion Eric Jackson describes Troutman as a total package, the kind of athlete who remains a force long after his peers have drifted downriver. “There are a lot of wave snobs out there, boaters who won’t go out unless the water level is just right. Nick can find something to work on or have fun with at any level,” says Jackson. “The paddlers who last in this sport are the ones who enjoy it all.”

This profile is part of our Top 30 under 30 feature.