Treasure Valley teenager one of USA's best freestyle kayakers

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Freestyle kayaking was an exhibition sport at the London Olympics. The World Championships make their first appearance in the United States this September, and one Treasure Valley 16-year-old will represent the United States in that competition.

Alec Voorhees can handle the pressure. He navigated the Payette's treacherous North Fork at age 11.

"You can either be as mellow as you want or you can go as extreme as you want. With running waterfalls or surfing the biggest waves. I like the adrenaline of kayaking," said Alec Voorhees.

It shouldn't be any surprise that both Alec's parents are kayakers. Father Mike, is the Wavemaster at Boise's Whitewater Park," You know, we're just kind of leaving it up to him. You know, if he wants to go that route and train really hard, and make it happen, then we'll do what we can to help make it happen.

That's been the case. Alec left Rocky Mountain High School and is now going to school online. He's spent months on the road training, including some time five-time World Champion Eric Jackson.

"It just was a matter of getting time in the water, and people to watch, and some coaching. And he just had an exponential curve and learned a whole bunch of hard moves he couldn't do before," said Jackson.

"Definitely developed a lot of new moves, but I think the biggest thing that I learned with them was just how to be a competitor mentally. They just taught me how to have fun with it when you're working towards something that big," said Alec Voorhees.

A stronger mental approach came in handy immediately. The course at the trials was very different from what Voorhees had spent a month practicing on.

"I had to kind of adjust, and then I ended up taking second after prelims, and then third in semis and finals," said Alec Voorheeds.

Third of three paddlers, who will represent the US Junior Team.

"Yeah, I think with the right training, and situation from here out through the World Championships, he could potentially be the next World Champion," said Jackson.

"Maybe some people, just because it's freestyle kayaking, they won't really know that much about it. But for me, that's a pretty big deal," said Alec Voorhees.

The World Championships are this September in North Carolina.