"Tao is recognized as the world's premier
radical hair-boater (extreme kayaker)" -
Men's Journal


Tao Berman, 2002 Preworlds Freestyle Champion Interview
by whitewater

Tao Berman is not just a waterfall guru. He proved this by winning the 2002 Preworlds Freestyle Championships in Graz, Austria. We caught up with him right after the event to get a few exclusive words:

So what does it feel like to be Preworlds Champion?
It's a great feeling. The title of being preworlds champion isn't what makes it great. It's what it represents. All the days spent training in the middle of winter. The days I put on the river when it was dumping snow because I needed the workout. It's memories like those that make being the preworlds champion great.

How did you rate the hole?
The hole was great. It was big and sticky. EZ's, Gforces and about every other boat could get air loops, tricky woos, splits, super cleans, and many other moves.

Lots of people were disappointed because it was not a wave feature. How did you feel about this?
I have never been to a competition where competitors didn't complain for one reason or another. I personally thought the feature was great. The important thing is that all competitors compete on the same feature.

The organisation was pretty slick wasn't it?
The competition seemed to go really well.

Did the competition go as you planned?
Yes. I paddled at my best and consistently through out the four days of the competition.

Again the US dominated the event, do you see a real divide emerging?
I think that results are just a reflection of how hard we all train. In the US most of the athletes dedicate much of their time to training and it shows.

As a Dagger newbie, they must be pretty stoked with your win?
I would assume so. I think that they were happy because I was able to show what a great boat the G-force is.

You are famous for your extreme boating and now you are a freestyle star, what is next for Mr Berman?
This question is an interview within itself!

Will you be heading back to Graz to go for the top title next year?

Who would you like to thank?
I would like to thank everyone that I have spent the last year training with because they are definitely a part of my victory. People like Bechtel, Christian Knight, Jed Seldby, Jay Kinkaid, and many others. They helped push me every day I was out training and that's the help I needed to be able to win pre-worlds.