With so little rain, its a surprise I have been able to do any paddling at all! Luckily, for my sanity, I have been able to do a low level upper dart run and also some freestyleing!
The weekend of 10th/11th September saw a full-on weekend of freestyle and fun at the National Water Sports centre, Nottingham. The grand final of the ever popular Youth Freestyle series was held on the Saturday and the highlight of the GB Freestyle calendar, the Club Championships, was held on Sunday.
The Nottingham YFS event has always been the most popular of the series and this one was no exception. It was bank to bank plastic, with a sprinkling of carbon as the paddling workshops got under way in the morning. This year, Mr Freestyle himself, the inimitable Eric “EJ” Jackson was on hand and on the water to give the youngsters some valuable advice. As usual all the kids got stuck into the competition and all had a great time, whether it be throwing paddle spins or Mc Nastys!
One highlight of the day was a bit of an old school comp... the cartwheelathon! James Benns set the bar at the start with a respectable 20 ends in second hole on the course. Matt Rodgers the junior cartwheel master, up next, set the bar even higher at around 25! After a few more people had their goes it was my turn. I dropped into the hole, span on the shoulder then threw down... 39 ends in total! An interesting dizzy paddle back to the eddy followed! EJ followed me next onto the hole. After a couple of attempts of around 15 ends you could see the competitive spirit in him... he didn’t want to give up and be beaten! A still impressive 36 ends was his best attempt. I thought victory was mine but just before time was up a determined Bren Orton managed to bust a massive 53 ends! Fair play!
For full results of the day and the series see the YFS website at www.youthfreestyle.co.uk.
As the YFS event wound down on Saturday evening, the Club Champs weekend got under way. This event combined the fourth GB Freestyle league event and a club contest with points awarded to club paddlers in a downriver race, an Ergo challenge and a series of novice, open and expert freestyle competitions. The clubs were going all out to win with a brand new Molan donated by Pyranha as first prize! With over 70 paddlers at the event, whom for many of which this was their first freestyle event, it was bound to be an exciting!
Friday night kicked off with the BoaterX... a race from the lake down to the bottom of the course, also having to paddle up the back channels. I think the picture sums it up well!
Great news was Sam and I were in the C2... me in front. With our extra man power we overtook everyone on the back channels. Sam and I were the first juniors across the line giving us the win... well when I say us, i mean mean me! Bev kindly awarded me first as I was in the front!
The Sunday was also filled with fun activities and competitions. After all the events were completed and the results calculated the scores were in. North Avon Canoe Club (my club) finished third, PaddlePlus second and a jubilant Sudbury Canoe Club in first place! All in all a hugely fun freestyle packed weekend! For more information visitwww.gbfreestylekayak.com
Now the freestyle competition season is its coming to the end. With some rain the Hurley Classic was supposed to be this weekend, unfortunatly this has to be rescedualed to March. As this was a GBR Selection and British Championship Leauge event the results stand from previous events.
I am pleased to say that this year in the British Championships I came 3rd! As this my last year in the juniors I am delighted I made the podium! As for the GBR team, once again I finished as squad but for the first time I also made the C1 squad! This is something I am hoping to do more of next year and hopefully push for world championship places!
I made a quick video of my GBR selection rides...
So whats going on in the next few weeks for me? I am coaching a few members of our club up at Nottingham next weekend, there is also a Ned Fechen trip in the diary. A river that I have always wanted to do!
See you on the water,
Posted by Josh Wedgwood
www.pgl.co.uk www.canoeandkayakstore.co.uk www.wavesport.com
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