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
Product Review... Select Paddles W1.
As soon as I picked them up, the W1 paddles felt natural in my hands. The ergonomic shaft meant my wrists were comfortable and the shape allowed me to grip the paddle securely. Once on the water the blades were powerful with a smooth catch and release. The large surface area was great for anchoring me into eddies and gaining speed to punch through waves. This is also evident whilst playboating in holes as the paddles allowed me to pull through moves with extra snap making me go bigger! Overall I think these are a great set of blades, with fantastic build quality and even better… they come in a great range of colours and designs!
See you on the water!
Posted by Josh Wedgwood
I have just received the exciting news that Fire It Up, the importers of Select Paddles will be supporting me with my paddles. I will have several demo sets for people to try. I first used the blades at the Cardiff Paddlefest... thought they were absolutely great!
I have also just received shiny new kit from Nookie. I am joining their team of test paddlers so look out for me in my new Assassin Cag, Absolute Deck and Rivermonster BA!
Thank you to both of these companies for your support!
See you on the water,
Posted by Josh Wedgwood
The chance to try all things paddlesport! From the very latest boats, paddles and kit to something new like Stand-Up Paddle Boarding. The day proved to be yet another great day on the water at CIWW!
With a range of cumecs throughout the day, fun events and evening entertainment; over 150 paddlers descended on the artificial white water course on the 3rd September. There were over 15 different retailers including; Wavesport, Nookie and new paddle brand Fire it Up (to name a few) all at the event with demo boats, paddles and great advice. This was a great opportunity for people to have a go in something new or get the low down on the latest products. With no rafts on the course paddlers were allowed to have fun without the worry of getting flattened! Enjoyment was definitely had by all as the many smiles suggested. There was lots of action in the main freestyle hole but also loads of people enjoying themselves paddling round the course working on their skills.
The first event of the day was a favorite for many; the Duckie Demolition Derby! A carnage filled event due to the 20 duckie paddlers and an inflatable dinghy all piling down the course at once!
Following the Duckie Demolition Derby the next event of the day was the Palm 4x Challenge. Here two adults and one youth paddler join forces with a pro paddler from one of the exhibitors to race down the course as a team. The fastest team down the course wins. Prizes and bragging rights were on offer! The challenge of white water was made more difficult with tasks that had to be completed on the way down. Paddlers had to break into eddies and surf waves without losing too much time! Timing seemed to be the key here, the faster teams managed to avoid getting in each other’s way allowing all paddlers to get down the course as speedy as possible. I was competing for Team Wavesport as the pro paddler. Somehow all of our plans came together to produce the fastest run of the day!
Straight after the team challenge all the pro paddlers were entered for a head to head BoaterX race. With no rules, heats and semis to get through before the final there was plenty of carnage! Slalom poles were placed in the river that paddlers had to go round or get disqualified… as an extra challenge; duckies were ready to spring, popping decks and getting in the way! Any tactics went out the window as paddlers clashed paddles and bashed into each other fighting for position. Choosing the Wavesport Habitat was a good move for me as I had lots of speed to get a good start and avoid most of the chaos! Due to this I reached the final against; Pete Simon, Aaron Buckingham, Cheesy and Tom Parker. With 5 of us racing down the course there was even less space! I was third going down the first drop with Aaron and Tom in front. Due to duckie intervention I managed to pass Tom near the end and finish second! Cheesy, despite being a strong candidate for the win, boofed onto a duckie and quickly got sunk so finished last!
The final event of the day was the Paddlefest Raft Race. Lots of people got involved with this, creating teams of 6 to compete in time trail, slalom and endurance racing. Spectators enjoyed the sight of rafts chasing each other down the course while listening to the great live bands that were playing on stage… the party atmosphere continued well into the night!
The Cardiff International Paddlefest 2011 was a great event… a massive thanks must go to all the organizers and retails that turned up to support and make the day fun! Keep checking the CIWW website for information on next year’s event, if this time is anything to go by… it is not to be missed!
Posted by Josh Wedgwood
Rain is lashing the window... finally some water after this dry spell! Despite the low levels I have still been out on the water plenty of times over the last few weeks!
Last weekend was one of the Youth Freestyle events, held at Boulters Weir. With the Club Championship very looking very close we bought along lots of NACC paddlers to try and win the trophy again!
I had agreed with Jacko to run one of the morning coaching sessions, focusing on video analysis. With videos from the recent World Championships at my disposal and a few from morning practise I was well prepared. Video analysis is a key tool in my training but many paddlers still do not know the benefits video. I focused on looking at 4 key areas; boat, body, blade and brain. Much of the sessions focused on the brain element, more specifically, energy. We compared two different videos and I explained the 400% theory (100% into each element of the move as a whole). At the end of the sessions everyone was really motivated and I saw a great step up of energy in everyone's paddling afterwards!
After some quick practice time over lunch the competition started. I was the first competitor up and I got the ball rolling throwing orbits, fielixs and a variety of other moves. Both my rides went well and at the end of the day I finished 4th in the U18s!
I have been doing Work Experience at Rolls-Royce in Derby this week so on Thursday i managed to get a quick session on the water at HPP. I practiced my competition rides, worked on some new moves and combos including; tricky woos and front loop-loop combos!
This evening I am competing in one of the British Championship League events held at Cardiff... bit of flood light paddling! See you there!
Posted by Josh Wedgwood
www.pgl.co.uk www.canoeandkayakstore.co.uk www.wavesport.com
Want to read my old blog entries? Browse through an achive of all my posts below:
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