Firstly, i must apologise for how late this post is – i’ve struggled to find time to update in the past six weeks which I would probably say is a good thing!
My summer really started when i flew out to Plattling for the world championships in June. I left on the 15th to allow for some practice time on the wave. The Isarwelle is a very changeable spot and its really level dependant, its situated just outside the nice little Bavarian town of Plattling. I arrived at night and jumped straight on for a floodlit session, the level was pretty low but that was about to change! After a few rainy nights of camping, the wave had risen to the optimum level (180 to 190) just in time for the official nation training slots. Two minutes of wave time per paddler is given to a nation for them to use how they please, the GB team is the largest so we had the longest time slot. The coaches made good use of this time with a blend of move practice and timed competition rides.
Prelims day came sooner than expected for most when the schedule was changed because of the weather upstream. It was feared by the organisers that too much rain could flood the campsite; the field floods at 250 and the level by then was 225! The prelims was tense. There were seven heats of five people and the format was two rides, both count. My runs didn’t go quite to plan but I managed to qualify in 8th position.
The qualifying ten from this round would go on to compete at the semifinals two days later. This round was allot better for me, I prepared well and my runs were near exactly what I planned to do. After the two heats of semi-finalists, the results came out and I was through to the final in 3rd place.
The finals was unfortunately a repeat of the prelims for me! I was feeling good but when I dropped in and went for my first move I hit the bottom really hard. The level was lower than the previous days and I think I was too used to being able to plug deep! The majority of the moves in my ride involved digging the bow in deep so the hole being shallow wasn’t ideal, especially in a carbon boat. Despite this, I didn’t want to change the plan that I had already practiced so for my remaining two rides i chose to just be a bit more careful. This didn’t pay off either as I didn’t commit to what I was doing and I ended up 5th. I wasn’t disappointed with the position, just frustrated that my rides could have gone better. I wasn’t sad because i knew i had a great summers paddling ahead of me and i still have another world championships to come which i will practice hard for! The party was later that night and it was amazing, everyone was out enjoying their last night in Plattling and it went on until about 4 o’clock the next morning! The worlds was definitely an amazing experience for me and it was brilliant to meet new people from the different countries teams.
I drove home with my dad in the morning and went straight to Nottingham for two weeks the next day, then it was to Boulters weir for the third youth freestyle this year. That went very well for me and my club, I got a first and Sudbury canoe club also got a first and second in a different category. After the competition I went back to Nottingham for a few days before i left for the Alps.
I flew out to Switzerland on a Wednesday, stayed the night and met up with Georgina Preston, Liam Pallet and Richard Chrimes before driving out to Briancon where we camped for a few nights. On the first day we went kayaking on the L’Argentiere slalom course and canyoning in the Fournel gorge which was was really fun.On the second day we paddled the river next to the campsite again which is actually a stretch of the Durance. Later we decided to head south because of the predicted bad weather so we set off to Frejus, near Nice.
The weather there was much better and we made the most of the sun, sea and sand. On the 19th, it was my birthday and we went out for a nice meal at the seaside then went go-karting which was an awesome end to the day.
The weather in the Alps cleared up later in the week so we headed back there for the last days of our holiday. On Friday we went climbing up the Via Ferrata in Briancon and then straight to the Rab wave which i really enjoyed! The day after was our last day and it was well spent paddling the waterfalls on the Fournel. The drop is basically a really friendly weir of about 3.5 metres which you can cartwheel and spin off. It was loads of fun but after going round and round we had to leave to pack up camp. The drive home was long but we done it in one hit and i was home by 8 O’clock yesterday morning. Big thanks to Matt Chadder!
By twelve the same day, I was down at my local club for the summer barbecue, it was really nice to catch up with everyone I hadn’t seen for a while and we went paddling on the flatwater. All in all, a great summer so far and I’m really enjoying the holiday!
At the moment I’m at home for a few days but I’ll be back in Nottingham shortly. Photos of the Alps are to follow!