At the beginning of the month, the UK freestyle community descended on HPP, Nottingham for the British and Club Championships- one of the best weekends of competition in the UK.

Saturday is Club Championships which means lots of fun events including Big Trick contest, Cartwheel competition, Extreme Slalom (Slalom paddling but with hanging buoys to hit, waves to surf etc.) and BoaterX. Whilst these are all fun events, there is always an element of friendly competition to them and everything being timed or scored and prizes awarded afterwards. Big Trick and Cartwheel Comp were held on jaws and points were awarded for how impressive your best move was or how many consecutive ends you could achieve. Unfortunately my big trick ride didn’t quite go to plan and I ended up flushing and scoring absolutely nothing! My luck did improve later on when I managed to time my stern stall right and touch the dangling buoy with my boat, giving me the second fastest time of the day.

After a group barbeque to catch up with everyone on Saturday evening, it was time for British Championships. This event was held on the Muncher- a wavey hole half way down the course which allowed both wave and hole moves to be performed. Heats were done throughout the morning then mid-afternoon was finals for the men and junior men.

The Muncher is such a fast and dynamic feature that performing moves consistently was a big ask. To make things worse, a flush could mean washing down the course and losing the remaining time in your ride due to poor eddy access. I knew this from training, so was opting for a more cautious approach and trying to get some decent points on the board before going for my riskier moves.
My prelim rides were a mixed bag, with a few decent tricks scored but never managing to organise myself to perform this all in the same ride- some element of my ride always seemed to fail. This seemed to be the case for lots of the other juniors though, so I managed to get through to finals in 3rd position.

Finals were going to run straight after heats were complete, so there wasn’t much waiting around before it was time to get warmed up and ready again. My first ride was a disaster- and early flush followed by a couple of missed moves. Oh well, two more rides to go and only one counts.  This was followed by some great rides by Harry Price and Hugo Scott. The leader board was announced and I was in last place.

My second ride came and everything seemed to come together. I nailed my entire ride without missing or flushing anything.  This was in part down to the positive mentality I had gained by having a laugh with friends in the line up just before my ride. Because of this, I was relaxed throughout and able to perform well. The scores were announced and I had moved to first place. Although I didn’t manage another ride like this, I was lucky enough to maintain my first position.

Thanks GB freestyle, Squarerock and all the other sponsors for a great event!
By Jake Norman