HURLEY CLASSIC AND BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS 2014
It is great to have the opportunity to paddle Hurley weir in any situation, let alone when it is the weekend of the 25th Hurley Classic and the British Championships. Combine this with the fact that over 200 paddlers from across the world including many of the big names of freestyle are competing and it certainly makes for an awesome weekend on the water.
A 5 o’clock start on Saturday morning meant that we were at Hurley and ready for the 8 o’clock ‘Younguns Paddle with the Stars’ briefing where we were all split into groups and assigned to two pro paddlers. The morning included coaching on the wave and the flat, SUPing and talks on boat outfitting, kit maintenance, video analysis, ear plugs and improving paddle strokes. The session on the wave was fantastic, as sessions always are with such a fast and awesome feature like the Hurley wave. Even when we were queueing in the eddie you could watch the insane moves being thrown by the pros and pick up tips and advice. I was mainly working on looping and roundhousing which went well.
That afternoon saw the resurfacing of some fab, old kayaking kit and many topolinos for the old skool competition followed by much longer boats for the Boater X race. Finally there was a floodlit showcase freestyle final where most people piled up onto the bridge to watch the amazing runs of the top paddlers before heading back down to the marquee for a banquet.
On Sunday morning the preliminary heats for the Hurley Classic began, which also counted towards the British championships. Seeing as I was in heat 17 out of 20 for K1 and then the last heat for squirt, I had most of the morning to cheer on competitors from the bridge. The level of freestyle on the wave was so high that even the weather (which was mainly wet and cold) couldn’t detract from the day. When my heat finally came I was excited to get back on the wave, try and perform some of the moves I’d practiced on the Saturday and have some fun. I started off spinning to make sure that I’d scored something before going for the loop in one of my later rides. My plug was good so I followed it with the loop! It wasn’t anywhere near as big as Jason Craig’s but I was happy with it!
Once my heat was over I had a fairly quick change of kit so I was ready for the squirt competition. It was dark by this point so we were squirt boating under the floodlights and despite the temperature, my shortie sandiline cag kept me warm enough! This competition was run in a jam session like for K1 and C1 and I was glad that I got all of the moves that I am capable of doing into my runs including my stern screws and switch wheels.
After a less-than-graceful exit from my squirt boat, I headed into the tent to get changed, completely oblivious of the fact that I had made the Hurley Classic ladies superfinal! Thanks to Quim, I had just enough time to speed change back into my wet kit and hop onto the water before the heat began. The atmosphere was amazing with the music, floodlights and commentary and although my rides weren’t as good as in the prelims, it was a great final to be a part of. Any competition where you are sharing an eddie with the likes of Nick Troutman, Mathieu Dumoulin and Steven Wright is a pretty awesome one!
Lastly it was time for everyone to pack into the marquee for the revealing of the results of all of the competitions. It started off with the British Championship results where it was announced that I had won it for junior ladies K1 and ladies squirt! Jacko then moved onto the Hurley Classic results where I had also won the junior ladies title closely followed by Sophie and Kim!