This past weekend, we planned a trip to Nottingham White Water Centre, to coincide with the GB Freestyle AGM. Upon arriving, we were elated to see our favourite feature, inlet gate, had been restored to its former glory.

We spent a long time at first in inlet gate, having a fantastic time doing all the things we used to love doing in this feature… looping, mainly. It was pleasing to see the new Jackson Kayak Rockstar can loop even better and bigger than the 2014 edition!  The feature was more flushy than we remembered it, and we found it impossible to re-enter the feature from below, even with a tow up from Danny. This meant there was a lot of jumping in and out of boats, to get back to the top of the feature. With the less than ideal weather, and we relied on our Sandiline dry suits to keep us warm and comfortable.

After a few cycles of walking back up to the top of feature, we decided to make it more lively, by jumping off the ledge above inlet gate. Not only was this more fun, but it allowed us to paddle for more time, with a shorter walk!

After this, we finally decided to head downstream, to explore the rest of the course. We had some great fun with what we found, including a revived twin waves, and a new stopper, with a large foam pile to hold even the biggest boats. Seeing the blocks under the greenwater was a little disconcerting at first, especially when you accelerate down the foam pile towards them! Luckily though, they didn’t seem to affect the paddling at all, and no collisions were had! Nearly all the features had eddy service, allowing runs down the course to last longer, without having to hop out of the boat all the time at every flush!

Unfortunately, I was so excited about the new features, I forgot to eat and drink during this 3-hour period, and managed to fall of a pontoon at the bottom of the course with sheer tiredness… After a sandwich and some chocolate however, we were ready for the AGM, held in the main centre. It provided an introduction to committee work, and it was interesting to see how all the events and coordination occurs behind the scenes.

All in all, we can’t wait to go back this winter! For now, though, it is off to Hurley! Thanks to Danny for the lift and photos! 

By Hugh Mandelstam