Saturday, 26 May 2007

World Champs

I have just got back from competing in the World Freestyle Championships in Ottawa, Canada. I was in the squirt boating contest and I got a bronze medal.
Before we went there were a lot of negative feelings, like the river being frozen, the threat of being beaten down by icebergs, and the levels being all wrong. On the contrary it was a great trip, the weather treated us well and the levels were fine. With a dry suit on it was relatively frost free and I was disappointed not to get hit by any icebergs!
I started off the trip by getting a squirt boat ‘float cut’ This is the highest level of customisation possible where you try the boat in two halves, taped together at the seams with duct tape. The builder then gets out a big saw and chops bits off until the desired level of comfort (enough) and floatiness (not much) is achieved, the stuff of dreams. Far out! At the end you have a boat that is perfect for you!
The competition was held on ‘Smoothie’ a world class mystery spot. I have seen squirters get 30 second rides there under good control. There was some controversy as one Japanese paddler entered in a cut down plastic boat. He was able to get an insanely high technical score by performing cartwheel type moves in the eddy at the expense of losing some of the mystery multiplier. After the heats he was in the lead and I was in second place. It caused some ructions amongst some of the more traditional thinkers in the squirt boating fraternity and will probably lead to the rules being changed with more weighting on the mystery move. It was with delight that Ben White (GBR) took the world title having performed a very timely long mystery move at the right point in the knock out final. I was delighted with my third place. (All photos courtesy of Pete Meares)

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