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Monday, February 17, 2014

Ennistymon Falls Race

Last weekend saw the second edition of the Jackson Kayak Irish Whitewater Race League take place on Ennistymon Falls in Co Clare. A short section right in the middle of town jam packed with drops slides and plenty of different lines makes it the perfect race venue. One again the rain obliged topping up the river level on Friday to give the perfect level come race day.  The first edition of the race saw a great turn out with paddlers from all over the country making the trip out west for a sunny day of racing.

The day started off with the time trial race with thirty paddlers going off at one minute intervals trying to find the fastest line through the falls and down the rapids. With a short course times were tight with only seconds separating most of the field. Colin Wong fresh from his second place finish in the Nile River Festival made a winning return taking first place by one second to Eoin Keyes in second place. Len Kelleher  had solid run to take third while I managed to take fourth spot just ahead of a tight pack of five paddlers tied for fifth place.

Susan Doyle took the win in the women's time trial  with Dervla McAuley a close second with the same result coming out of a closely fought boater x.

Next up was the Men's boater X with heats of six racing down the falls. Four heats sprinted down the falls with the top two from each heat going through to the grand final. Colin Wong , Eoin keyes , Dave Holden, David Horkin, Brian Cahill, Mark Scanlon, Sean Cahill and I made up the final and after a false start all raced to the lip of the falls.  I had a clean start and broke away in second behind David Horkin with Colin Wong close behind. David was to quick on the rest of the course so I had to settle for second place with Colin holding on to third.

The day was rounded off with mass paddle down falls making an awesome spectacle for the locals out for a walk. Hopefully this race will become an annual installment on the race calender as it was one of the best race days to date.

Up next is Galway Fest in two weeks time and all is still to play for with the top prize of a Jackson Karma for the top unsponsored paddler along with sick line entries for the top three places in the League. Its great to see new faces turning up at every event and hopefully we might see a few new races popping up to.

Here's some gopro footage of the boater x final and more photos from the race below.

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