The weekend of March 15th and 16th saw the running of the Freestyle and Boatercross Training Weekend for the upcoming Club Championships event on April 12th and 13th.
On Saturday 15th we had glorious sunshine and a great turnout for the freestyle training day. Over 80 participants showed up to demo the I-CANOE freestyle boats and try freestyle kayaking for the first time. Water levels were high, but perfect for learning everything from the basics to the more advanced moves.
There were over 10 experienced freestyle paddlers to supervise the participants – some of whom had not only not ever paddled freestyle before, it was actually their first time ever in a kayak!
In the afternoon we split everyone into their relevant clubs and ran off a practise competition. Paddlers were scored on basic fun moves (waving at judges, blowing kisses and air-guitars) to proper freestyle moves (flat-spins, shuvits, enders, etc…). It was a close competition with some aggressive paddling and in the end the top 3 freestyling clubs were: 3rd Lacken, 2nd Kilkenny and 1st Sligo.
On Sunday we ran the boatercross training day which mostly consisted of a number of practise runs followed by a practise competition. The course consisted of 5 buoys laid out above, across and below the weir we had used the day before for the freestyle comp.
Racing was tight and very enjoyable both for participants and spectators. The course was technical enough to make it challenging for all competitors and ensured the most proficient, rather than the fastest paddler, had the greatest chance of winning.
Racing was unpredictable (as it should be) with often the last person over the weir being the eventual winner in the end. In most classes we ran preliminary heats, followed by semi-finals and then finals which meant by the end the eventual winners were very tired!
The overall winning clubs of the weekend (combined freestyle and boatercross) were: 3rd Kilcullen, 2nd Rockhoppers, 1st Sligo.
Well done to all the participants and volunteer instructors on making it great weekend.
See you on Sunday April 13th for the main event!