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Friday, September 5, 2014

Euros Wrap Up

The European Championships  finished up almost a week ago now, however this trip will not fade in the memory fast. A closely knit group coupled with the largest support group seen in years made this the most enjoyable competition to date. This year the team was made up of a lot of new faces with a strong presence of Galway boaters coupled with some great paddlers from Cork, Laois, Killkenny, Wicklow and Dublin. From the start there was a great atmosphere in the group as everyone videoed, coached & helped out in any way they could. That coupled with the perfect location to hold a competition that Cuvono is made the trip for everyone.

Prelims took place last Thursday with most of the Irish Men off in the early heats. Team training had been going well in the preceding days keeping confidence up and settling the nerves. David McClure was first up for the Irish in heat two putting together some good rides that would eventually leave him in 30th place. I was also up towards the end of heat two. Having been getting through most of my ride in previous days I dropped in feeling good. I managed to score some of my bigger moves to edge through to quarter finals in 17th place.

Aran Kilroy and Andrew Regan were up next in heat three. Some strict scoring left them a little further down the order then their rides deserved coming in at 33rd and 40th position. Shane Little was the last of the Irish Men having to wait until heat seven to put down his rides. Throwing down some big moves Shane was just short of the cut to quarters placing 24th.

Senior Women were up next with both Aisling's and Niamh paddling hard to get all they could into their 45 second rides. The progression that they all made during their training was clear to see with a bright future ahead for all. Aisling, Niamh & Aisling finished up in 22nd, 23rd & 24th position.

Junior men were the last to go on Thursday afternoon with Calvin O'Brien and Sean Cahill flying the flag for Ireland. The junior men's class was hotly contested with Max Karlsson breaking 1000 points for a single ride during the competition! Calvin and Sean put in solid rides to place in 26th & 28th Position.

Friday morning saw quarter finals kick off at 9am with some rowdy Irish support the envy of all nations. Going into quarter finals I felt better then the previous day with some pressure off having made it through a round. Having three rides with the best two counting allows a bit more leeway then prelims were everything counts. I was able to throw down some good moves improving my overall score and placing from prelims moving up one spot to 16th.

Friday evening saw the semi finals produce some of the best paddling ever seen with Peter Csonka laying down the highest scoring ride of all time. The ride was a none stop combo linking trophy moves to every other move to set Peter well apart from the rest of the field . Coming in to finals on Sunday there was little doubt in anyone's mind who was going to take top spot. Peter laid down 1500 points in his first ride to ensure he was crowned European Champion for a second time.

Next up is the World Championships on Garberator wave in Canada next summer. Its been over five years since the last ICF wave competition so there is sure to be a big shake up in the usual order of things. Team trials are less then two months away and with lots of old faces planning on making a return to action it could be a very different Irish Team that heads to Canada next year. Hopefully the rain will return soon so the rivers return to good flows to get some training in!

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