In Plattling the site of the 2011 Freestyle Kayak World Champs things are really hotting up, it’s exciting as its now days away from the beginning on nation training and not long till the events prelims kick off!
The levels have risen to almost perfect levels, paddlers from all over the world are flying in with many new boat designs from plastic and carbon and many of the main contenders are honing in their comp rides. Its a pretty fun time to be here. You can feel the anticipation around the camp ground as people come and check out what everyone’s throwing, what boat people are using, what moves are working and what aren’t and of course the downside of all the paddlers coming in….long eddy queues!
For myself I have spent quite a lot of time here already and have a good idea of what my ride will be whatever the level so i’m just choosing the times when the hole is quiet to get on and make sure all my moves are still going how i want and work on some of my harder tricks to see if i can get something extra special to pull out if i need it.
One of the really cool things about this event is how people are really stepping their paddling up to new levels, the Americans generally have been really focusing on linking the moves together as much as possible whereas the Europeans have been focusing on going big and super straight on the big moves and on various trophy moves and the more fluid linked sequences.
The women have also taken a big jump up in their paddling and the top competitiors are throwing many of the high scoring moves in their rides and i expect the top girls scores will place highly in the mens too. Katya’s been getting really good rides lately hitting big Fonix’s, Mc’nasties, loops and Godzilla’s and i think if she keeps her current surge going she stands a great chance.
I mentioned earlier how paddlers are pulling out all stops here to win with many paddlers having spent at least the last half year doing focused training for this event and also about the huge variety of boats been used here, i’ll go into that a bit more;-
We have the Jackson Rockstar and All Stars in both plastic and Carbon being used by the majority of the paddlers, many are saying the perfer the plastic over the carbon addition which is a bit puzzling to me but does seem to be reflected in their paddling. Watch out for Gerd from Spain and of course Ej, Dane, Nick & Emily along with Dustin Urban/ Stephen Wright to go well in this design.
Then their is the new Robson Carbon boat which was designed by Martin Koll mainly for this event and is really strong for Mc’nasties and Fonix’s and looks like it can go very well especially in low water. Many of the German team will use this boat.
And of course the Composite Guigui-Prod Easymix 2008 and the newer 2010 edition. I use the 2008 model and think that its the best design hands down for any hole feature as long as your the right build for it. For the smaller paddlers the 2010 edition looks like a good contendor with a few of the Spainish and french looking good in it.
The Vajda composite boats are also out in force here with Peter Csonka, Bartosz from Poland and Katya all looking good and standing a good chance to do well in them.
Then from Wavesport their is the Project X which is looking like a very hot design but only available in plastic. Look out for Bryan Kirk and Simon Strohemier in these.
Finally their are a few home made and adapted composite boats here such as Joey Hitchens own creation and Seppi Strohmeier’s cut up and adapted Carbon Wavesport CX.
Its going to be really interesting to see which styles and designs come out on top here at Worlds. there has been a huge amount of creativity and development put into freestyle for this one competition and huge step up in skill levels around the World and around the disciplines. I really think the Europeans stand a great chance to take away a lot of the medals at this event!!!
Anyways, here’s a few photos of what’s been going on, check back soon for more on whats going on as the event kicks off!
Wish me and Katya some good luck for the next couple weeks!