Lienz Europeans Day 3 – Toughest Day

The day started with the Men’s K1 Quarter Finals, cutting the field to 10 with three 45-second rides, best 2 counting.

The water was dirty from yesterday night’s thunderstorms but the level seemed to be lower making the feature tougher and harder work to get the moves in.

In the Quarters, everyone was expecting higher scores as we had one ride to throw away but in the end it was lower scores than yesterday, with paddlers getting to grips with the harder level.

The GBR team did very good with all 3 making the top 10, GB’s James Weight in 1st. He is consistently performing on a top level this event. He is the only paddler managing to hit any combo/ trophy moves (the back loop to mcnasty).

I got 5th with mediocre rides 😉 I wasn’t quite happy with my paddling so went away to the nearby lake to pull myself together to bring out my best for the semi finals later.

It is a very hot beautiful sunny weather here, but this also means the paddlers are boiling in their gear in the waiting eddy (water is still quite cold here, so many wearing long cags despite the sun).

Women’s Semi Finals was next with a few surprises. The reigning World Champion GB’s Claire O’Hara unfortunately had a hard time with the lower level and finished 7th, missing the finals. Frenchie Marlene Devillez (reigning European Champion) looks like she’s going to keep her title this year with another 1st going into the finals. Palm’s Anne Huebner unfortunately also missed the final. What is good however is some new faces making the final, Norwegians Tora Heggem and Kari Olnes who just turned senior this year.

Then it was back on the water for me in the Men’s Semi Finals. Competing the second time in the same day in this hole was tough for all of us but actually the standard of rides did go up.

I finally got two rides I was happy with and came 1st with 930 points in my best ride. Just behind me by 14 points was reigning European Champion Peter Csonka, my most usual challenger who I very enjoy to paddle with and against.

He has been suffering quite a bad injury and almost didn’t practice at all in an effort to try and get healed up before the event. Through the pain however he is doing a very tough rides to beat.

3rd was Sebastian Devred from France with a very consistent rides as he usually does.

4th went to Spanish reigning Junior European Champion Joaquim Fontane. Who is performing in his first senior year at a very good level.

The last place in the finals went to GB’s James Weight who seemed to take a break from his high scoring domination to save himself for tomorrow 😉

I think it will be one of the hardest finals I’ve ever been in, with scores similar to Worlds so far but on a much harder feature. I’m looking forward to trying to bring out my best against such good competition 🙂


P.S. Results in the Gallery below (bit backwards order so check the corner to see whether its for Semi’s or Quarters…:-)

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About James Bebbington

2011 ICF World Freestyle Kayak Champion & 2011 ICF World Cup Freestyle Kayak Champion Passionate about Kayaking, Travel, Nature, Dreams, Raw Food & the Beauty of Life. Don't give up on your dreams, listen to your heart!
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