When I first started competing the ‘Hurley Rodeo’ was the UK’s biggest event, drawing in paddlers from all across Europe for an aerial frenzy on the Thames.
In recent years the event has been on a much lower scale, largely due to poor levels, but this year Jacko from KayakoJacko went all out to bring the festival feel back and turn it back into the booming event it once was. With the boom that’s going on in freestyle right now it seems perfect timing to relaunch the event in this manner.
Jacko definitely didn’t disappoint! We had perfect levels, good weather and over 120 paddlers attending including all the big names: Peter & Nina Csonka, Mathieu Dumoulin, Quim & Nuria Fontane, UK’s Bren Orton & myself and Katya. So we had World Champions, World Cup Champions, European Champions, Rider of the Year winners, National Champions & past Champions all gathered to do battle on one of the UK’s most iconic spots. Jacko had a treat lined up for us.
Palm also had all three sizes of the prototype Dagger Jitsu’s there for people to try and they really did seem to fly…
First up was the final of the British League event. Your best two out of three 45 second rides gave you your final score. I had some great rides getting KY’s, Loops, AirScrews and Panams and thought I might have the win but as it turned out I ended up in 3rd place behind local favourite Alan Ward in 2nd and World Cup winner Peter Csonka taking the win. In the ladies Emily wall took the British title with Nina Csonkova taking the overall Win.
Saturday afternoon gave us a steep ramp into the Boatercross, carnage ensued throughout but keeping the speed up and avoiding the crashes David Bain sprinted his way to the win.
Sunday was what the weekend was all about really, going big with our friends without the pressure of timed rides. It was a jam session format of 15 minutes and then a superfinals of ICF rules for the top 5. Unfortunately I was a bit too determined to get my KY and wasted too much time and finished way down the list but those who got the right tactic of going big but making sure to cram all their moves into their session came out on top.
Bren went huge in the prelims and got everyone raving when he got his place in the senior mens final (he’s still a Junior), UK Champion Sam Anderson made it too then we had Quim, Mathieu, and Peter all there. The finals were a great display of the various styles but eventually Peters consistency edged ahead of Mathieu’s fluidity to take the Win, with Quim in 3rd. In the womens Nina Csonkova took the win again with Flea in 2nd place.
Full Classic Results: https://www.thamescanoes.com/classic/results.xls
We had a great time! A big thanks to Jacko for putting it together!
p.s. Thanks to Núria Fontané Masó and Peter Issacs for the additional photos.