14 days to go – Lead up to the 2013 World Champs!


It’s now just 14 days away until the 2013 Freestyle Kayak World Championships kicks off in Nantahala, USA.

We’ve been at NOC the rafting base/ comp site for the last week now and it’s good to see all the faces old & new showing up and getting the hang of the hole.

It’s like a rainforest here, it’s rained consistently everyday! The upside is that it’s quite warm and the area is lush with forests so it’s very scenic all around us but it does make it hard to get our new thermals dry 😉





The hole is quite tricky for some moves, but everything goes and because of the challenging nature it’s fun trying to figure out all your moves here.

It feels quite fresh and exciting this year, all the companies have new boats to show off and the number of paddlers ripping is higher than ever. It really feels like freestyle’s booming again.


Speaking of standard it’s quite impressive how much Women’s and even Junior women’s have come on in the last two years. It’s not unusual to see junior girls throwing Mc’nasties or Phonic’s and now it’s many senior women regularly throwing the big moves, I think there scores will be much closer to the men’s than we’ve ever seen. Even open canoeists are throwing mc’nasties and lunars!

In the men’s it’s going to be the battle royale, there are European Champions, WW GP winners, World Cup winners, multiple former World Champs and many new comers all fighting it out to get there best rides ready, it’s a very open competition so far, I predict the winning ride is going to be quite an insane ride & score.

Team Palm members that are here so far are myself, Katya & Bren. Personally I’m very happy with how I’m getting used to the hole, rides are going great but I still need to get some consistency in my Lunars & Tricky Whu’s to give me the extra jump up to stand a chance of winning but there is plenty of time for me to put the finishing touches to my ride. Bren fresh back from creeking all summer has got back into playboating without any struggle by the looks of it, he’s looking powerful as ever and has been getting some rides that could get him a medal already. Katya has had a great year of competition so far, and straight away has been doing rides that will let her go far, she’s just been working on getting her mc’nasty and phonics consistent which would give her a winning ride, she actually got one ride today that I don’t think is beatable 😉








So to wrap my blog up here are my current tips on who else is looking good:

Dane Jackson, it’s no surprise but he’s really throwing some very nice moves and rides and he’s almost certainly going to be on the podium.

Peter Csonka I haven’t seen too many full rides of him yet as I think he’s mostly getting all his moves dialled in but he won here last year and of the full comp rides I’ve seen him go for they’d be tough to beat, he’s also in my eyes the best competitior in freestyle, no one steps it up like he does under pressure.

For women’s – Claire O’Hara is looking strong, but not all of her main competition arrived yet, it’s also nice to see quite a few new girls coming up and paddling well. Japanese girls very impressed us with their progress from last year, some American girls like Adrienne learned new moves, and many strong paddlers from Europe. So I think in the women’s it will be a tough fight as well.

So back to training for us 😉 we’ll have an update up again soon as more faces arrive and team training’s get started, this would be the time to pick our favourites and let you know how we’re looking!



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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