The Hurley Classic has been running for 24 years now, it’s one of freestyle’s most iconic events held in europe and best of all it’s held on a feature worthy of it’s reputation.
Hurley itself is a dynamic wave/ hole where all moves are possible, not always that easy to land but spectacular definitely. Jacko the event organiser has put a lot of work in this last few years to grow the event getting more and more top paddlers from around the World to come over and see if they can steal the classic crown from the locals!
This time Jacko excelled himself with nearly all of europe’s top paddlers coming over and even Stephen Wright from America.
The main idea is to unite the Uk paddling community with the rest of the ww community from around the World for an exciting, fun end of season showdown on an exciting feature to see who can provide the best spectacle.
This year we had quite a few events going on such as the Saturday GB team selection & night time super final, the epic boatercross, the Palm pin up photo contest and of course the main event the Classic on the Sunday. Jacko even threw a delicious banquet in the massive heated tent by the wave for all the competitors!
The saturday was for most people a warm up comp for the Sunday classic, but for the few who are trying to make the team to compete at the Europeans it was serious 😉 Because it’s a selection event for a hole contest, we were restricted during the heats to only use the hole gate which made for a very very tricky contest.
Best of the Brits was Palm/ Gb’s Alan Ward who battled his way to 3rd place in an extremely tough final showing the best of what the Thames Valley can produce. 2nd went to my Dagger team mate Tomasz Czaplicki and 1st with incredible rides was the french powerhouse Sebastian Devred with a incredible last ride !
In the women’s frances slalom superstar Nouria Newman won the super-final showing amazing adaptability and Palm’s Katya came in 4th.
Full Results from the Selection (but not the super final) – http://gbfreestylekayak.com/etive/?p=440
This years boatercross was amped up a notch with an even bigger & steeper launch ramp followed by paddling around a marked out course across the flow of the wave whilst Rob Harris shot at you with a water canon then back again around the other buoy before a sprint to the finish all the while the two kayakers in body armour called “8 Ballers” tried to stop you in your tracks.
In the men’s Palm’s Alan Ward added another great performance to steal the win ahead of Austria’s Marcel Bloder and Slovakia’s Peter Csonka after 5 gruelling rounds.
In the women’s there were no surprises as France’s Nouria Newman easily sailed to victory! ahead of Palm’s Anne Hübner, & Gb’s Paula Volkmer (not 100% on the womens 2nd & 3rd, so please correct me if i’m wrong.)
In the classic you get 20 minutes with 10 people getting as many rides as they can. The aim is to do as many different moves as possible. The top 5 go though to a final with the full 3 gates open (it was on 2 for the rest of the weekend) to get 3 45 second rides with your best one counting to decide the winner.
GB’s top performers were Palm’s star performer Alan Ward who just missed the final in 6th followed by Doug Cooper and Palm’s Bren Orton.
For the super-final the lock keeper opened up the weir to give us a perfect retentive 3 gates which let us really see what some of the World’s best could do. It was very close as everyone had amazing rides but in the end Stephen Wright of the USA took the win with moves i’ve never seen stuck before on Hurley (pistol flips on demand), 2nd went to Spain’s Euro champ Quim Fontane Maso and 3rd to Frances Mathieu Dumoulin.
In the women’s GB’s Claire O’hara had the ride of her life to take the win ahead of Slovakia’s NIna Csonkova in 2nd and Frances Marlene Devillez in 3rd.
All info/ Photos: https://www.facebook.com/SasHurleyClassic?fref=ts
A big thank you must go to Jacko and all the volunteers who organised and ran the event, it was a true showcase of the top of our sport uniting all ages, sexes and abilities in a common love of kayaking! It was amazing having so much talent come over to the UK just for one event and I think everyone left feeling that it was a fun trip. Next year is the 25th edition so it’ll be a big one so you’d better get preparing for it 😉
Palm’s Anne Hübner gives us her thoughts on the Classic:
It was my first time going to England for a kayak event. Usually before a kayak trip everybody is jealous but not this time. I got told about the bad and cold weather I will find in the UK and so on. And finally everybody was right – the weather during the event was cold and grey and the wave was only on two gates which wasn’t my favourite. Anyway, friday offered a beautiful sunny autumn-day and I got an awesome session on friday on three gates which was already worth to fly over. Great to see so much enthusiasm for Freestyle Kayaking in the UK and thanks to everybody who helped to make the Hurley Classic such a great event!”
A few words from Local hero, Palm’s Alan Ward:
The SAS Hurley Classic was an incredible event with competitors coming from all over the world to invade a quiet and unsuspecting rural village in Berkshire at the weekend. Every year the organisers (Jacko and friends) step the competition up a notch, which included an incredible 8 ball boaterX competition, a huge heated marquee and the biggest banquet to date.
Most of the top ten men and women in the world competed over the weekend for the coveted title of SAS Hurley Classic Champion and the show did not disappoint with two floodlit finals and breathtaking heats all weekend on a variety of different gate set ups.
It’s one of the oldest competitions in freestyle kayaking and next year celebrates its 25th year, so with our help may the SAS Hurley Classic grow and grow!
Many thanks to Jacko and the team,
See you next year,
See if you can find yourself in our photo dump below 😉