This year’s competition was amazing, the format changed slightly with only 8 of the UK’s top paddlers, but 3 knock out style man on man races three times a day for three days! I don’t think any of us had realised quite how physically & mentally tough this format would be, but equally exciting & action packed for the audience & the paddlers involved.
I had an amazing first day, I placed 2nd, 1st & 1st across the three races. Everything just went perfectly, I felt strong, my turns were perfect, the sort of day you spend all season wishing for. I came out with the yellow jersey for the day, a great feeling.
Day 2 I was suffering from a slight shoulder injury & I struggled to get in the same mind set. I had a fall in my 2nd heat in the 2nd race which seeded me against John Hibbard (who was currently in 2nd place) in the first heat of the last race of the day, not good as John’s amazing at sprints and won last year. He took me out & it knocked back my points for the day.
After lots of physio from fellow teammate Ryan James I woke up feeling much better on the 3rd day ready to rock. The random draw seeded me against John again, perfect for Rich Morton who was now in second overall! Again John took me down, but I was determined to fight back. In the second race I came up against John racing for 3rd & 4th places. I took the win in the closest race of the whole event, I had to lie down for a bit after that one! In the last race of the final day we met again & again I managed to get another win & valuable points. In the end I managed 3rd place overall which was a great result, I couldn’t have paddled any harder that last day.
Hats off to Rich Morton who took the overall win & John Hibbard taking 2nd, both those guys are insanely good at sprint racing, super consistent, smooth turns. It was great to compete with these guys & all the other paddlers.
The races were won or lost on clean turns. Day 1 I just nailed every one, and managed to get back the right mind set for the final day. It’s important to not think too much, just go out there relaxed.
3rd Place (over 9 races/27 heats!)