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2022 Freestyle Kayaking World Championships

Cover Photo. Dane crowd. Photo cred: @jled_photo

I am a little late on getting this blog done but the 2022 Freestyle Kayaking World Championships were held June 28th to July 2nd in Nottingham, England after being delayed due to Covid. The competition was hosted by HPP and held on a feature named Twin that was built specifically for this event. I found the feature to be a little challenging because it allowed all tricks to be thrown, it just took time to set up for each trick as you had to be in the correct spot or you would flush or spend time stuck in the eddy. Executing your ride according to plan was essential here to score as many tricks in 45 seconds.

The competition week was kicked off with the opening ceremony held at the Nottingham castle welcoming all the countries and athletes. There were some speeches followed by medieval fighting where knights fought each other using swords. This was neat to watch. After the ceremonies wrapped up, we grabbed drinks at “Ye Old Trip to Jerusalem” pub, the oldest pub established in 1189.

Picture 1. Team USA opening ceremonies. Photo credit: Peter Holcombe

Team USA opening ceremonies. Photo credit: Peter Holcombe

Team USA opening ceremonies. Photo credit: EJ’s iphone.

Team USA opening ceremonies. Photo credit: EJ’s iphone.

I competed in my first worlds ever. I have been training for this event for what seems like years due to the fact it kept getting moved because of Covid. I had no idea what to expect at an event like this but I had a blast. I got to spend 18 days in Nottingham, England kayaking and training up until the competition. As we got closer to the competition with more competitors showing up, the actual time we got to spend in the competition feature was limited. Each countries team also had a designated hour per day for 5 days in a row to practice. It was a hectic schedule, but it was epic training on a consistent whitewater feature. It was also really fun getting to paddle with old friends and make new friends. I enjoyed spending time in eddies talking to other paddlers from other countries.

Throwing a mcnasty in my ride.

Throwing a mcnasty in my ride.

On competition day, I competed in the last heat of the senior women’s prelims where the top 20 made the cut to go on to quarterfinals. The last heat gave me the opportunity to see how my competition staked up throughout the heats but also gave me the chance to cheer on my teammates and friends. I did not feel as nervous as I thought I would during the rides. I had a ride plan that I was practicing the entire time I was training in Nottingham, however, I had to throw the tricks that the feature gave me looks at…so sometimes the plan had to be varied. In my first ride I flushed on my mcnasty so it did not score. On my second ride I scored my offside mcnasty right out of the gate then hit a loop without the air bonus. I unfortunately got into the far eddy and let up a little bit and flushed pretty far down wasting a solid 20 seconds of my ride. I did not realize until after that ride I was 50 points away from making the top 20 and the cut to quarterfinals. Overall, I was stoked with my performance and happy with my rides. I also scored my first mcnasty in competition, so that was cool.

Clay Wright discussing my ride and how close I was to move onto the next round.

I am a very goal oriented person, but as I was training to compete in my first competition of this caliber, making really strict goals wasn’t ideal. The couple of goals I did make were not score a 0 and to score a mcnasty in competition which I successfully met these goals. Now that I have my first worlds competition under my belt I can reassess and set my goals for the future. I am aiming for top 20, along with some other goals in the works.

Olivia McGinnis, myself, and Clay Wright hanging out in our down time.

If you get a chance to go to Nottingham, England I would highly recommend checking out HPP whitewater park. There is so much to do there and the staff were amazing. There were several features to paddle on with water running every day. There was also a ton of great restaurants and spots to grab drinks.

Catch you on the water!