Freestyle World Championships
by Elaine Campbell
The World Championships on the Ottawa River in Canada has been over for a few weeks now. I would of wrote something sooner but I wasn’t ready to write anything. This was a vey different Worlds for me since I was only on the Squirt Team. I competed in 2009 and 2013 on both squirt and kayak. I was bummed a bit about not being able to compete in surface boating but it was nice to have no stress and just go squirt boating.
The squirt competition was held at Smoothy a world class mystery spot. The past few World Championships have not had a good mystery spot so this was really going to show what squirt boating was all about. This was an ICF event so you have to wear a pfd so it made mystery moves a little bit harder. Training sessions start a week before the competition. I felt like my sessions went well and learned a lot from Stephen, Clay and Jeremy who are all really good with getting down time. The USA sessions went well and it was great to have Anna and Risa on the team. We had a lot of laughs during practice. I focused more on getting my mystery moves to work consistently. I worked on my flat water tricks all winter long at pool sessions so I felt good to go. I probably should of learnt some new tricks this summer but I was obsessed with getting mystery moves.
Opening ceremonies finally came and it was probably the best one I’ve been a part of and I’ve been to 5 World Championships (competed in 3 freestyle,1 wildwater, and judged 1 freestyle). The town of Beachburg put on an awesome parade and a great show with singing and dancing. The fair grounds had food vendors and one had beaver tails and ice cream! The parade was a few miles long and Jeff who is the best husband in the world knew I’d be hungry so he brought me a huge ice cream which was devoured by me and the entire US Team! After the opening ceremony was over I ran over to the beaver tail stand and finally had my first beaver tail! It was better than any funnel cake I have ever had. I will never eat another funnel cake again! I love you beaver tails and your fried crispy deliciousness of cinnamon and sugar! I also destroyed some poutine and drank lot’s of delicious beer from the Whitewater Brewery. Currently, I’m in the process of working off beaver tails, poutine and beer from my trip.
The World Championships started with squirt at Smoothy. You can only get to Smoothy by boat or a long swim. Wilderness Tours shuttled people with motor boats to watch the event. They also brought a large grill to feed competitors and spectators on the island. It was really impressive with how much work was involved in making the squirt comp world class.
I was the first competitor of the 2015 Freestyle World Championships! I’ve gone first before and never had a problem but I felt a bit anxious since it was Worlds and I didn’t want to embarrass myself for beatering on the eddy line. How a squirt competition works is your time starts when you start your first move and you get a minute. I started every ride with going for my mystery first then flat water ticks. I took a couple of deep breaths did my silly routine and then went. I missed my first mystery but sprinted back up and hit it on my next one. It wasn’t very long like 2 seconds but I got it and went for my flat water tricks. I was a bit slow on them but new I had another ride and the scores were combined in prelims. Jeremy was there to coach me with my rides which was a huge help. Thanks dog! My next ride went well and I was feeling pretty good. I knew I could of scored higher but was a bit slow on my tricks. Luckily, I made it into semi-finals in 8th so I could give it another go. Semi’s you have two rides and one counts. I had a really good mystery like 5 or 6 seconds and hit all my flat water tricks and scored a 560 in one of my rides. I was psyched with that! I came in the 8th place and was extremely happy with my results. The only way I could of scored higher is if my mystery was longer. The women really stepped it up this Worlds especially with mystery moves. It was great to be a part of a very competitive field of women. The results from the squirt comp was Claire O’hara (GBR) 1st and was proposed to right after by Jezz! Hitomi (JPN) took 2nd and Motoko (JPN) came in 3rd.
The men’s class was awesome to watch. Lot’s of long down times especially by Clay and Stephen. The results for the men were Stephen (USA) 1st, Clay (USA) 2nd, and Ben (GBR) 3rd.
We had a great time and who knows if I’ll go to another Worlds but I’m pretty lucky to have gone to this one.
Team USA with awesome pants!
Photo: Jeff Campbell
Photo: Jeff Campbell
Jessie and me.
Getting some down time during practice.
Working the flat water during my ride.
Photo: Philip Robert
Happy with my rides.
Photo: Philip Robert
Till next time,