May 22, 2007

PFAKS Washburn Challenge

After many years of serious effort and commitment, Pete Astles of PeakUK has decided to take a well earned break from organising events here in Britain. Thankfully, Jim Evans and his company AlpKit have stepped up and this past weekend saw the launch of the Plastic Fantastic AlpKit Kayak Series

The first event in the series was held on the Washburn River in Yorkshire. All of these event will have two main parts, a boater x and a freestyle competition. The boater X saw it's fair share of carnage with heat of 4 heading off in an 'America's Cup' style start. Each paddler had to negoiate a slalom pole half way down the course which mixed things up a bit and allowed opportunities for over taking. The expert men's class saw an interesting battle between Jon Best and James 'Pringle' Bebbington, who had made a bet where the loser had to race the final topless. However, both made it through after winning their heats so the final saw the two of them scrapping 'skin to win', except they were so busy fighting each other that they were over taken by the other two paddlers leaving them in 4th and 3rd respectively.

In the women's event, I won my heat putting me through to the expert women's final with Claire O'Hara and Molly Crisp. A good start put me in second place, but at the slalom gates, I slowed down and Molly over took. However, after sneaking across the start line before the buzzer, Claire, who had shot off in 1st place, had to touch the penalty board, putting her back in the third place. It was a good fight til the end, but I couldn't quite get past Molly, leaving her to take the win and me in 2nd. My best results in a river race so far!

The next day saw the freestyle competition take place in the 'broken weir', a small shallow hole where you hit the bottom, alot. Despite this, Pringle managed to pull phonix monkeys and loops from no where to take the win in Expert men's. In the expert women's, Molly was looking great for the win all weekend, however the final was knockout format and one not so good ride left her in third place. Leaving me and Claire to fight it out. Claire went first and couldn't quite get the moves she was looking for. I think this was the first time I really realised how much my time spent judging has helped me. I was able to figure out exactly what I needed to do and although it wasn't the most exciting ride, it was safe and I was able to win!

Overall the weekend was a great sucess, Jim did a fantastic job and thanks to everyone who helped out. Bring on the next event at Tryweryn in September!

For all the results check out

P.S. I'm currently trying to find some pictures, I'll post them as soon I as I do!




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