August 07, 2007

Summer Sunshine

After a depressing couple of weeks working everyday at one of my jobs in the restaurant at the National Water Sports Centre, I was relieved to get away from all the rain and head to some sunshine in the west of Spain.

After two days of driving, a lot of sweet eating and some uncomfortable sleeping, we arrived to find this. Not the most attractive playspot I've ever been to. Thankfully the water came up and the sun starting to shine. This was the site for the last Euro Cup event of this year's series.

Jon looping huge as usual (photo: Casper Van Kalmthout)

Joe Bradley on his way to first place

Me (photo: Casper Van Kalmthout)

The hole seem to prove to be hard work for most people. The levels varied over the week, sometimes making it good, sometimes not so good. I struggled quite a bit with the feature, only managing to nail loops a few times.

Me paddling in the women's finals (photo: Casper Van Kalmthout)

Rides were made up of, amongst many other moves, tricky-whus, mcnastys, and phonix monkeys. Great performances were seen from Peter Csonka scoring 1000 points in two rides in the prelims, the Dutch team, all placing in the finals, and Maria Lindgren getting some sweet entry moves in the women's event. All results can be found on

The finals saw the UK well represented, with Joe Bradley and Flic Meares winning the junior men's and junior women's respectively, myself coming second in the senior women's, and Jon Best finishing 4th and James 'Pringle' Bebbington 2nd in the senior men's.

Jon going for a McNasty (photo: Casper Van Kalmthout)

There was unfortunately a lot of politics surrounding this event, resulting in the paddlers having to get involved and some frantic meetings being held. Much of the infrastructure that is usually in place for any competition, was not there. Although we have the reassurance that it will be in place in time for next year's European Championships, it is difficult not to feel skeptical about this. We were also reassured there would be enough water for this year's event. However, on final days the running order showed the junior women's to be last and when it came their turn the water disappeared and the final cancelled, leaving some very upset paddlers and a bad taste in everyone's mouth. It was unclear as to why this had happened. The organisers claimed they had been running late due to having to hold semifinals and there being a couple of tie break situations to deal with. However, as many of the angry competitors and supporters pointed out, it was obvious they had an inclination that the water would run out because they had put the girls last. Their response being that the junior women didn't count, so it didn't matter. This maybe wasn't the best thing to say at the time. It was unfortunate that they couldn't even muster an apology and what had been a fun few days was tainted. Of course, rivers aren't usually under our control, but from my point of view, it was infuriating to know that we had sat in meetings and pointed out that with the new addition of semi finals the schedule should be reconsidered. There was plenty of water and time on the first day of competition and it seem totally unnecessary that the drama and disappointment of the second day had occurred.

Jon looping again (photo: Casper Van Kalmthout)

Junior women's winner, Flic Meares

Me again


(photo: Casper Van Kalmthout)

Ladies top 3
Lieke Servais (middle) and Maria Lindgren (right)

The next day, after a good post-event party, the Brits cruised over the coast of Portugal for some sun, sand and surf.

After four days hanging out at gorgeous beaches, getting burnt and hammered into the sand trying to body board, it was time to head home.




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