Since the last update, I had a few more days with? AUCC? – trying out our inflatables and coaching the beginners before the? paddling ban and? continued rain resulted in? them upping sticks and heading to Slovenia. It was a tearful fairwell; but I was cheered up by the sight of many other friends arriving and a day on a chunky Ubaye Racecourse with Simon Westgarth and a gang of local guides.
By Wednesday the ban had lifted, the sun was out and Tom had arrived It was time to don the lotion and get on the Sunshine Run.
Friday meant Slopejam – an invite-only event where competitors throw tricks and stunts in their kayaks? off drops and grind rails made of tree trunks? to impress the judges and wow the crowds. There had been some doubt over whether the event would go ahead with such high water levels, but we were blessed that the mountian stream dropped off quickly enough.
The whole thing was laid back and utter hilarious making it a lot of fun for all involved. I made it through to the finals against some of the World’s best male? boaters and? with the standard of competition being through the roof, I was really proud that my brother and I were sat alongside them for a two run final. I was also pretty happy to be one of the only competitors who didn’t at some point get nailed in a hole and/or swim! There was definitely a lot to entertain? the spectators! The standard was so high, with? Tim Trew throwing back hammers in a Dagger Green, Matt Tidy? throwing? effortless pan-ams and Jon Davies doing? some big donkey flips,? that a winner could not be decided! Instead,? all finalists were awarded “Victory Honey” presented by the Slopejam Honeys. Tasty.
Hammer time in practice
The top section of the Fournel. Photos:? Little Danny
When Saturday rolled around I provided a group of Bath Uni students with free FlowFree coaching on flatwater cartwheels followed by a FlowFree freestyle coaching session for other coaches. By 5.30pm over a hundred students had gathered at the slalom course in l’Argentiere for the 3rd Student Boater-x. There were five events: Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner students, the “Bloater x” (old boys / non-students) and the Inflatey-x. It included everything you’d ever want from such an event: free beer,? carnage,? controversy and inflatable mushrooms. I was proud again to be just behind the podium positioned guys and the first female by a fair margin in the Expert category. Who knows what I could have achieved if I’d not wettied out of “Skin to Win”?!
Dagger branded beer!
Dagger branded boys!
Lots of fantastic photos will filter the web and magazines soon – there were loads of expensive cameras being waved about – but I was too busy floating about to take any!
No student event would be complete without an ambulance and as the sunset? one arrived, showing? the results of? cheap beer and “vin dans une boîte”. After BBQs and Pizzas, it was time to gather round a bonfire and tell extravagant lies about the past few days of paddling; although with the amount of lost kit and hospital trips? in the last week, it was probably all true!
More updates to follow soon, to include carnage and dilemas of the highest order… stay tuned!