Hurley Classic Freestyle Kayaking report by Dale Mears

Posted on Friday 30th November, 2012

Hurley Classic Freestyle Kayaking Competition 2012

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This years SAS Hurley Classic was the 25th event at Hurley Weir, River Thames, UK. The event's roots started in 1989, making the event one of the oldest in Freestyle. The event has always been popular, former winners include: Shaun Baker, Simon Westgarth, Richard Chrimes, Casper Van Kalmthout, Ed smith, Alan ward, Gerd Serrasolses and the current World Champion James ‘Pringle’ Bebbington and females such as Deb Pinniger and Fiona Jarvie.

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My morning began with a trip to Tamworth, to pick up my good friend Charles Blyth. We carried on heading south discussing our aims for the day, it became apparent neither of us had paddled Hurley for a good 6 months, so we were a little apprehensive about how we would perform. We came to the conclusion that we weren't bothered either way, and it would be a great chance to hook up with some friends, have a laugh, take some photos and get out on the water.

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The event has always drawn competitors from all over Europe; this years line up included: Peter Csonka, Mathieu Dumoulin, Joaquim Fontane Maso and James ‘Pringle’ Bebbington fighting it out in the men’s; along with British National Champion Sam Anderson, locals Alan Ward and Doug Cooper. In the Women’s event, Nina Csonkova, Fiona Jarvie, Flic Meares, Nuria Fontane Maso and katya Kulkova all went head to head.

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The spirit of events at Hurley has always been about serious competition, running alongside fun activity. The day started with mixed heats in a 'jam session' format. The top 4 moves scored, and the top 5 competitors in each class progressed through to knock out final. There was also a river race, which started by descending a hugh wooden ramp into the river Thames.

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Organised by Kayako Jacko and his troops, the whole event was amazing! The river level was good with the weir running on 3 gates; this made for a steep, slightly flushy feature that was good for going big.

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I had a great time, and I was really inspired watching some of the worlds best paddlers' competing. I placed 22nd out of 40 in the freestyle competition, quite respectful considering those who placed above me, were either European or local paddlers who have been paddling at an elite level for many years.

The day ended with the top 5 competitors (seniors and juniors combined) competing head to head in the finals.

The results were as follows:

MENS: Peter Csonka Mathieu Dumoulin Joaquim Fontane Maso Sam Anderson Bren Orton

WOMENS: Nina Csonkova Fiona Jarvie Flic Meares Louise Wigmore Nuria Fontane Maso

Hope to see you all there next year :)

Dale Mears