Sunday, June 13, 2010

Platting Freestyle Kayaking World Cup 2010... Cancelled due to rain!!!

Arriving back from the USA on Monday morning I picked up a brand new VW T5 fully logo’d and kitted out from the VW Van Centre West Yorkshire and set off to Europe for the World Cup and European Championships 2010. Loaded up for the full four weeks with a whole array of boating, camping and training kit we drove through night stopping in France to sleep in luxury and comfort in the van.

First stop for us was the World Cup event in Plattling, Germany. This year World Cup Series comprised of two events. Training in America meant that I missed the first event in Augsburg, Germany so we went straight to Plattling to join the mass of international paddlers for the second stage of the series.

Plattling is an awesome play spot situated on a river wide weir that creates a perfect hole at most levels. It has been the venue for a number of international events and in the summer of 2011 it will be host to the World Freestyle Kayaking Championships. Our plan was to compete in the World Cup event and at the same time suss out the venue and feature for the next year World Championship event.

Last week Germany had some of its heaviest rain in recent years. The rain had caused almost all of the rivers to go into flood conditions with some bursting their banks and causing chaos in a number of villages and towns. The rain brought amazing white water kayaking runs and some of Europe’s top play boating waves into play. Kayakers across Germany were loving this rare water opportunity, except for the World’s top 100+ competitive freestyle paddlers who were sat in a cafe in Plattling waiting for the river to drop so they could begin to train!'

We arrived late on Wednesday to a very grey and wet town. The river was high and the feature had turned from a hole to wave. We jumped on for a quick paddle and caught up with the rest of the British team. We found out the water we had just waded out through had, only a few days before, been the campsite and were shown the platform a foot or two underwater where the judges tent was supposed to have been.

It had been raining non-stop since Monday and most of the paddlers, who had travelled from as far away as Japan, Canada and the USA to compete had abandoned their tents and moved into hotels in the town to escape the rain. We paddled for a few hours enjoying the unexpected wave before setting up camp, at the new campsite a crowed muddy field set between the main road and the flood barrier banking, and heading into town for food.
The word was the rain would soon stop and the river would drop so we could begin to train.

We woke up Thursday morning to the sound of rain still banging on the roof of the van. The river was higher now, it was well up in the trees. The wave was no longer there, instead a raging torrent of water passed by us at rocket speed. The event schedule was revised and start dates changed. The event organisers stayed hopefully but as the rain continued the plan to start the competition the next morning became more of an unlikely dream. We all sat waiting watching the rain. Friday morning came and the river was higher still. Eventually at 7pm Friday evening the discission was made. The Plattling World Cup was to be cancelled.

This was disappointing but not that suprising news. We packed up and headed over to Augsberg for a quick paddle, whilst others hit the big flood waves. In Plattling the end of event party and prize giving event crowned Team GB’s James ‘Pringle’ Bebbington (Augsberg event winner) as the World Cup Winner 2010.