Saturday, June 06, 2015

Go Pro Mountains Games

So the last few weeks have once again flown by and I now find myself at the Go Pro Games in Vail, Colorado in the USA. I arrived on Monday and quickly had to acclimatise to the 7,000+ft altitude and the gorgeous blue skies and sunshine. I didn't take long and within no time I was ready to get out on the water and start to train.

Claire O tucks for a loop
(photo by Phillip Robert)

The water out here is glacial, so freezing cold, but with my new Peak UK gear and skull cap and mitts I was set and ready to face the ice and take to the hole. Arriving here and having spent the last two weeks at Nottingham has reminded me how much I enjoy hole boating. Despite having spent the best part of the last 18 months surfing waves there is something very special and familiar about dropping back into and surfing a hole. Even an ever changing one like Vail (the snow melt fed glacial river changing height effecting the shape and size of the feature constantly throughout the day).

Claire O competing at the Go Pro Games
(photo by Phillip Robert)

So the new country, new feature, new altitude and new gear was not all that I had to be excited about on arriving to Vail. The 2016 Rock Star has just been released and I arrived to pick up not 1 but 2 brand new kayaks. The incrediable brand new Jackson Kayak 2016 Rock Star small and my shiny beautiful new custom 2014 Jackson Kayak Murky Water Composite Rock Star small plus (massive thank you to Kelly's White Water Park for sponsoring my composite boats this season). 2 new boats you might ask? Well I didn't know when I ordered my new composite boat that the new design would be ready in the small size so soon. The great thing now is I have my favourite perfectly sized 2014 composite boat to test along side the new 2016 Rock Star as I prepare for worlds.

Check out the awesome graphics on my new boat

Massive Thank You to Kelly White Water Park, Murky Water Kayaks,
 Jackson Kayak and Advanced Airbrush for the awesome new boat. 

So the new boats arrived during the week. My first the 2016 Rock Star, as I drove into Vail, and the second my new composite boat, as I started my heats of the competition. So the decision as to which one to use for this event was super easy, the new 2016 Rock Star and it flew.

In the heats, I just went all out for the fun big tricks and wow it went well. I may have only stuck 4/5 moves during each 1 minute ride as I was being careful to make sure they all were performed perfectly and scored and that they did. I accessed bonuses on every move. Sometimes air, sometimes air and huge and hit a personal best score. Finishing well in the clear in the lead and with a score that would have put me 3rd in the mens!!!! Insane. The new boat just flew.

Personal best combined rides high score (USACK rules)

Great to be cheered on by the
Go Pro Games Ultimate Mountain Kid Campbell
(middle front) and his family

Then the next day in the semis I tried to speed things up and increase the number of moves in my routine and I didn't go so well. I was a little tired and a bit to focused and never quite got into the flow. Emily Jackson however had a great day nailing some awesome routines in her new boat. So Emily took the lead and I finished not too far behind in 2nd place.

Flying high under the stop watch
(photo by Mackenzie Hanna)

Emily Cleaning her way into first place in the semis
(photo by Phillip Robert)

Now today we have finals and i'm feeling ready again. I feel the pressures of a little after yesterdays result so today I can just got out, have fun and go big again. I have had a pre competition hot tub (thank you Vail) and quick bite to eat and i'm about to go watch the Slack liners compete before a quick practice session and then finals this afternoon.

Pre competition hot tub... only in Vail!