Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Jimi Cup 2015

5 rides each... Whoever spends the most time underwater wins!

Jimi Cup 2015
Welcome to the Jimi Cup. This weekend a crew of paddlers came from around the world to take place in the annual Jimi Cup competition at the site of the 2015 ICF World Championships. A pure squirt boat mystery move competition, the Jimi Cup, is all about downtime. With each competitor getting 5 attempts at doing a mystery move and the paddler with the highest combined total of seconds under water taking the win.

A mystery move involves a paddler sinking their boat and body beneath the river and travelling underwater for as long as they can. In a mystery competition the time starts when the top of their helmet disappears and stops when it reappears again.

Claire O taking the last breathe before a drop
Squirt Boating is a super specialist but highly addictive form of whitewater kayaking. Done by an elite crew of highly skilled kayakers, around the world. Described by many as one of their favourite forms of whitewater kayaking and compared regularly to flying and scuba diving without a tank. This years Jimi Cup mystery event drew paddlers from all across Canada and the USA and as far a field as Japan, Norway, Sweden and the UK together to compete. Many of them National team paddlers training for the forthcoming ICF World Championship event.

Judges and spectators watch the action

Over the course of the day records were smashed and new standards were set. Andy Grizzell took home the trophy with a well desired win spending an insane total of 150 seconds underwater during his 5 rides. Not only setting a new Jimi Cup combined score record but also setting a new longest single ride scores hitting two rides at 34 seconds plus. Potentially maxing out limit of what is possible at this site!!! We will have to wait until next summer to find out.

Pre comp snacks
Jimi Cup champion Andy BDK Grizzell in the red PFD

In the ladies it was the biggest Jimi Cup class yet with 6 female competitors from 5 countries!!! 5 of whom got head under rides. Hitomi Takahu hitting her first 19 second ride in a competiton and Claire O'Hara hitting two 19 second rides to finish first in the ladies and 5th overall.

A fun international crew of ladies

The whole event was a great showcase of skill, determination and control as the paddlers worked the underwater currents and flows to keep their boats submerged deep below the Ottawa rivers surface. Fighting whirlpools, eddy lines, the main flow of the river and the natural urge to breathe. With a feisty hole marking the start of  a class 3+ rapid  it is a intimidating spot but with one of the smoothest drops it is well known as one of the worlds top spots.

The results are in

On top of all of this the day was made even better by the presence of whitewater legend and founder of the sport of squirt boating Jim Snyder (the event is named in his honour) who made the journey north from West Virginia (USA) to compete at the event. Jim spent the weekend helping coach and encourage all the paddlers as well as sharing the history and ethos of the sport and of course showing them all how it should be done. Interestingly every competitor competing was in a Jim Snyder designed boats.

Jim Snyder with the current World Champions
Claire O'Hara and Clay Wright

Then to finish the day off and make it all the more special at the end of the event many of the paddlers gave up their boats to allow some of the top freestyle kayakers from around the world who had come to support and watch the event the chance to jump in and have a go. It a very special thing to see someone experience a mystery move for the first time. Coming up to the surface after a head under ride beaming with a massive smile yet with a mix of emotions (fear, excitement and shock) across their face. Instantly addicted and wanting to get straight back in and give it another shot.

Bren Orton (UK) gets his first mystery rides

Here is a clip of one of my rides from the comp

If your wondering what we get up to heres an awesome video by Stephen Wright to show a bit more of what its like under the water during the ride.

This is Squirt Boating 'The Mystery Move'