Monday, June 22, 2015

Go Pro Games Wrap Up - Crashes Galore

Go Pro Games freestyle finals

After an epic start to Go Pro Games freestyle competition with a 700 and 800 point ride (in prelims) things didn't go as well for my semi finals and finals round. Determined to stick to my routine of big moves that had worked so well in prelims, rather than switching and playing it safe with more conventional smaller safer trick ride. 

Flying high with another massive McNasty
(photo by Phillip Robert)

Landing a massive loop
(photo by Phillip Robert)

I almost made it during my second ride in finals hitting two huge Mcnastys and a huge loop but it turned out that I had thrown both Mcnastys the same direction. Meaning big cheers from the crowds but a pretty low score.Luckily the other girls managed to put on a good show. Emily laid down some awesome rides with non stop complex and well executed tricks including Mcnastys, phoenix monkeys and tricky woos. Nikki Beeby got some huge space godzillas and loops and Junior world champ Rowan Stuart made the step up to the senior podium keeping her calm under pressure. I never quite got into my flow and for the first time in a long time didn't make the podium finishing fourth overall. I guess I can't win every time  

Emily loads up to finish a Phoenix Monkey
(photo by Phillip Robert)

The 2015 Go Pro Games Womens Podium (plus Tucker)

In the men's as always the standard was insane. Dane flew high ride after ride putting down accurate precise sequences of big tricks. Matthieu went full speed with combos and links but it was Junior World Champion Hunter Katich who opened up each ride with a massive roar from the other athletes, judges and the crowd as he Sequenced a massive entry move to Mcnasty to Phoenix monkey combo every ride. Giving him a massive score in just the first 5 seconds of his ride. But the young ripper just couldn't keep up the pace through the rest of his routine and in the end it was Dane Jackson who once again took the title. Winning his second Golden Gerber axe of the event after already taking home the win in the step creek race.

Hunter Katich leads into his crazy entry combo
(photo by Phillip Robert)

Mathieu cleans a massive Air Loop
(photo by Phillip Robert)

Dane Jackson making it all look to easy
(photo by Phillip Robert)
8 Ball time...

Next up was the 8 ball and what an event. A high impact full contact boater cross race. Round after round athletes entered the gauntlet, several at a time, in a battle to be first paddlers to pass under the main Vail bridge to secure their place in the next round. Unlike most boater X races, the 8 ball has a hidden challenge 8 ballers. Highly skilled paddlers in big boats situated the whole way along the race course waiting ready to take out, block and stop the racers paddling down towards the finish line. 

One of the best spectator paddle sport events
(Photo by Phillip Robert)

A combination of lots of racers, 8 ballers and a powered up hole meant there was carnage galore. Most racers wearing full face helmets and body armour to protect themselves. I made the finals and after an epic wipeout carnage session in the hole, with fellow paddlers Nouria Neuman (1st place) and Myr (3rd), was happy to cross the finish line in 2nd place. In the men's Greg Parker took the win. Beating some epic big name boaters including Dane Jackson and Rafa Ortiz. In this game being a big name doesn't always help as you will often be targeted by the super hyped up 8 balls, excited to make 'the' big hit on the Pro. It also often doesn't help to be the fastest either as if your out in front you tend to get hit first and hard. 

Dane takes a big hit from behind
(photo by Phillip Robert)

Ultimately it comes down to a bit of skill and a lot of luck. It's all about surviving the gauntlet and making it through first to the finish line.

Sometimes the finish line feels so far away.

I'm in the green boat with the red full face helmet

 racing against May who's in the red boat and green helmet 
with her hand on my boat and Nouria who's also in the hole
 in the Red boat and Red Bull helmet!!! 

Ultimate 8 Ball Carnage

(Photo by Shane Faulkner)
Check out the last 15 seconds of this video in this link below to see the incredible 8 ball finals carnage. I'm in the green JK Zen with the red full face sweet helmet.

Over the weekend The Go Pro Mountain Games number one fan and 2015 Ultimate Mountain Kid Campbell Faulkner sat in prime position down on the water edge for the whole event cheering us all on and capturing some epic photos of the hits and crashes. Check out his photo below.

Another look at the epic carnage in the Womens 8 ball final
(photo by Campbell Faulkner)

Monday, June 08, 2015

This is Squirt Boating - Part 2

Its time for the second round of the 'This is Squirt Boating' videos. This time we are looking at three  of the most advanced moves.

The Tricky Woo

The Woo Tricky

and The One Armed Bandit

Although these moves are being done in a squirt boat the same concepts and movements apply in a freestyle kayak.

Enjoy watching and learning these super fun but very complex moves.

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!