You might have seen the videos of scores of paddlers floating down Holme Pierrepont on inflatables and wondered what was going on. The answer to that is the Dewerstone European Open! Euro Open is a freestyle focused event that happens at the end of August every summer in Nottingham. It is one of my favourite events and one that I highly encourage people to attend. Here is my recount of Euro Open 2023.
If you were in Nottingham at Holme Pierrepont white water course at the end of August, you might be wondering why every eddy and every feature seemed to be full of teenagers in playboats. The reason is because the GB Freestyle Academy Camp was happening! This was a camp aimed to improve and inspire young paddlers in freestyle kayaking and something I was lucky enough to be involved in. This article is here to tell you all about it – enjoy!
Everyone in kayaking knows of at least one kayaking family where paddling it is not just one person’s hobby but rather a way of life that the whole family follows. For me this family is the Macken family, consisting of parents Dean and Amanda and their daughters Niamh and Sophie. If you are thinking that the name Niamh Macken sounds familiar, Niamh is on the junior GB freestyle kayaking team. She is also the winner of a silver medal at the last world championships. Niamh alongside her sister and parents are good friends of mine.
In this article I would love to introduce you to the Mackens and an insight into their lives as a paddling family. They are a lovely, kind and generous family who are well respected in the paddling community. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting the Mackens, then I hope you will get to see a snippet of what wonderful people they are through my words.
In honour of International Women’s Day 2023, I want to showcase a massive development that has happened recently in the world of competitive paddling. This is the creation of a women’s C1 category in paddling competitions. Previously women have had to compete in an open category with men. This has happened in all disciplines of paddling but for the purpose of this article I am going to focus on the introduction of women’s C1 in freestyle kayaking.
I went for a run recently and started to reflect on the highs and lows of the year in terms of kayaking. Both for myself and for wider the kayaking community. I often take the time for reflection in this way around the new year. In recent years I have written a reflection blog to finish the year. This year I want to do it differently. In this blog I will not just be focusing on the highs of the year but also the lows, both for myself and for the wider kayaking community. I will be honest that you might find reading about the lows upsetting. I do not want to make anyone sad but I think it is important that they are acknowledged with the same gravitas as the highs.
Two weeks ago saw the opening ceremony for the 2022 freestyle kayaking world championships being held at Holme Pierrepont (HPP) in Nottingham, UK. Following the opening ceremony, there were 6 days of fierce competition, incredible performances and a whole lot of cheering!
As a local paddler to HPP, I was fortunate to be able to experience these world championships myself! I’ve never been to a kayaking competition on this scale before so was absolutely delighted to be able to attend a world championship in my home city of Nottingham! I am not an athlete or a coach instead I am just a very enthusiastic local who couldn’t believe she was lucky enough to experience a world championship right on her doorstep! This is my account.
Why do people take part in freestyle kayaking? Quite simply because it is fun. As the 2022 freestyle kayaking world championships are kicking off, there is a huge amount of excitement in the paddling world about freestyle kayaking right now. With such a strong focus on the championships and the talented athletes who are competing, it would be easy to forget that this is just one layer of the freestyle kayaking community. But freestyle kayaking is for everyone, no matter your ability. It is a sport for anyone who wants to have fun.
Prior to the start of the world championships, the International Canoe Federation (ICF) organise a development freestyle camp. This development camp is a fantastic 6-day camp aimed at developing aspiring freestyle paddlers. In this article, I want to share with you what happens during the development camp and why it is so important for the growth of freestyle kayaking in the wider community.
Recently I have completed a trilogy of articles around the upcoming freestyle kayaking world championships in Nottingham. I chose to write these articles to help raise awareness of what the freestyle kayaking worlds are, what the different categories are and the profiles of some of the junior GB athletes competing.
Following these articles, Alex McClure, who is an Irish squirt paddler, got in contact with me. She wanted to know whether I would be keen to do a piece about the Irish team. Of course, with the Irish team being such an awesome group of lovely people and phenomenal paddlers, I said yes! With Alex’s help, I’ve recruited a few of the Irish paddlers to let them tell you about their team!
With the freestyle kayaking world championships coming to Nottingham this June, I decided to write a trilogy of articles around freestyle. My first article was about the world championships themselves and all the details of how to get involved. My second article was explaining what the different disciplines are within freestyle – with some help from members of the senior GB freestyle team. But there is one group of individuals who I haven’t yet mentioned and they are the juniors. This article will provide a chance to get to know four members of the GB junior freestyle kayaking as they prepare to represent their country next month!
I recently wrote an article about the upcoming freestyle world championships to highlight what an exciting event that will soon be coming to Nottingham! Whilst this article was a great way to give people an overview of the event, I didn’t get the chance to go into detail about each of the different freestyle categories. With some help from a few well-known faces in kayaking, this article is going to do just that!