Freestyle in the Autumn Sunshine
Freestyle in the Autumn Sunshine
A weekend with no kids and no Laura, I found myself at a loose end and desperately wanting to paddle, unfortunately this was the weekend after the epic rains and it seemed everything had dried up. Then I got a message from a friend that his plans had also changed.. He had been booked on a development course which had been cancelled due to lack of water, so he and a few others were heading to Holme Pierrepoint to hit the National Whitewater Centre. The last time I was here was around May when I did a freestyle development day with Flowfree Coaching (Lowri Davies) and unfortunately I had not been in my playboat since, but it seemed like a good plan all the same.
Caffeine Part 1
I picked Chris up on the way and realised that we hadn’t paddled together for about a year! I really need to get more boat time!! We stopped at McDonalds for the traditional healthy pre-paddle breakfast and to stock up at Tesco with supplies for the day – ie, a big bottle of Coke! Now, I have recently given up caffeine and haven’t had any for over 2 months, but wanting to honour the age-old tradition and heeding the local folk lore about it staving off the dreaded Trent-Trots I duly stocked up, added to the 2 latte’s as the café didn’t do decaf I was set for the day.
Meeting the others and getting kitted up we were ready to go, after a quick warm up in the top pool we dropped into the inlet gate. I waited my turn and watched the others through first, I went last, dropped down backwards rode up the pile in perfect set-up position so committed to try a loop – nailed it, didn’t get much height or pop, but it came over straight and I was up, even if I did wash out the back I was very happy that the training day some months earlier had done the trick, I still had a loop!
Everyone had a great morning and got really stuck in, we tried playing in pretty much every wave on the course, some with more success than others. I landed loops in 3 of the features and was happily flat-spinning in most of the others, although I did steer away from the Muncher for most of the day. The only time I went near it didn’t go too well, I aimed to surf the wave just above it and lost an edge, over I went just in time to hit the muncher upside down, I knew where I was so no big deal until my paddles got snatched out of my hands, fortunately I managed to grab a blade as it went past my hands and worked my grip back to somewhere I could roll from. I was running out of breath so went for a less than ideal roll, but it was enough to gasp some air before ducking back under for a better set up, only my paddle slipped again but this time I held on with one hand so setting back up was easier, I managed to get up just in time to run the last drop of the course. Turning round I could see that Ryan was chasing me down in case he needed to boat chase, luckily that was not needed but I was grateful all the same.
This seemed like an opportune time to take a break and grab some lunch. Earlier on in the day we had realised that Bren Orton was also paddling and throwing some shapes on the waves, he had also coincidentally chosen that time to hit the café. I took the opportunity to say “Hi” and have a brief chat, I’m also ashamed (not really) to say I behaved like a complete star-struck fan and asked for a picture with him! Luckily for me he happily obliged, what a super-cool guy, he was very down to earth and clearly loves his paddling – look out for his upcoming roadshows, coming to a paddle spot near you – Bren’s Park Jam 2018 and if you’re not entirely sure who Bren is, check out Send on YouTube.
After lunch I remembered that I had actually brought my camera along, so I took the opportunity to get a bit of footage of the group doing their thing. After a couple of runs Chris was getting pretty tired so I handed him the camera in the hope of getting some awesome footage of me (I am in no way doing anything awesome…) I downed an energy gel and hit the course for a final session. Check out the video below for the highlights of the footage from the day, which doesn’t do justice to what everyone was up to as it was late in the day and we were all getting tired, and apologies to those I didn’t get any clips of, I’ll try harder next time.
Caffeine Part 2
Getting changed and packing the car at the end of the day I realised that the energy gel I had earlier consumed contained 58mg of caffeine, added to the 2 lattes and the litre of Coke to a body that hadn’t seen caffeine for several weeks, I was buzzing – not sure if it was the awesome day, meeting Bren or all the caffeine (probably a combination of all 3) but I didn’t get a lot of sleep on Saturday night, not good as I was paddling again on Sunday… And did the Coke do it’s job? No it didn’t..!!
Huge thanks to Mike, Trevor, Maxine, John, James, Chris, Ryan, Tom and Bren for a great day out, see you all on the water again soon.