Inside the 2022 ICF Freestyle Worlds – Day 1, A Very British Summer
by Jack Ledwith
Every day during the 2022 ICF World Freestyle Championships, Irish paddler Jack Ledwith is sending us his view on what is going on in Nottingham (UK) where the worlds are taking place this year. Follow along each day as he recaps what they see from the river bank.
Today was the first day of the kayak freestyle world championships here in Nottingham and what a day it was. After weeks of amazing sunny weather here we finally got our first glimpse of the proper British summer with the rain thundering down all morning. Even though The rain was coming down heavy this didn’t deter all of the spectators and supporters that turned up today lining the banks with smiles and cheers for the competitors.
The day started off with our men’s and women’s squirt boat heats. This is where our competitors do their best to not only show off their best flat water freestyle skills to impress the judges but also do their best submarine impression and descend into the murky depths of the Trent. The crowd all huddled in under anything that would give them shelter from the rain and supported as the paddlers took their rides
The second event of the day marked one of the most significant events of the week with the first-ever women’s C1 competition at the world championships. It was amazing to see some of the world’s best female paddlers who mainly came from k1 to try their hand at something different. With some amazing rides came a few flushes but the paddlers kept their heads up and owned it keeping the stoke high. The German and Great Britain teams really flexing their muscles sharing the top five spots.
As the sun came out in the afternoon as did our OC1 class. I can only imagine a blessing for those paddlers who have to sit up to their waist and water for the majority of their rides. With only 11 paddlers and 10 places in semis, only one person gets knocked out of the heat so everyone was doing their best not to be that last person. Two of the top 5 spots were taken up by father-son duo Brian and Landon Miller whom I had a quick word as they got off the water.
The final event of the day was the junior k1 women who really put on a show for the electric crowd that had gathered filling the seating area overlooking the future. The standard of paddlers competing was something to behold with many of the competitors never paddling before on the world stage. As usual, the Irish made the most noise for their three junior women. The energy that the crowd produces really makes you thankful that events like this are back and we have the community that we do.
For more info on the 2022 Freestyle Worlds go to: https://britishcanoeingevents.org.uk/freestyle2022/
Women’s Kayak Squirt Prelims
Men’s Kayak Squirt Prelims
Women’s C1 Prelims
Men’s OC1 Prelims
Women K1 Junior Prelims