Jenny Flops-A-Lot: Confessions of a Squirtboater

Monday, April 30, 2007

Me getting ready for the comp
Photo: Jeremy Laucks

The squirt competition that was supposed to be on Thursday so I was excited to have 3 more days to train and learn some new moves before the competition. Due to unexpected water level issues, the comp date was changed at the last minute to Monday! I was a bit bummed because I wanted those extra days, but I was ready to go out there, fire it up and do my best.

Jeremy and I headed out around 10:30 as the competition would be starting around noon, and Jeremy went ahead, towing my Star full of gear, snacks and warm blankets (I bought a package of hot dog weiners, hoping there would be a fire on shore). I soon realized that I had forgotten my back block at home, but luckily there was another one in my car that didn't quite fit properly but would have to do.

It was super windy today, and getting across to the island proved to be a chore in my squirtboat. I went to get out at the shore and ended up taking some water and had to stand up in knee deep water! I hadn't even started competing and was already wet.

Mark Richard (CAN), Jeremy Laucks (USA), Coyo Morito (JPN) getting ready to throw down
Photo: Me!
Val Bertrand and Bronze winner Emma Runciman discussing strategy
Photo: Me!

I decided to watch the people doing their practice rides to get a feel for the competition, and sat on a tree jutting out into the water for a little while, just watching people's rides. There were a lot of people there! Great Britain it seemed, had their entire freestyle team and friends and family there to cheer on their fellow competitors! The atmosphere was a fun and full of energy!

582 Local Lars Romeskie photographs well!

Photo: Me!

Billy and Carly enjoying the show

Photo: Me!

This was my first competition ever, and the pressure was on since it WAS the World Championships. I was in the second heat, and when it was my time to go, I had seen some pretty awesome rides! I decided to just go out and have a blast, not worrying about my score or placement since the majority of the girls had been doing this for 10 years (vice my 2 weeks). We each got three rides, best two counted. I decided due to my short repetoire and lack of skills that I would attempt a mystery move first, and if I didn't get it, I could have a second go at it once I heard the 10 second buzzer. My rides were as good as I could have hoped, considering my experience. I plugged one deep mystery move up to my neck which I was pretty psyched about. I worked my cartwheels, got one awesome stern stall, but wasn't able to stick my bow screw. It was all good though, I had a great time, and really enjoyed the experience!

Yes I can Squirt

Photo: Jeremy Laucks

Jenny Down-Time

Photo: Colin Moneypenny

In the end, Valerie Bertrand from Canada won the women's gold in a nailbiting showdown between her and UK's Claire O'Hara (who missed her mystery move at the end and finished with silver).

Jeremy and Brent were my two other squirting buddies, who had great rides. Jeremy in his homemade Maelstrom and Brent in a brand-new Ed-designed boat that he happened to show up with first thing this morning.

Jeremy in his comp ride

Photo: Me!

Ben White from the UK took the men's gold by getting some awesome mystery moves that managed to beat out Coyo, the bouncing boater from Japan who was dominating just by his flatwater moves alone in a plastic boat!

I finished 9th out of the women's class, Coop finished 11th in the men's and Jeremy finished 7th, pretty close to the scores that made the cut! What a great competition. The energy on shore and on the water was incredible! At one point while I was out there I heard Dave Nieuwenhuis yell something like "Jenny Right-Side you Rock!" It was so much fun!

Devon Barker from the US Team (who finished 5th in the world) had a post-squirt party at Little Picky, a cute little cabin on the shore of the river. We spent some time around the bonfire, chatting and having a great time. Then Jeremy and I headed over to WT to check on scores and practice times for Jeremy's OC-1 competition.

I have decided that in less than two years for the next Canadian Team Trials I want to have a new regime of moves and possibly a chance at medalling. It was so much fun, the people were great and supportive, and hey, there's a chance it will be in Switzerland!

World Freestyle Kayaking Championships

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Opening Ceremonies were tonight. I don't have any photos right now, but hopefully I'll be able to get some from those who had cameras. It was kind of exciting, each country gathered together and then one by one we marched around and into the amplitheatre. The Canadian Team had to wait and we cheered on every other country as they went by. It was a little weird since we all knew each other and had paddled together, so we were yelling out people's names and cheering each other on! Once the last country went by and into the amplitheatre, they announced the host country and we Canadians marched down in front of everyone waving our Canadian flags. Speeches came next, and then some 'Canadian' Entertainment (namely a bunch of people from Niagara Falls doing a song and dance in lumberjack outfits).

Billy fixed my motorcycle for me today and I was psyched to get back on it and take it for a spin, so I ended up taking Jeremy on it to WT and then back in the dark. I am still a bit uncomfortable riding at night (and with wet roads from an impromtu rainstorm), but we made it back safe and sound.

I have been doing my best at training for the squirt event. Sometimes I feel as if I'm a poser since I only got in a squirt boat a few weeks ago, I have been trying very hard to get as many moves as I can. One day we were out there and I just wasn't having fun anymore, trying to sink my boat and remember all the movements to be able to do it. After a bit I took a break and then decided to just flop around and let my body feel and figure out the movements on its own instead of trying to remember step-by-step what I had to do to get the boat to do the things that I wanted it to. I still shriek when I am able to sink my boat and I laugh when I do cartwheels. It will be fun tomorrow, and a great experience even if I finish last.

I am thinking ahead to the 2009 World Championships, and what I need to do in order to be good enough to maybe make the K1 team or good enough to medal in squirt. It's kind of exciting to think that in 2 years (which is reasonable if I continue at the same rate I have been) I could be able to throw moves and paddle at a level that I never thought I would attain.

Working on Jenny Down-time

Sunday, April 22, 2007

River: Petawawa Town Section
Level: 3.78 m
Paddlers: Me, Jeremy, Coop and 2 others

My friend Jeremy came up to Beachburg last night. He is competing at the World Championships for USA in Men's OC-1 and Men's Squirt and will be staying with me for the next couple of weeks.

Coop, him and I were trying to decide what to do for boating today, and were thinking of running the Upper Pet,but we had a few glasses of wine and running the Upper would mean us leaving for Algonquin Park by 7am, which was something we were not willing to do.
After discussing it a bit, we decided to park and play at Catwalk in Petawawa, stop by Coop's place to outfit my squirtboat (lent to me by Cindy Jamison, cuz hers is way better than mine), and then go to Smoothie and work on Mystery Moves.

No eddy service... oh well gives me some lifestyle shots!

Photo: Me!

Jeremy and I loaded up and made the 30 minute trek into Petawawa. We looked at Catwalk and Golf Course and decided to play at Catwalk. The level was lower today than it was on Thursday, but that didn't stop us from hiking back up on the river left side over and over again! I had such a good time, and some of the best surfs of my life! I never felt so in control on a wave in my life! Jeremy had me working on edging while surfing and carving.
Coop showed up a little later, along with two other guys and we took turns surfing and working the camera.

Brent likes to blunt
Photo: Me!

After a while we headed back to Brent and Nadine's place where we sat in the backyard (yes the weather is 100% nicer than it has been these last couple of weeks), had some food, drinks, reviewed Costa Rica photos and outfitted my (Cindy's) squirtboat.

Jeremy throwing down
Photo: Me!

Me Spinning Around
Photo: Jeremy Laucks

Jeremy and I then headed back to the Ottawa River to go check out Smoothie. I was REALLY nervous at the beginning as this would be my first time on the river in a squirtboat. I felt a little shaky and was very aprehensive about McKoy's which is right below Smoothie. Basically if I went out into the current and couldn't get back in the eddy in time I would be running McKoy's in my squirtboat.

I watched as Jeremy explained how to get a mysetery move and started trying to see if his boat (that he made himself) would get down. I finally got up the courage and made my way to the eddy line. The first couple of times I worked on getting the hang of location and movements and then started getting the boat completely underwater. I became more and more courageous the more I tried, and my deepest sink was up to my chest! It was so much fun! We played there until it started getting dark, and then Jeremy decided that we were going to run McKoy's. Personally I didn't think it was such a good idea, but hey, I had run it many times in my plastic boat. I hit and flipped at Phils, but was able to roll up quickly. We paddled back up to the put-in and called it a day.

The was definately my best day on the water. I was more in control and doing more moves while surfing Catwalk. I definately felt as if I was paddling a lot better. Then the squirt session was more than I had expected. I've been in a squirtboat only 4 times in the pool and twice on the river (both times were about 10 minutes trying someone else's boat) and was very excited about the moves that I was able to do and how in control I felt in that itty bitty boat. Pictures to follow.

11 days until the Squirt Competition. I have pool sessions planned, and intend on training every day until Wednesday the 2nd. I'll take a break the day before the comp and then giver the best that I can. I am going to have fun, and even if I finish last place, I will have had a great experience, a lot of fun and met a lot of new people.

It's going to be fun! YEAH!

Parting Shot