The last day of free training time is now over! During the next week each country will get two training sessions of four hours each. To give 30 countries training time is not easy. There are many people coming on the 19th for one week of training for the event. It is quite possible that they can do well, but many of them will struggle to get comfortable in the hole. The moves don’t all come that easy in this hole.
There are reactionary holes coming off the eddies on either side of the hole. These reactionaries shoot straight into the middle of the foampile on the backside of it. They cause people fits for two reasons. Number one, when somebody tries to do a move on the corner of the hole, they get pushed back on the pile and dropped right into the center which is sucking in quite hard. Then they have to either tuck and throw immediately or get launched into the pit. Is this good or bad? Yes, it is good or bad, depending upon how you deal with it. If you hold back and don’t take advantage of the fact the hole wants you in middle and throw down when you get there, then it is bad. If you do any of the classic hole moves as soon as you get to the meat, such as back loops, splits, cartwheels, cleans, tricky woos then you will be rewarded.
This hole will be the ultimate open boat hole! I am actually looking forward to watching the open boat competition for the first time in a long time. The open boats will get spun on the corners, and dropped into the meat which is steep and strong, so they will get vertical, like it or not, and then, it will happen again, and again! I expect some real intense open boat rides!
I feel sorry for anybody with a really short boat here too. The foam is quite thick and the smallest boats don’t reach the green water so they get vertical and either fall down or get launched into the green water. This hole isn’t good for loops unless you have a long enough boat (Yes, that is correct, long enough) and you have the technique down of launching way up into the green water doing a meltdown under the foam. Andrew Holcomb is awesome at this and really opened up peoples minds to the possibilities of the hole. I heard numerous complaints that this hole isn’t worthy of a world championships. The two reasons were, one, it is too hard, and two you can’t do big air loops.
What do I think? Well, it is the world championships, if it is too hard or you can’t get certain moves, well then you will get beaten by those who can. It isn’t the job of the organizers to make a feature suitable for the lowest common denominator. Instead, it is great when there are a couple of hundred kayakers trying airloops and only a couple get them. Javid Grubbs will do well getting loops here, it is his kind of loop hole. But loops are only one of many moves. In the slalom world championships it is typical for the course designers to make a course with one or two moves that only the top 5 men’s kayakers, at best, can do the moves direct (with out spinning or backferrying). This is always cool because everybody wants to be one of those athletes who can do it direct. The rest of the classes (except perhaps C-1) have to spin or back ferry the move, which is cool too, but it means that the course is always challenging and gives people something to strive for.
Every body is looking for a move that they can do that nobody else can. Andrew Holcomb is doing the big airloops with some consistency, 50%, and that is his ace in the hole. Tobi Bersch is doing the tricky woo at an 80% consistency and almost nobody else can get it here without flushing, that is his. I have my entry Space Godzilla, which is my ace in the hole (plus the Tricky woo, and perhaps the McNasty, if I can get it down better here)
I will give a report on the Women and Junior Women next.