Tomorrow is the Opening Ceremonies and the first competitions. Let the show begin!
The river bank is packed with kayakers watching their competitors practice, trying to learn what they can, and see what they are doing for moves. Team captains, coaches, and athletes are all videoing, and then taking the information back to their teams. Final plans for the competition are being made. Predictions for what kind of scores are needed to advance are being tossed around. Everybody is getting their game faces on. Some are trying to train with the hopes of intimidating their competition, some are trying to save their good stuff so that people don’t feel they need to step it up. Head games are going on everywhere, with people that are sick saying they are fine, and people who are fine, saying they are sick.
It is a funny business, the mental side of competition. The truth is that most competitors don’t have much experience with events of this magnitude, with so much upside potential. A chance to become the next World Champion is enough to make most people think twice about their standard approach to a competition. I saw some very impressive rides yesterday, by people like Andrew Holcomb, Jimmy Blakeney, Brooke Winger, Debs Pinnager, Jessie Murphy, Roberto from Italy, Yagi from Japan, Mario from Costa Rica, Marc Birbeck from England, Pat Keller, and others. In C-1 watch for Bill McNight, Dan Burke, a dude from the Chech Republic is killing it, some brits, and the reigning world champion, Barry Keenan. Literally the best rides these people have done here, seem to be happening right now. That is a sign that the competition is going be a step up from practice. Entry moves are becoming standard now for the first time in a World Championships, which used to be considered too risky by most.
People are figuring out the aerial side of the hole now. Big air loops are being thrown. Many people were complaining about the hole being lame, saying that it is a step backwards for freestyle to have such a cartwheel dominant competition. The truth is that it isn’t a good spot for beginners to learn to do big aerial loops, but the world’s best can get them. So what is the end result? The world’s best will get air, the rest will be put in their place. An air loop in an easy hole is easier than a cartwheel in many ways, so I figure that this hole is a great test of skill and will provide a great world championships. I am all about the aerial backloop. In Spain I did two aerial front loops on every ride, which was key in my winning. Here, I will not do any front loops, only back loops. I like the feeling of them, they are worth the same as the front loop, and I can set them up faster, and I can come out hucking! Is this a big secret technique for winning? No, everybody has seen me work on them. I must say that I have had my troubles getting them right, but when it goes right, it is sweet! Check out this short video of what it should look like…
If you want to know who is competing, and when, I posted a schedule, you can get to it on my home page. Also, great news for those waiting for my two new instructional DVD’s, they will be done this week!!!! Don’t forget that I am having a contest. The first person to order one on this site will get the other one free. Sounds easy enough, but when will that Pay Pal “add to cart” button be hot? Exactly, I don’t know. I will make activate it when the DVD’s arrive at my house in Rock Island. Kristine’s mom is in charge of sending them out. So far she has had same day turnaround everytime, pretty impressive, I think. Free shipping anywhere in the world too. It is funny when she sends my Strokes and Concepts DVD’s to Norway, Japan, Slovenia, etc. Anyway, this doesn’t have a lot to do with the World’s does it?! Well, such is life of my website, no rules.
Check in tomorrow for the first official results!!!!