The Worlds is Away ( From Hungry to Hungover)

With the finale of closing ceremonies came a gaggle of ”Goodbye”’s, unmemorable ”what are you doing this winter”s and that popular catchphrase ”see you on Facebook”. Along with almost every single farewell was the clause ”while I didn’t show it in the competition…” The mood blowing across those grassy fields, under those wide open skies, was one of a horrendous ‘morning after’ where there’s plenty to clean up and a world to get back to but no one feels all that eager to get back to it yet.

And so it goes with any big party … thought the heights reached are rarely quite what you expected the low immediately afterwards just about overshadows the event itself. What now? Was it worth all the $ to get here, the equipment I bought, the meals and lodging and fees? What kind of a hole have I dug for myself moving forwards? The future always fails to delight us when some bright shiny PURPOSE that overshadowed everything else in our entire life has come and gone… exposing the empty hole in our future that was created after so many months focused on the event itself. So here we are…and what now?

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I look back at the 2015 Worlds as one of the most spectacular showcases of kayaking in recent memory. There was heartbreak as shoulder-injured Alec just couldn’t match his earlier rides, Jordan’s Pistol-flip suddenly eluding him, and deafening silence as Adrienne fell behind the foam on her second ride. There was triumph when Emily Jackson finally scored her Pan-am, when Nick Troutman rose to the most thundering crowd road of encouragement I’ve ever heard at a kayak event, when a joyous Sage got to try a blunt-nasty as she had already stuck every move of her routine, and as the technical paddle-trick wizard Claire O’hara dropped the stick to show she could work some magic without it.
For me personally I come away with another Squirt Silver medal, 3 new squirt tricks, and the pride of adding a 31 second mystery into the ICF record in front of a very appreciative crowd. I’m still so proud of Wilderness Tours and Sharky in particular for letting our ”roots of freestyle” sport to have its own venue so we could showcase the Mystery-focused sport into which it has evolved. In it’s 2nd World Championship event, Smoothy let us show the world how far we’ve come since 07. If the number of international boaters borrowing my equipment afterwards is any indication, it looks like squirt is back on the radar in so many new nations as another great way to have whitewater fun..
And the wave? Couldn’t have asked for more. Not only was the wave one of the best features in the sport, but it also ran for 2 months straight before the event and at the PERFECT level for the comp. Everyone in attendance is a much better wave boater than they were but it might be months before they notice. Because that’s how this goes. You work so hard for a few rides and think they were crap because so many other people also worked hard and did better. This is the hangover speaking. Live it, feel it, mourn the party that is over. Now get yourself up – it’s time to head back home to rest up. Let your body repair, let your mind wander and drift to thoughts of the people, places and things you have missed. Seek your new adventurous near future with fresh perspective. Remember this recent pinnacle of play boating with a smile to last forever.

Clay

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