A Kiwis account … Women’s K1 at the 2016 ICF Freestyle World Cups

The last month I have been living in San Juan, Argentina, the venue of the 2016 ICF Freestyle Kayak World Cups. It has been an absolutely incredible month of kayaking almost everyday as well as exploring the culture and environments on offer on rest days.

By arriving earlier I allowed myself plenty of time to train and learn the feature as well as rest and keep my body strong. I practiced yoga everyday, which noticeably improved my flexibility and reduced body aches.
Athletes from around the world based themselves out of a cute hotel in the city centre known as “Hotel La Toja”. Here we enjoyed a cute breakfast of coffee, a shot of juice and two medialunas (croissants) every morning, the traditional local breakfast. We sorted food from the grocery store or bakery then caught bus 29 and endured an hour journey to arrive at the river each day where we would remain training, studying and resting for the majority of the day before we returned to the city to eat, sleep and then repeat.icf-court

It felt amazing to be back in the rhythm and focus of training and competition. I loved being on the water everyday in my Rockstar, and being with my international friends who share the same passions! I was back to the dream life. I worked hard in my spare time from study this year to get here and was set to make the most of it!

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Mauricio, one of the head organizers of the events took special care to make our experience in Argentina as good as it gets and one to remember. He introduced us to Argentinean ice-cream (Helado) and empanadas (traditional food), took us on local winery tours and festivals of tourism, and helped us get to the national parks of Ischigualasto and Talampaya to see insane scenery and dinosaur fossils!icf-ischigualasto
We got a full experience of this country in the short time we had here on top of training and staying focused on our goals

I worked hard and fell in love with the feature in the San Juan River from the moment I entered it! It a beautiful small hole that’s not too steep or powerful however still strong enough and well shaped to throw down all moves.
On my first day I learnt how to McNasty left and with big air and from that moment I knew I was in with a chance. I trained consistently multiple times a day and made sure to end sessions as soon as I felt sore or weak. In the past I have always over trained and pushed my body to agony tearing my joints apart, so this year I decided to risk it and try a different tactic of focusing on quality over quantity and keeping my body strong.

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This worked out well for me as it meant I felt strong everyday and was in little pain. I enjoyed my time on the water even more than ever and felt consistent.

The events rolled in quick, as did more athletes from all around the world. I was asked to be the event commentator alongside Team Canada’s Marc Godbout. This was awesome fun and kept my spirits high however was also very exhausting.

In the first world cup I made it into the finals in 3rd place, however when it came to the finals round the next day I didn’t manage to pull the same rides together and finished 3rd.

1st Hitomi Takaku
2nd Zofia Tula
3rd Yoshiko Seumatsu

I was a little disappointed in my rides however I was still proud to place 4th amongst such strong ladies, and I felt proud of the level my paddling had gotten to in training whilst here. I knew I needed to move on and focus on the next event.

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In the second world cup I moved through to finals sitting in 4th. I knew I could do no worse than 5th however I still wanted to be on that ICF podium. That was my goal. I wanted to stand on the island alongside two other medalists shaking those bottles of Champaign over each other in celebration. I could see myself doing it and I went in and focused each ride. My first ride had me in 3rd, my second ride I was knocked down to 5th. My last ride it was all on the line. I knew I could do it but I had to play smart and just make it happen. I went into the feature and set up each move carefully and I did it! I moved back into third throwing down my highest ride of this event! I was so ecstatic when the results came up that I had a smiling beaming from ear to ear the entire night!
I got to stand on that island and struggle to open my Champaign before fizzy it over Zofia and Hitomi. I got to stand on the podium and it felt amazing!

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The final results
1st Hitomi Takaku
2nd Zofia Tula
3rd Courtney Kerin

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Stay focus on your goals no matter how many times you fail, eventually you will succeed!

Courtney Kerin

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