Courtney Kerin 28/07/2014 | Posted in 2014 RockStar, 2014 RockStar Competition, Whitewater
The World Cup series for 2014 comprised of three events in Europe, #1 was Millau, France, #2 was Salt, Spain and #3 was Sort, Spain.
The first world cup event in Millau was combined with a very famous and longtime running annual event, the Natural Games. It also involved other extreme sports like slackline, mountain biking and bouldering. This event was super fun and the town was a small maze to find your way around. There was an incredible farmers markets at our doorstep, streets were narrow and hidden between tall housing with a strong social atmosphere. We got in exhausted and with one day to train, but the feature is awesome. It is small, fairly steep and just deep enough, on a manmade chute off the side of the main river through town. The water was fairly warm and the weather was amazing!
After prelims all of our team had made their way through. It was obvious that the rockstar was a top choice with a large majority of the athletes choosing to compete in the competition or composite versions.
I had a lot of fun here and was fairly happy with the way I paddled considering the lack of training. It is a place I would love to go back to, to train as it was so much fun.
I finished up 5th equal in semis but lost the tiebreaker to the French champion, Marlene Devillez. It was an impressive womens final with Hitomi Takaku of Japan (2013 vice world champion) just taking out the win on her final ride, followed by Emily Jackson 2x World Champion(USA) in second, then Marlene Devillez (France) in 3rd finishing up the podium.
The mens was also an impressive display, Sebastein Devred (France) took the win with some incredible rides and huge air, followed closely by Dane Jackson (USA), and in bronze position was Mathieu Dumoulin (France).
Out of France now and onto Spain. The next world cup took place in the outskirts of a small village known as Salt. Athletes lived together in a hostel in the next town over called Girona, which made for a lot of fun and good athlete bonding.
The opening ceremony was one not to be forgotten. It started with some speeches followed by an incredible climbing dance by local families, then some of the best drumming you could imagine by a extremely enthusiastic group, which then lead us down the streets with fireworks, firebreathing and wild dancing. I had an amazing time and danced the whole way. Then we finished off the night with a big, delicious athlete dinner in a town hall.
The Salt feature was just rebuilt in time for the event as floods destroyed it, so it was a new feature for everyone, which evened out the playing field a lot more. It was a steep hole, with colder water, deep enough and two good shoulders. I really enjoyed this feature and had an awesome time here. I made it to semis in 4th with two consistent rides(just 3 points apart) and felt confident to make finals, unfortunately I didn’t pull things together well enough in semis and my scores couldn’t hold my position. But once again it was an impressive finals that I was stoked to watch and commentate. The women put together some great rides and impressive scores with Emily Jackson taking the gold, followed in 2nd by Hitomi Takaku and Marlene Devillez rounding out the podium.
Mens was once again a massive display of huge and clean tricks, combos and high scores. Dane took out the gold once again, second was won by Mathieu Dumoulin and the bronze medal was grabbed by local man Quim Fontane.
Now off to the final event of the world cup series in Sort, Spain. This feature was the polar opposite of the last two. A huge river wide hole that was much less steep but had a few shallow spots that was hard to tell. Throughout the event there were a few broken boats, paddles and dignities. But all up it was an amazing atmosphere once again. We all lived within the small town, training in our slots and getting on every open training chance. It was an exhausting feature but lots of fun with huge potential. All you had to do was commit.
Once again I made my way through to semis in 4th place with some big air, but unfortunately didn’t pull myself together well enough in semis to carry on to finals. But once again the top three ladies did.
The finals were under crazy lights at nighttime and the crowd was immense.
Hitomi pulled out here best ride of the event with perfect timing, grabbing here the gold, Emily took 2nd and Marlene finished off the podium.
The mens was incredible, Dane took his second win, Mathieu Dumoulin took second and Nick Troutman of Canada took third. Making a clean sweep podium of Rockstars.
Finals was followed by champagne podiums, fireworks off the bridge and an epic party on the street.
The World cups overall results in the women’s was won by Hitomi Takaku (Japan), Emily Jackson (USA), Marlene Devillez (France). Both of the top two in Rockstars.
In the mens Dane Jackson (USA) became the World Cup Champion in his competition rockstar, Mathieu Dumoulin (France)was second also in his competiton rockstar and then Sebastein Devred (France) took 3rd.
The Rockstar seemed to be the boat to beat, taking the overall wins in both mens and womens and I was stoked to have mine with me, as it rocked in each event feature. Spain and France was an incredible experience and are great freestyle destinations that I would love to get back to someday.
But for now off to Canada to start some wave training for World Championships 2015 on Garberator Wave.