2015 Uganda: Road to Worlds!

Wake up. Eat Breakfast. Go paddle. Play Volleyball/ Ultimate Frisbee/ Disc golf. Eat Lunch. Go Paddle. Eat dinner. Go to Bed. Repeat. How does that sound? Along with the amazing activities and hospitality, The Hairy Lemon Island is just downstream from a World Class section of River. Paddling on the White Nile in Uganda is just about as good as it gets. The Nile Special and Club Wave are among two of the best surf waves you will find anywhere in the world. After a spectacular trip in 2014, this February was amazing as well. The main purpose for the trip was to get ready for the Team Trials and Worlds.

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This upcoming June the USA Freestyle Team Trials will be held in Glenwood Springs, Colorado for the chance to compete in the World Championships at Garburator on the Ottawa River in Canada this fall. The trip to the White Nile was very beneficial because it allowed myself to get the necessary training on a wave for Team Trials and hopefully Worlds. This year seems to have an increased meaning for me because it will be my last year competing as a Junior. This is also the first year that my brother, Hayden, will be able to make the team. It was very cool and important that he was able to come along on this trip to get the training he needed also.

After spending a lot of time in holes in 2013 preparing for Worlds, I am decent on waves, but significantly better in holes. Some important things for Trials and Worlds will be:

1. Having good technique for moves. The better I can get at being able to do the moves will obviously be important.

2.A good routine is equally as important as being able to do the moves. I want to use what I have learned and be able to put together a smart routine that will help me succeed.

3.Have fun. This is the most important one, but sometimes the hardest! In my experience I had trouble with that sometimes. I got too hung up in how I might finish that my enjoyment and performance declined.

4.I have made the team and made podium at Worlds. That experience can only help me in the training and competing working up to Worlds. There could be a couple others, but from what I can tell, myself and Kalem Kennedy from Canada are the two juniors from 2013 in the top 20 that will be returning Juniors. Him and his brother, Quinton, are very good on waves having lived near the Ottawa, and they will both be top contenders. For the USA there will be a strong depth for Team Trials. Myself, Hayden, David Silk, Jacob Walker, Brody Kellogg, Kaito Roemer, and many more will be tough competitors for the USA. My experience should help me out, a touch.

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Nile Special and Club Wave are two awesome, but different waves. Club wave is good at lower water and is medium sized with a good surfers left shoulder and foam to the side. Passes are consistent with a good run way. Nile Special is a taller, greener, and faster wave. It is harder to do tricks, but offers more potential for bigger air. Overall, the water was higher during the trip so we only had 5 or 6 sessions of prime Club Wave, but Nile Special was good almost everyday! Special is definitely a little tricky to work on moves, but in the end is always good training.

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During the course of the month I was there, I just tried to work on as many moves as I could. My Pan Ams and Clean Blunts both ways are very solid, as well as both backstabs. I spent quite a bit of times working on right Flashbacks (clean backstab), left Airscrew, right Back Pan Am, and Left Helix. Those are all moves that I can do quite consistently and will be solid tricks to have in my repertoire. This summer I will work to get my left Back Pan Am, right Airscrew, and Right Helix down too.

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Not only is the Hairy Lemon amazing for training, it is just a relaxing and tranquil environment (the absence of internet is very nice). The island is very small, only about an acre in size. There are great hangout areas, tons of activities, and the food at the “restaurant” is very good. My favorite things to do while on the island are disc golf and volleyball. The disc golf course is very short, but also very technical trying to hit certain trees or objects. It is challenging and anybody can have fun throwing a disc or frisbee. Next to the island is a calm shallow channel with a volleyball net. When the 90 degree days are very humid, you are constantly wanting to cool down. With the net waist deep in the river, volleyball is perfect. Games are always super fun and competitive, always diving in every direction.

I highly encourage people to go an experience this awesome place! You can find all the information at http://hairylemonuganda.com/ and email hairylemonuganda@gmail.com if you have any questions. Paul and Nikki at the Hairy Lemon were kind enough to sponsor my trip, so there support is greatly appreciated! Thank you guys!

I am definitely looking forward to this upcoming year. Closing out my Junior years will be great motivation to paddle with enthusiasm and goals! I have a pretty action packed season coming up with a lot of great rivers and events on the calendar!

See you on the water!
Alec Voorhees

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