Wednesday, March 12, 2008

National Student Rodeo – Nottingham 8th / 9th of March 08

Someone told me that a competition bigger than the Lyon River Festival existed, so I asked them “which one?” He answered “the NRS in Nottingham!!!”
I was convinced and so I prepared the van, put some DK stickers on it, picked up three friends on Thursday morning and left Paris for England.
I only had one thing in mind “how can a competition with 680 paddlers be held properly?” and “what's a party with that many paddlers like?”

The road was ok until we reached the ferry in Calais. A friend forgot to bring his ID and an English policeman almost threw us back home.

Finally after 3 hours of Londons jams we reached the kayaking course at nightfall.

We spent Friday paddling and meeting up with friends (Sam, Max, Boulby, Louise, Jen, Nath…).

Saturday was a busy day for the organisers who made really good work managing up to 3 competitions at the same time on different places on the river. I’ve never seen that many paddlers in the same place, not even at the world championships.

We were entering the Open category which was obviously not as serious as the rest of the competition. I don’t even know the results to be honest... I should be second just after John Best - always the best ;) -

It does not mean that it wasn’t well organised, I think that was part of the philosophy of the event. We are used to very selective competitions in France where beginners can not paddle a lot. Here, everyone was enjoying the contest, and everyone had opponents of his level.

We went to the pirate party on Saturday night. We, unfortunately (or fortunately), didn’t take the camera for safety reasons. The party was good and everyone played the game of being dressed up, at least until everyone got undressed…

The Sunday started at mid-day… and we had to leave early to take our ferry back to France. We missed the prize giving and went to London to eat some typical local food.

The feelings on the ferry were a contrast between meeting back with our super friendly French policemen and being on-board with the Dutch Female Hockey team!

Thanks to the organisers who did a great job ! We’ll come back (if you still want us) :P

Léo Carpene

Few critics:
- Don’t turn the music off too early on a Saturday night!
- Not enough people shouting on the bank for their friends (except Sheffield Uni)
- Not enough people understanding French