Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cardiff International Paddlefest 2011

Hi Guys,

My name is Josh Wedgwood and I am new to the Nookie Team. A little bit about myself; I am 17 and based in the South West of England. I am on the GBR freestyle kayak squad so you will often find me at playspots across the UK! I do lots of blogging and writing of articles so you will be able to follow my travels here. I am thrilled to be supporting Nookie and helping develop some exciting new products!

Recently Cardiff International White Water Centre held their annual paddlefest… here is a report of the day!

The chance to try all things paddlesport! From the very latest boats, paddles and kit to something new like Stand-Up Paddle Boarding. The day proved to be yet another great day on the water at CIWW!

With a range of cumecs throughout the day, fun events and evening entertainment; over 150 paddlers descended on the artificial white water course on the 3rd September. There were over 15 different retailers including; Wavesport, Nookie and new paddle brand Fire it Up (to name a few) all at the event with demo boats, paddles and great advice. This was a great opportunity for people to have a go in something new or get the low down on the latest products. There was lots of interest for Nookie’s new products including the updated Rivermonster and the Airscrew cag. With no rafts on the course paddlers were allowed to have fun without the worry of getting flattened! Enjoyment was definitely had by all as the many smiles suggested. There was lots of action in the main freestyle hole but also loads of people enjoying themselves paddling round the course working on their skills.

The first event of the day was a favorite for many; the Duckie Demolition Derby! A carnage filled event due to the 20 duckie paddlers and an inflatable dinghy all piling down the course at once… I shall let the pictures do the talking!

Following the Duckie Demolition Derby the next event of the day was the Palm 4x Challenge. Here two adults and one youth paddler join forces with a pro paddler from one of the exhibitors to race down the course as a team. The fastest team down the course wins. Prizes and bragging rights were on offer! The challenge of white water was made more difficult with tasks that had to be completed on the way down. Paddlers had to break into eddies and surf waves without losing too much time! Timing seemed to be the key here, the faster teams managed to avoid getting in each other’s way allowing all paddlers to get down the course as speedy as possible. I was competing for Team Wavesport as the pro paddler. Somehow all of our plans came together to produce the fastest run of the day!

Straight after the team challenge all the pro paddlers were entered for a head to head BoaterX race. With no rules, heats and semis to get through before the final there was plenty of carnage! Slalom poles were placed in the river that paddlers had to go round or get disqualified… as an extra challenge; duckies were ready to spring, popping decks and getting in the way! Any tactics went out the window as paddlers clashed paddles and bashed into each other fighting for position. I had lots of speed and always managed to get a good start and avoid most of the chaos! Due to this I reached the final against; Pete Simon, Aaron Buckingham, Cheesy and Tom Parker. With 5 of us racing down the course there was even less space! I was third going down the first drop with Aaron and Tom in front. Due to duckie intervention I managed to pass Tom near the end and finish second! Cheesy, despite being a strong candidate for the win, boofed onto a duckie and quickly got sunk so finished last!

The final event of the day was the Paddlefest Raft Race. Lots of people got involved with this, creating teams of 6 to compete in time trail, slalom and endurance racing. Spectators enjoyed the sight of rafts chasing each other down the course while listening to the great live bands that were playing on stage… the party atmosphere continued well into the night!
The Cardiff International Paddlefest 2011 was a great event… a massive thanks must go to all the organizers and retails that turned up to support and make the day fun! Keep checking the CIWW website for information on next year’s event, if this time is anything to go by… it is not to be missed!

See you on the water!

Josh Wedgwood