Monday, December 04, 2006

Hurley Classic 2006

Finally after 2 ½ years of drought in the Thames Valley, the Hurley Classic was on. With more than enough water, all gates on the weir were fully drawn; we were set for a Hurley 4 gate classic. Many paddlers are intimidated by 4 gates and seemingly more so by a high 4 gates, so the turnout was lower than expected, only 65 competitors. This led to a jam session style rodeo that brought back memories of the old days.

Organised by Kayakojacko and supported by SAS, who hosted the competition on the river left bank, which is the home to their UK headquarters, the competition was run in heats of 10 paddlers each lasting approximately 30mins, with your highest scoring 4 moves counting and a maximum ride time of 30seconds.

This new style format is proving again and again to be a hit with paddlers as it leads to a far more relaxed environment to compete in. Paddling over with it was time to return to Longridge in Marlow for the first Nookie Glühwein party, armed with gallons of red wine and other secret ingredients, the first vat of wine was warmed.

Soon dozens of cold and thirsty kayakers were gathered under the tarp sampling to delights of free booze. Very soon everything was stained red and everybody was smiling, dancing and merry making.

Sunday morning came around all too quickly and slowly everybody made their way back to the river for bacon sandwiches and cups of tea. Many paddlers had struggled to get to grips with the big 4 gates of Saturday and so by some clever magic the lock keeper was able to close the weir down to 3 gates. Although slightly too high for the legendary green centre wave the level was definitely less intimidating and everybody threw down hard.

Many thanks to Kayakojacko and staff for organising a superb event, SAS institute for letting a load of kayakers take over their headquarters for the weekend, System X and Whitewater the Canoe Centre for supplying demo boats, the caterers for awesome bacon sandwiches, the Environment Agency for letting us play on their weir and finally to Nookie for sponsoring an crazy Glühwein party.

Full results can be found here, see you all next year.


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