Nathan's rides at the Freestyle World Cups, Georgia US
Written by Nathan, October 2022
So last week I was competing out in America in the Freestyle world cups in Columbus Georgia, it was my first time competing internationally and my first time paddling properly in a different country!
I started off the first competition with a lot of nerves and a few days training under my belt on the Ambush wave, prelims went better then I could have imagined placing 14th going into the quarter finals... I didn't quite get the rides I wanted but this left me hopeful that I had more to give to try and pull myself into a higher position. Unfortunately in the quarter finals I lost my head and couldn't put down any rides that I could say I'm happy with, this left me finishing the first world cup in 20th, it's not quite the result I wanted but I am still proud to have qualified from prelims in 14th and that I can be happy with.
The second world cup on Goodwave a little down stream followed a couple of days later, after a really nice few rides In training I was feeling happy, this prelims was formatted as unattainable meaning we had 4 rides with the best 2 counting, this was amazing as it meant I could paddle the wave 4 times in 45 minutes with no queues!!! After losing my head in the previous comp I was happy to pull myself together for this first round and I felt happy and ready to compete again in my second ever international competition! My first ride went well, despite flushing with 20 seconds left I felt confident throwing some cool tricks which I have never been able to do before in competition, after that it went downhill, in the following 3 rides I wasn't able to carry the pace I initially set myself and came out with a rather unimpressive score given some of the tricks and rides I was able to throw in training. I am happy however that i managed to stay calm through my remaining rides and keep positive even going into my final ride. Those rides however, left me staring at the leader board all day through 6 more heats of paddlers, I knew that I wasn't going to make the cut but deep down there was definitely a little bit of hope that maybe it was enough. After a long day of agonising over my phone constantly refreshing scores, I was left placed in 23rd. Unfortunately this concluded my competition with only 20 progressing to the next round.
Though my results weren't amazing, I still had an amazing trip and learned so much both for my paddling and my competing. I also got to paddle with my best friend Niamh Macken and help her during her competitions where she took 4th and 3rd in the world cups respectively which is an incredible result for her first ever wave competition after only learning to blunt a few weeks before flying out!
Thank you to everyone who organised the event and all of the competitors that made the event that much more special, after meeting so many new people at the world championships in Nottingham, it was so nice to see everyone again and this time have the opportunity to paddle with them... it is quite special to be in a competition paddling with the people I grew up watching and learning from.
Also I can't forget a big thank you to my adopted family and amazing friends of mine the Mackens' for taking me in for this competition and helping me both on and off the water with shuttles to the river, dinners and the overall average company.