Here a short movie of an autumn session in Millau.
Here a short movie of an autumn session in Millau.
I didn’t put the butt in my boat for several weeks. The phone rings: a friend invited me to participate in the Pyrenees Cup freestyle kayaking where paddlers French and Spanish will compete for victory. This happens in Salt, Spain, north of Barcelona. I accept the invitation. This is the best way to get back in the bath, two weeks before the championship of France.
I put my freestyle boat and my creek boat in my van and I was off for a six-hour trip on the road. On the spot, all is perfect. We are housed in a beautiful country house, overlooking the valley of the Ter. The roll is really top: all moves are possible, there are many bottom, we are in the middle of the Catalan countryside, it’s green, the sun heats, the birds sing.
Several activities are planned: a freestyle race on Saturday and a concentration of creek boat on Sunday, on a section of the river Ter where there is only one let go of water per year.
I win freestyle qualification phases in front Nico Fayol (French) and Adria Bosch (Spanish). In the final, I confirm my position as leader, the roles are reversed behind me. I get back with a check for € 300.
The next day, place of the concentration. It’s festive, everyone gets along. There are some good carnage on key passages and many paddlers offer great swimming !
In short, a good weekend preparing for the championship of France.
Two weeks later, at the whitewater stadium of Pau, serious things happen. French riders are all there for the same goal, win the national title.
The hole is new for everyone, as it has been specially modified for the event. This is a relatively difficult spot, the current is very cyclical. But the bottom is really far, to the delight of all paddlers.
Qualifications are complex, I take the provisional third place, behind Nico Fayol and Seb Devred. Pressure up a notch in the final stages.
The hole is even more difficult than the day before, movements are complex to execute. The suspense is over until each run of finalists. The judges deliberate. The verdict is there. I won the championship of France. This brings to four the number of my victory in the championship of France since 2007.
These results motivate me even more to select me in France team to compete at the next World Championships in September 2013 in the USA.
My 2011 season started late in February with my firsts sessions at Rock Island, Tennessee (USA), where I was finishing my Final Project for University doing an internship at Jackson. I got there mid December after a serious injury on my ribs in July and after crashing with my bike turning out had a torn ligament on my wrist and couldn’t kayak. After some pain and almost seven months without being on the water, I was more than happy to be finally healed up and kayak a bit.
How is a Rock Star made video, shot at the JK Plant in Sparta, TN
I flew back home early March and went straight to Sort, where dam releases had just started and me and my brother could start to paddle in our local river, the Noguera Pallaresa. The season started slowly at the hole and paddling some classic runs, but quickly got better as it started to get warmer and we could enjoy higher flows and some of the local creeks, which are great. The snow pack this year wasn’t great or as good as previous years, however we did what we could paddling around the zone during early Spring. We attended a couple freestyle competitions as well, such as the FKT (French Freestyle Cup) at the new slalom course in Pau, which is great! And the Spanish Cup in Millau (France) and Sort achieving some great results. After qualifying for the Spanish Team to attend Worlds later in June, we went for a little creeking trip where we weren’t fortunate as the snow melt had stop and the rivers were super low. Anyway we had some fun, and straight after that I went to Plattling for a week with the rest of the Spanish Freestyle Team to train for Worlds in Germany. That was during Easter, there were quite a few paddlers there from Norway, GB, Germany… however, the water level during our whole stay was pretty low… It was still cool and really warm so we had great fun and tried to train a bit despite the possibilities (really shallow!).
freestyle sessions Sort 2011 video
Rock Star promo video shot at the 1st FKT at the new slalom course in Pau, France
After that I went to Canada! White Water Grand Prix in Quebec! For two weeks, I traveled with some of the best paddlers around and great friends to compete and mostly paddle and have fun on the six stages comp tour. The competition didn’t go quite as expected, mostly due of my lack of wave paddling skills (and big wave, which however you might think it’s easy, it’s not!), some unfortunate runs and races and a few little injuries during the trip. After all though, it was a great wicked time, and looking forward for next edition in Chile!! Cheers Pat, Julie, all the helpers and volunteers, camera Team, competitors… Overall I got a 7th place that could have been a lot better with a little bit more of specific training and a lot of good memories that make me want to go back so bad! After the WW GP I stayed a bit longer in Canada, so I got to surf Mini Bus and a few other cool places.
WW GP overall edit… speechless!
After that was WORLDS! So back to Spain and straight to Germany in order to prepare for Worlds and hole paddling! It was a good difference to be back on a hole, but still great. We had good water levels and weather, so perfect time jut living by the river and paddling till you get so tired and sore… then cook some food, chill and sleep! I went to Lienz for a competition as well, we left Plattling at 1pm together with the irish and made it into Lienz at 10-11pm it took us twice the time due to a flying roof rack and boats at the autobahn plus a broke down car plus a battery change… which turned out to be the alternator… At the end we made it and after an ok night of sleep we got to paddle a bit on Saturday morning. The spot was almost the same as last year during Europeans. Big, powerful, a bit trashy and hard… and cold water! The comp went well for me; from good to better, getting a couple good rides in the finals and a second place finish for the judges. Good weekend and good comp training. Back to Plattling on the back of Adam’s van, no windows, 4 dudes, a lot of stuff, hot and long…
Worlds started, and however I struggled hard to get some good rides compared with training I managed to get a spot in the finals qualifying 4th. I did my best in the finals, but wasn’t until my third ride that cooled down and put some moves together, which unfortunately weren’t good enough and had a 5th place finish. At the end pretty happy about this result due the high level of good paddlers and competition at the event, and mostly after being paddling for only four months after my winter injury break.
Straight after Plattling I went home, and the next morning I was in Norway ready for a full summer of creeking and working. Things were great, running great rivers around Voss at great levels and with good company, and even with sunshine sometimes!
Unfortunately one afternoon I had an accident while paddling a new river. I hit the wall while landing and bruised/broke my left ribs pretty bad. From then on I took it easy and rest, thanks Terje, Benji, Jakub, Andy-Mariann, Anton-Rachel, and Julian for helping me out those days! After a while I moved to Sjoa where I stayed at my friends Miguel and Santi’s place, a nice little house up in the mountains from Heidal Rafting. After a while I got better and I started working at Heidal Rafting. Summer went by, and it was time to get back home. In September I finished off University, which felt great, and got my ribs checked.
During all that time I had the Sick-Line Race in my mind, I knew I was injured but was sure I could recover in time to still have a bit of training and do better than last year, which is funny cause I had the same injury but on my right ribs… However I tried, my ribs weren’t healed and with a bit of paddling got a lot worse… I decided I would attend, however my physical condition at that time wasn’t any good after almost three months of pain and no good-strong paddling.
After the race, which by the way went worse than ever due bad qualifying runs and the worse start off the ramp ever… That’s all past though, and it’s time to look forward. After the Sick-Line Race I decided the 2011 season was over for me so focused 100% on healing myself from my ribs and a horrible tendinitis on my left shoulder.
Today, almost five months since Norway’s accident I’m still doing rehab everyday in order to heal my ribs. As for my shoulder, I’m doing an expensive therapy that’s not working out as it was supposed to, but still gotta keep working on it and look forward, as better times are not far to come.
2011 season was short, way too short, but it was good and fun! Paddled in lots of new places and enjoyed my paddling. Looking forward to next season!!
Thanks for the photos: Pringle, Katya, WW GP Team, Miles Clark, Benoit Meslé, Benji Hjort, Terje Sorgjerd, Laureta, Gorka Martínez, Michael Newman…
Thanks to my sponsors, family and friends for supporting me on what I do and enjoy doing the most, keep paddling!
Check http://kayakgerd.blogspot.com/ for some more videos of the season and pics!
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