Freestyle is the most exciting, most dynamic most unique thing you can do in a boat. It’s Gymnastics in a kayak. Freestyle paddlers, in tiny specialist boats will search out features on fast flowing rivers; White Water with a big standing wave or a retentive hydraulic with a tow back is what they are looking for. When they find it they will test this feature & their skills to the limit. These features with names like ‘Bus Eater’ & ‘Big Kahuna’ can be intimidating but the sense of exhilaration that paddlers get when pulling off huge moves is unrivalled.
Freestyle is easy to get into and it’s got a strong community feel. Go to our UK Freestyle website to find more information about our events, the GB team and how to get in contact with committee members.
There are a number of instructors offering coaching and there is also a strong Youth Programme. The Youth Freestyle Series consist 5 events over the year, with a fun competition and coaching; all just for junior paddlers (aged 18 and under). For more details see the Youth Freestyle website. Along with this there are regular competitions catering for all abilities from beginners to experts.
A competition is held on one specific wave or hole; a paddler has a certain amount of time, usually 45 seconds, to perform as many different moves as possible; each move has it’s own score; all the scoring moves are added together and the highest total score wins.
GBR has a great record in international competition with a number of World & European champions. It has also been instrumental in taking this young sport forward helping to provide the structure that is essential to any rapidly growing discipline.
There are a number of different classes in Freestyle, kayak (K1), canoe (C1) and open canoe (OC1). Then there is Squirt. Squirt is like ballet in a boat, with paddlers performing moves with names like ‘heli-wheels’ & ‘double scoops’. Performed in special boats with minimal buoyancy it is held in specific eddy’s on the river. These spots have strong seams & eddy lines that enable paddlers to get ‘Down Time’ where, using a specific paddling technique the paddler & the kayak becomes completely submerged.
GB Canoe Freestlye Calendar for 2012 & Beyond