Shepperton slalom report

Saturday 23rd Sept 2006 was a very pleasant and warm late summer day as Patrick, Richie, Mirkka, Jemima, Simon and Roger made their way to Shepperton for possibly the last slalom event of the year. It was for Div 2, 3 and 4 paddlers, so everyone was eligible to compete. 

There was a reasonable flow of water down the left hand side of the course: more than usual for a Shepperton summer event – presumably as a result of the main weir at Shepperton still being closed for maintenance.

Indeed the organisers deemed the water challenging enough for Div 4 Paddlers to be told not to tackle the two gates most in the flow (gates 9 and 10). Everyone found that whilst the first eight gates of the course were relatively easy, the flow of water made all of the gates on the second half interesting.

It didn’t take long in practice for Richie to find that his back was still troubling him and he decided not to compete – contenting himself with gentle paddle up the Thames, instead. 

Patrick practised hard but decided not to bother entering. Judging by his practice runs, had he entered he would have done well and would have beaten many established slalom competitors.

Simon started the day saying he didn’t want to do too well, least he ends the year being promoted into Div 2. However, his sound runs put him second in the Div 3 men’s event – so a year-end promotion is still a possibility, even if he doesn’t compete again. 

Roger – competing in Div 2 for the first time since April – had a poor first run: he didn’t paddle hard enough in the moving water and was swept past gate 10; and after that his performance went off, so his time was slow too. He did a much better second run, although still not really fast enough for a Div 2 man. However it was fast enough to beat three others (final position 14th out 17 – his best result of the season) and was the fastest Y Paddle time (he would have been placed second in the Men’s Div 3 event – just ahead of Simon).

Mirkka was our best lady with two sound runs, although (like everyone else) she seemed tired by the second half of the course and had to take the long way round some sections. 

Jemima started the day saying she felt too rusty to go for the two most challenging gates. But on her first run she did. Unfortunately she didn’t get them, and the eddy line at gate 11 then caught her out and over she went; and as she didn’t roll (or even try) – she swam. But she wasn’t put off and she tackled the moving water much better on her second run and so collected some points in Div 3. 

So no trophies were collected, but everyone came away having had a good day and feeling they’d achieved something; apart from maybe Richie who came away saying he needs to get the weakness in his back sorted.

Roger
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