Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hometown Throwdown

If you are not from Charlotte or a USNWC regular you may not have heard of the World Kayak Hometown Throwdowns.  They are a series of fun kayak competitions held to bring the kayaking community together and introduce people to the sport.  This past weekend was my first throwdown.

I was convinced by Chris Wing, an instructor at the USNWC, that getting off of work to compete in a freestyle competition was the thing I needed to do this past Saturday.  I was hesitant at first because a) I was supposed to be working, and b) I had never tried to playboat before.  I will say however that I love to surf!  There are few things better than sliding down the face of a glassy wave or simply carving edges back and forth on something smaller.  Needless to say I got off of work, showed up at the center early and a did slalom workout, then met up with Chris for a little coaching.

The way World Kayak has the competitions set up is awesome.  Everyone is encouraged to participate.  They keep the competition light by giving points out for everything, including front surfs, paddle waves, and window shades - my favorite.  In this particular competition each amateur was paired with a pro to create a team.  The pros were scored according to international rules while the amateurs were scored according to having fun - anything remotely like a move got points.  My team consisted of Chris Wing, Marian Davidson, and myself.  Each competitor gets three 45 second rides - or time to play on the wave and throw tricks.

While Chris was throwing huge tricks and being generally awesome and Marian was surfing and spinning away, my competition went about like this:
Fergus Cofey (the announcer): Catie it is your turn in the hole.
Fergus Cofey: Catie I think you have to get in the hole to play on it.  And there she goes.  Catie is one of our local slalom paddl.....
Gurgle Gurgle Gurgle Gurgle
Huge Cheers
Gurgle Gurgle Gurgle Gurgle
Huge Cheers
Gurgle Gurgle Gurgle Gurgle
Huge Cheers and a Sigh of relief from me
What that actually translates into is three consective power shades in which I apparently did some sort of actual trick that I will never be able to repeat followed by me finally rolling up and cursing myself for rolling up so fast that I stayed in the hole and had to immediately start surfing again.
But I must admit I had the largest grin on my face!

While I may love the speed and dynamicism I gain from my slalom boat the sheer enjoyment of playing in a hole was amazing!  Chris swore that the moment I tried I would be hooked and convert.  I'm not quite sure on the converting part, but I will say I am hooked!

While each of us may have a specialty there is something to be said for switching it up every once in a while and enjoying different things.  Not only can new things be fun, but there is a lot to be learned from them.  It can break old habits, force you to focus more, and even totally remove you from your comfort zone.  Although I may not playboat everyday from here on out, I do know that I will jump at the chance to participate in another Hometown Throwdown and playboat anytime someone wants to go out.

Thanks to Chris Wing for his patience this weekend.  While I only managed to powerflip every time he asked me to work on something, I had a great time!

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