So the 2019 Euro Open has been and gone, and I’m still not sure I’ve quite recovered from it. Months of planning on the lead up to it seems like nothing when the actual weekend comes around. But once that first freestyle heat kicked off on the Saturday morning it was all worth it.
The euro open is one of the biggest freestyle events in the UK, and is growing every year. With a huge range of events, it draws in paddlers of all ages and abilities to have good fun. From seeing the pro’s slay the freestyle on the saturday to seeing the smallest juniors take to the waters on their pool inflatables on the sunday, it is a weekend not to be missed! The pop up chapatti stand by resident chef Izzy Bruno was a HUGE draw too!
This year saw the biggest turn out, with over 150 entries for Saturday’s freestyle event, this included paddlers from Spain, Germany, Ireland, Austria and even Japan! The freestyle was set out with three different paddling abilities, expert, intermediate and novice. The novice paddlers were down at the ‘fairy wave’ pulling out some of the funniest and most exciting runs consisting of paddle spins, cosmic donkeys and mcnope’s, all tricks from the Nottingham Freestyle League fun score sheet. The experts and intermediates were up at the ‘twin wave’, where they were taking it a bit more seriously with the proper strict ICF score sheet.
These experts and intermediates were fighting it out for a place in that nights finals, only the top five making it through. Our international paddlers showed what they had, with the finals consisting of a good mix of paddlers. A few runs and results of note were in the senior categories, with the Austrian Denise Rebnegger taking home the win, just pipping Britains Lowri Davies to the post. The mens final was a big one too with hometown favourites Rob Crowe and Gav Barker being pushed hard by Irelands David McClure. It came down to the last ride of the finals, and just 20 points for the winner to be decided, which was of course Rob Crowe, David taking the silver and Gav bronze.
Once the finals were done it was off to the rugby club where River Legacy had set up for another amazing party with some top ales and beers on tap!
A quiet and weary Sunday morning was host to the boater X heats. Around 100 people raced it off to progress through the rounds and to the afternoons finals, but only the top 4 of each category could make it. A few quick (and very funny) round of Duo boater x rounded the morning off with some epic carnage.
The next race on the cards was easily everyone’s favourite, the pool inflatable race! Only one rule for this……. pool inflatables only, nothing made to go down whitewater! From avocados to zebras, and everything imaginable inbetween. Easily one of the most colourful, and carnage filled races of the weekend. The banks were full and the paddlers went for it. Somehow, with every paddler intact and accounted for, everyone made it down. But a quick run up to the ‘fairy wave’ saw the start of inflatable freestyle, a chance to surf a flamingo and take out a unicorn, not something you see every Sunday afternoon!
Boater X finals finished the weekend off, and this saw more international success! It was David McClure who was back with a vengeance, looking to take at leat one gold home from the weekend. He fought hard with the other men, and took that win. In the ladies it was an international battle again, with an Austrian, Irish and two brits racing down. Another carnage filled run, with each lady showing how keen they were to take the win. But as they crossed the finish line it was Austrian Denise who took the win, with British Tamsyn and Irish Aofie close behind.
It was a class weekend, helped by the sun being out. Thanks to everyone who came down, and all who helped out. So much to do before the next edition (like run a world cup and get married!) but we will be back next September on the 5th and 6th! See you then!
Chief playboy James Ibbo Ibbortson
All image credits to Tom Clare of Tom Clare Photography