I've just arrived home after another tour of Europe (Germany, Luxembourg, Austria & Slovenia) which incorporated the 2010 European Freestyle Championships.
The venue was not the best for squirt but then it is rarely 'the best' for K1 either. Thankfully this year we held the squirt competition on the same feature as everyone else – which made it more exciting.
When I arrived at the competition I was 4 days later than most other squirt boaters and I was surprised that none of them had even been on the main feature because they were too scared. They even said, "we'll wait to James gets here and see what he does". They all waited until I got on and everyone was watching, some even had their video camera out recording me. I don’t know what the big fuss was, the feature wasn’t scary at all, in fact it was a lot of fun. It was a little bit too flushy for squirt but you could still pull a few cartwheels, blunts and then sub-out for a few seconds of underwater mystery move. I loved it.
Due to the current squirt rules being, well, rubbish, most of the squirt action takes place in the eddy. For the Euro Champs the eddy was small, and the only deep spot was even smaller and fast flowing. This meant you had to constantly be aware of where you were in the eddy to make sure you were in the deep spot and not about to drift onto the feature. This sort of spot suits me well because I have spent a lot of time training myself to actually ‘travel’ whilst doing moves. Basically whilst completing a move I can push the boat in any direction – this allows me to make sure I maintain my position in the deep spot of the eddy and complete my full run plan without having to stop. This was a huge advantage and I comfortably took won the European Champs for the 2nd time in a row. I even had more than 50% more points than my closest contender!
Bring on the World Champs!