Two years ago, I created a freestyle division in my club where I train young paddlers between 12 and 20 years old. At first we were only four, but the idea of paddling for fun, surfing, and learning new tricks with shorter boats spread quickly… More and more young paddlers came to see me and never left!
Today, I train 10 kids and am the president of the freestyle commission of Franche-Comté, the province in eastern France where I am from. My head is full of projects thanks to local youth`s ever-growing enthusiasm for freestyle. The first to become a reality was a freestyle event for all the clubs in the region. With the help of my club`s president and two friends (Luc Goujon and Amélie Bruet), I started to organize our first little competition! The goal was to bring together as many people as possible, of all ages and all levels. We wanted it to be a fun day dedicated to meeting other freestylers, paddling together, and learning new things.
The program : Freestyle competition and boarder cross race!
The big day arrived April 29th! At 7:30 all the volunteers were ready. Two hours later the super-hyped kids arrived. We were happy to see that the event had drawn paddlers of all ages – from beginners to veterans! This made for a great show in the competition and a great opportunity to meet one another. The young paddlers were thrilled to be on the water with Stéphane Pion and me, and we were more than happy to give them tips!
During the event, 40 competitors paddled the Voray sur l’Ognon basin. The sun was out for the competition, which featured everything from rolls by the beginners to McNasties and Phoenix Monkeys by the big kids. The boarder cross followed with a race that had competitors starting on foot and finishing standing up in their kayaks!
A big thank you to all the volunteers and see you next year!