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Ottawa XL

I flew to Canada the day after the end of my most stressful competition of the year: the French slalom team trails. I was very tired but also very happy. I had just made the senior national team and I knew I was about to have a really good time.

When I arrived in Ottawa Katrina Van Wijk, along with Mariann Saether and Devyn Scott picked me up at the airport and we headed straight to the Ruins wave. This kayak trip couldn’t have started any better ! With both the Ruins and Champlain waves running perfectly, we decided to spend the first couple of days in Ottawa. Wavesport team member, Devyn Scott, was throwing some ridiculous big tricks and combos out there !

After a final session at the Ruins on Thursday morning, we left the city and headed to the valley. The water levels on the Ottawa river were high and the infamous Gladiator wave was in. I was both scared and excited. Gladiator is definitely the most challenging wave I have ever surfed. This huge monster is located is the middle of, “coliseum”, one of the largest rapids of the river at this flow. To catch the wave you have to paddle hard across the top section of the rapid and you are pretty tired by the time you reach Gladiator. If you managed to catch it, you better expect to be out of control. Since the wave is constantly changing, it’s pretty chaotic out there. When you flush from the wave you need to be able to roll fast and paddle hard because you have to make it back to shore before “the ledge”, a massive river wide scary hole located 200m behind the wave.

When we first paddled the river run, I stopped and scouted Coliseum rapid. After overcoming my ambivalent feelings I decided to give it a go, I caught the wave and throw a blunt on my first try. Surfing this wave was a real blast and I just wanted to go again and again.

At the freestyle competition I managed to catch the wave most of the time and throw a few tricks. I had two scary moments: when my paddle was ripped out of one of my hands and then when the side of my skirt popped! Following these sketchy rides, I took notice of Nick Troutman’s words of wisdom : “hold your paddle” and “keep your skirt on”, and it went all good after that.

On the next day we swapped our freestyle boats for creekboats and raced the boatercross. I borrowed TC’s Diesel 80. I was leading most of the race but I was really tired and got back surfed in one of the big crushing waves above Gladiator. Katrina, (aka boatercross master), had a great line down Coliseum and took the win, I finished 2nd and Mariann Saether placed 3rd.

With the freestyle event I took the overall win of the Ottawa XL and I was really happy with the way I paddled both freestyle and creek after a long period mainly focusing on my slalom. In the men’s category, Tyler Curtis paddled super well and qualified for the next Whitewater Grand Prix placing 4th over all. Tyler Fox also showed some solid paddling skills and placed 7th.

I really enjoyed mixing both river running and freestyle skills at the same challenging event. I believe that mixing disciplines can only make you become a better paddler and I’m glad that events such as the WWGP or the Ottawa XL showcase and promote whitewater kayaking in the widest and best
possible way.


Special thanks to the Van Wijk family, Tyler Curtis and Pat Camblin

Photos: Jessica Droujko & Screen grabs

Tags: Buseater · girls freestyle · Gladiator · nouria newman · Ottawa XL · ruins · stakeout · Wave Sport

Rubrik: Teamblog  Poster: Nouria Newmanaktualisiert: 05.06.13 - 10:16

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