Kayakers Win World’s Largest Freestyle Competition

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Southampton University Canoe Club claimed first place in the worlds biggest freestyle competition last month.

Over March 2-4, the National Student Rodeo was held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham and  Southampton University Canoe Club (SUCC) were out in force, ending the competition with a record 10 finalists and 4 podium finishes. This success, along with the performance of each and every competitor that paddled throughout the weekend saw the prize coming home to Southampton for the first time in the event’s nine-year history.

The National Student Rodeo claims to be the largest freestyle kayaking competition in world with over 1000 students from over 40 universities in attendance. In 2011 SUCC were the winners of the ‘Spirit of NSR’ award, the event’s event’s most lucrative prize which bagged the club sponsorship with the UK’s biggest manufacturer of kayaks, Pyranha, and a fleet of six new boats for a year.

Eric Stakie throwing his moves

Last year’s taste of  success has evidently spurred the club on to bigger wins in 2012, winning the overall points competition to claim the much sought after prize: a brand new, unique, tiger striped kayak.

The event is run by Leeds University Canoe Club and River Legacy, who provide entertainment and food on Friday and Saturday nights. This year Southampton took 54 competitors, the biggest contingent of any university canoe club for the second successive year.

Finalists included Pete Ainscow (1st place Men’s Novice), Sam Faithfull (3rd place, Men’s Intermediate), Tom Keogh (2nd place Squirt boat), Jack Gunter (C1), Pernille Fladsrud (Women’s Novice), Rich Field (Men’s novice), Matt Wright (Men’s Intermediate), Thom Guy (Men’s Intermediate), Andrew Waterfield (C1), Michael Green and Luke Kelland (Duo).

If you would like more information about the Canoe Club, send an email to canoe@soton.ac.uk or check out their website: canoe.susu.org.

Words: Thom Guy
Photos: Andrew Sylvester

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