Saturday 16 October 2010

Wet & Ready:
Wavesport Sluice Rodeo
On Saturday 16th October the countrie's freestyle paddlers descended on a small village on the outskirts of Dublin for the celebrated Sluice Rodeo.
Event organiser Adrian Durrant reports on the action.,.

The sluice, as it is affectionately known, is Dublin’s premier play spot and is viewed, a little like Marmite, with mixed feelings by those who love it and those who hate it but respectfully try it.
The feature itself forms when the River Liffey floods and water constricts through an old sluice gate wall forming a hole/wave feature allowing opportunity for all freestyle tricks.
Competitors travelled from all regions of the country to participate in one of the biggest events of the year, the Wavesport Sluice Rodeo.

The whole competition took a fun format in the way of 15-minute jam sessions between five paddlers with a score sheet made up of variety including both tricks and fun elements. This format allows a lot of pressure to be taken off of the paddlers and gives people the chance to try bigger and more complex tricks with only the five highest scoring moves counting.

The heats kicked off with the Junior Men, probably the most hotly contested event of the day. Performing huge loops, cartwheels and waves, the junior men mixed new school tricks with old school fun, showing the crowd what they love to do best.

The Junior Women followed with a straight final between three young friends. It was, as always, was a close affair, with Caoimhe just pipping her sister Emer and good friend Niamh into 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The Sport classes were next with a new category for this year, the Masters, comprising of over 35’s. There was a fun feeling about the event and the guys took to the water to strut their stuff with loads of paddle spins, waves, rail grabs and even the odd air guitar.
This year local lad, Garvan Smith (over 35), took the win in this, his first competition, having been paddling for just over a year.

The Women’s Expert category went straight to final and all three ladies walked away with the exact same score meaning the prizes had to be shared amongst the three!
Last heat up was the Expert Men. This is really where the men are separated from the boys! Entertaining the crowd the experts really worked the sluice proving that experience and practice really does help in a tricky feature!

The men showed their class with huge space Godzilla’s, air loops and even the odd donkey flip for good luck. From to cool and controlled style of Ronnie to the high powered, fast rotating rides of Wongy. The men’s heats had it all. Out of the heats the top five riders went through to the finals in the afternoon, which kicked off with the Junior Men. Of the final five lads, two were locals and part of the increasingly famous “Sluice Crew”. Would this home advantage really pay off?

Robbie showed that practice makes perfect with a high scoring 265 landing loops and blunts with great vision and skill. The 2nd place also fell to a local lad, Alan Murphy, who was Junior League winner in 2009 and 3rd place went to new lad on the scene, Billy Brett from Kilkenny.

In the Expert Men final spectators enjoyed 15 minutes of pure class as some of Irelands top paddlers lay down moves and rides. The event was hard fought but it was the local lads that came out top Tom Dunphy (100% Sluice Nut), taking 1st with a huge score of 450. Second place went to event organiser Adrian Durrant and in 3rd place was Moogie, a monster of a man paddling a Gui Gui, showing glimpses of how big a composite boat will, and can, go in the Dublin Sluice.

After the finals it was time for the Boater X, a fun event where all the paddlers start upstream paddling down and through the Sluice with the first one making it to the bottom eddy winning. Picture 50 paddlers forcing their way through an 8ft gap and did I mention spray decks were banned! This caused some massive upsets with Derek Polo Conway taking the victory in a slalom boat brought along just for the occasion.

The Evening Party, held at The Canoe Centre, Palmerstown, was sponsored by Wavesport Ireland, rounding off a truly amazing event for all.

For more event information visit www.sluicerodeo.com