|Name:||British White Water Rafting Team|
|Occupation:||White Water Rafting|
|Honours Mens:||2008 Men R6 European Sprint 1st
2009 Men R6 World Sprint 1st
2009 Men R6 World Championships 3rd
2010 Men R4 European Sprint 2nd
5 years running British Mens Champions
|Honours Womens:||2009 Womens R6 World Sprint 1st
2009 Womens R6 European Sprint 1st
2009 Womens R4 European Championships 1st
5 years running British Womens Champions
Hi there, thanks for talking to us today. So, what has 2010 been like for you guys in the Rafting world?
Hi Extreme Element. 2010 has been good so far, we’ve been busy promoting rafting in the UK and getting our teams ready for a summer of races around the world.
We have some great races coming up with our Youth Teams making their first entrance into a World Rafting Championships and our Senior Teams heading to Holland, Italy and China.
So what do these competitions consist of?
The International Rafting Federation are the Governing body for Raft Racing and they set out the race rules and format. There are four current types, which are:
Time Trial – Racing down a rapid against the clock.
Head to Head – Two teams race down the same section of white water, first over the line goes through to the next round.
Slalom – Very much like canoe slalom but gates are wider and the chances of raft flips and big swims are increased.
Endurance –A tough head to head race down a 15 km stretch of river, with teams having to remember all the rapids on the section to achieve a quick run, which is about 45 minutes.
Some events are now run on artificial white water courses. This requires teams to practice many loops of the course, which can be tiring and proves a massive test of fitness & team work.
What will the rest of the year hold for you?
We have a World Rafting Championship this year in R4 (rafting for 4 people) in Holland at the Dutch Water Dreams, a state of the art pumped white water course. Holland will host the first ever R4 worlds, as in previous years we only had R6 (6 people) World Championships.
We also have a R6 European Championships in Northern Italy this summer with Great Britain taking 8 teams away to compete on Alpine White Water
Where in the UK would you say are the best places for Rafting? Real or man-made?
The current development in UK facilities is bringing White Water Sports to people’s door steps. With each site having its own special features, it is hard to say which is best. However, the option of guaranteed white water – regardless of rain, make artificial courses very practical.
The British Team top 5 locations for Raft Racing and Training are:
Nottingham National Water Sports Centre – This site still has the largest volume of constant white water in the UK. No pumps required so it is also very Eco-Friendly.
Cardiff (South Wales) – International White Water Course – Brand new state of the art facility, with luxury items like the conveyor belt taking rafts back to the top – which makes maximum use of your white water time. This type of course is very similar to the type used at the R4 World Championships, hence a great training ground for the teams.
Teesside White Water Course – Just under going a re-development, Teesside offers a good water volume with split use of pumps and a natural drop, dependant on tide height
Canolfan Tryweryn (North Wales) – The natural river creates an exciting section of rapids and is a very good spot for beginners. No pumps again so a big Eco thumps up!
River Tummel (Scotland) – Scotland is great for steepness, and lots of rain! We don’t really train there that much unfortunately, which is a shame because it really does host some of the best natural rivers.
Where do you train and what does it involve?
The teams train as often as possible on the raft, which is around twice a week if the members live in the same area. Each individual trains in the gym and on the water in Kayaks and Canoes to build up strength when not with the team. Rowing Machines play a big part of our development and the head game of pushing through the aches and pains. We have coaches that set training schedules and programmes to focus on specific moves and event elements.
What has been your best memory in the sport?
The First selection event we ever had, at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham in 2005. We won every event and then partied hard that evening!! This was the start of big things for rafting and raft racing in Britain, as the team members have really pushed to progress the sport against all odds. Team GB is now a force to be reckoned within the World Circuit.
What is the best thing about Rafting for you?
The team element is for sure a massive buzz, achieving something that you have trained hard for and hoped for. The explosion of emotions on a raft between team mates after a race is spine tingling. Plus travelling and experiencing the world’s rivers is a gift. To see landscapes from the river perspective is totally different which you just don’t get with most other sports.
Have the team ever been in a Rafting crash or been injured?
The men’s team took a bit of a hit in Norway a few years ago. As part of the Extreme Sports Veko event in Voss Norway we ran a massive waterfall called Timber Hole. Split into two sections, the initial 20 ft drop runs into a 50 ft slide landing which fires onto a cliff wall at the bottom. I took the first hit when I smashed my face on the back of my team mate’s helmet, and then another team mate bust his ankle as we span in the first pool, sending us down the next drop backwards. Not the best of runs!!
As far as injury goes most of our big injuries occur on the dance floor or in the bar after a big event!
Have there been any big developments in Rafting during your time, and do you see any coming in the future?
The biggest development we are currently having is the growth of raft racing in the UK. With many new facilities being built we could continue to see teams developing around the country, securing the future of this extremely exciting sport in the UK. For the future we would hope to see rafting included as an Olympic sport, even if it was just as a demonstration for the sport.
How would you recommend somebody get into Rafting?
In the past this has been very difficult to take up on your own steam, but with the work the British Team are doing it’s getting much easier.
For simply having a go or a basic level entry a good method is to try an experience like these here on Extreme Element where all of the equipment and instruction is provided.
If you are a bit more serious about it and are looking to take it a bit further then you could get involved with our British Raft Team Series. You can enter a team of 6 people into the event; we take the time to teach you the basics of rafting and how to control the raft with your team (no guide).
This takes place on flat water and should you pass the Entry award, you can enter the event without the need for a raft guide. The aim of these events and our awards scheme is to get you and your team racing safely on your own. All the events are held at specially designed sites allowing us to manage the safety and allow teams gain the skills to progress.
Thanks a lot for talking to us today guys, and good luck with this year’s competitions.
White Water Rafting is available all year round at some locations, and from March to November in others. Click to see where your nearest White Water run is and experience the awesome sport for yourself!
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