So as team training week begun my plan for four days rest quickly turned into two and a half days rest followed by one, 20 minute, team training slot which equaled about four runs in the feature and then another days rest. A change from what I originally had planned but only because I felt good and rested and wanted to go for a quick fun test paddle. I actually felt great for doing it to. I did just two competition runs which went really well and a play couple of runs, throwing some of the bigger tricks just in case I need them and get chance to use them in the comp, but it went well and put me in a great head space going into the event. Confident, knowing the feature well and rested I was feeling ready and excited for the event.

Last training session with Hitomi
Cameras everywhere
World Champion Emily Jackson practices her routine

The rest of the team training slots as I was off the water resting and Den was not only coaching but also competing this year we changed roles each day and I would spend our team training slots coaching Den and then straight after the British team it was the Australian and New Zealand teams slots. So I would stay down and enjoy some chill time by the feature coaching the Aussie’s and Kiwis. I spend a lot of time coaching these athletes every year so it was awesome to be able to help them tidy up their runs and tricks ready for them to challenge their personal bests at the competition. It was also super cool seeing Den finally being able to showcase his talent on the water. He is such a talented coach but he is also a phenomenal freestyle athlete which sometimes goes unnoticed so this was his chance to shin and it was a pleasure to be there alongside him.

Long term paddler development with young Aussie Christian
‘Straylia coaches Me & Josh
So much fun working with Den

Aside from this 20 min paddling slot the rest of the official team training days I spent checking out the venue and getting used to the new infrastructure that was going up and the atmosphere down at the venue. I also had loads of time to catch up with friends and family from around the world. Knowing how hectic the actual competition week gets it was great to have a few days to see everyone before the madness of the main event kicks in.

The venue begins to take shape
The squirt boaters make the most of the designated training slot
Catching up with friends from around the world
Hanging out with team Australia between sessions

I also worked with local school teacher Vanessa to arrange some school visits. Each day different countries would send a team of athletes to local schools to visit and chat to the kids . Introducing them to freestyle kayaking and the competition that was coming up. But also giving them the opportunity to learn a little about different cultures and a chance to practice their English. This is a project that Jez created that has been running for a number of years at Freestyle World Championships and provides a really important community link.

Team GB juniors introduce local kids to kayaking
Inspiring the next generation
Team USA juniors
Team Canada, Team Poland, Team Spain so many athlete volunteering their time to help

There was also a really cool development programme being run by the ICF. I had a spare boat with me and was super happy to see it being used by this amazing project. Here is a link to the video their awesome coach Nouria Neuman made of their adventures in San Juan.

https://www.facebook.com/nourianewmankayak/videos/1191256477677691/?fref=mentions&pnref=story

They made these awesome signs to say thank you to everyone who lent them boats and helped them out.

Plus I made a video highlighting my favorite tricks and also helping explain what to look for and a little bit about what the tricks are worth and how the judging works that excitingly has already had over 10,000 hits.

Another iconic thing that happens every World Championships during team training week is the official GB team meal. This year it took place at the really traditional Argentinian house that the team manager and coaches were staying at. With a pool, big garden and three BBQ’s it was the perfect place for us to gather for an inspirational talk and celebration with great food before the event. Thanks to everyone back home who sent messages of support for the team which were read out on the night.

GB Team Dinner
Funky Argentina Home photo 1
Funky Argetina home photo 2

Then with one day to go Jez arrived from Australia which was awesome the final piece to the puzzle. The World Championships preparations now felt complete. Jez got one hour of training in before he was into the on the ground madness joining the ICF committee and World Championships organizing team to coordinate and help pull together the final pieces for the event. Jez as always throwing himself into the deep end being involved in a million and one projects and being a very important component of making this whole event work. This year Jez is on the ICF Freestyle Committee and has been working tirelessly all year helping organize the whole event. Plus he is the lead announcer and in charge of the announcing team for the entire World Championships. As well as this as Chair of the Australian Freestyle Committee and head coach helping make sure the Aussie team are ready and prepared for and of course he is competing in the C1 class. So he arrived to absolute madness but it was really cool to see him (even if it was just for 5 minutes) and have him finally on the ground in Argentina.

He made it just in time for 1 quick training session