This year, the European Championships were in Bratislava, Slovakia. It was my first time going there and it’s such a sick place! There is a whitewater park with 2 channels, one for Slalom and another one where the hole is. The interesting part of the European is that it was also the Slalom Europeans there which made it even more fun as we could also watch the slalom boating!
To be ready for the Europeans, I started training in St Pierre de Boeuf in France, that’s where I started kayaking. It’s a super sick place with 3 holes, water is super hot (100°F=30°C) and it’s sunny all the time. So I spent pretty much 3 weeks over there training and camping with my friends, and then headed to Makinito for a week to work on some combos.
Then It was time to start the road to Slovakia, we were supposed to have 13 hours drive, so we left at 4 in the morning on Saturday and arrived the next day around 8am. It was a little longer than expected because we could’t go faster than 90 km/h in Switzerland. Once we got there, we went look at the hole and came back with my friend to get dressed up and try that hole. First impression of the hole was a little weird as I just came from Makinito that is the easiest hole in the world to this where it’s shallow, cyclic…etc
But still managed to get some tricks, I was stoked, but then I tried C1 and I literally couldn’t do anything and was kinda pissed. The next day was Team training so hoped that it will be better.
So first day of Team Training, we divided the team into two groups that way people who did K1 and C1 could switch. I started with K1 and it went well, had some good rides and decided to switch to C1 a little earlier than I supposed to that way I could work on my tricks. Figured out to do loops, then mc nasties onside and then took a little longer the figure out the off side but figured it out by the end.
2nd day of Team Training, had two sick rides in K1 and immediately switched to C1, literally couldn’t do anything else than the day before, so I worked on ends and did some split wheels and cartwheels.
3rd and last Team Training before the comp, my back was soar from C1 the last couple days so didn’t do C1 for that last day and focused on my K1 rides, had some good rides and was confident for the comp.
First day of the comp, started with the men prelims, followed with C1, had 2 descent rides that placed me in 3rd place behind Lukas Cervinka and Seb Devred. Was stoked with my rides and hoped to do the same in finals or even better. K1 Junior were the next day, I had two good rides that placed me 1st going into semis. Semis were a little tighter but still made it into finals in 1st place.
Finals were all the same day on Sunday, first was C1 I think, had a first good ride, 500pts, pretty stoked on the ride, didn’t really have a goal as I couldn’t do much during training. I was 3rd going into the 2nd ride behind Lukas who got a massive 1000pts, sick ride, nothing to say! And in second place was Seb with 600 something pts. Going in the hole for my second ride and damn I did a 786 pts ride sliding into 2nd place, was super stoked on this one. I knew Seb and Jean-Yves could do better than me, Seb’s second ride was good but not enough to take the lead, and Lukas was still in 1st place. At that point we all had one ride left, Philip dropped into the hole, got a huge entry mc nasty and nice loop and mc nasty, he ended up 5th. It was Jean-Yves’s turn, he was in 4th place and he definitely wants to do better than that and everyone knew he could do it. Unfortunately he didn’t handle the pressure and stayed in 4th position with a 540 pts ride. It was now my turn, knew I couldn’t do better but I still tried, didn’t beat my second ride. Seb dropping into the hole determined to get that 1st place, did an entry, kinda missed it and tried a loop missed it again. Oliver(my friend/coach) told me it’s over, you’ve got that 2nd place. I knew he could still beat me, and he did, had such a sick ride in only 30 seconds as he missed the first 15seconds of his ride. I was stoked for him and a little disappointed at the same timeout on the other hand I did a lot better than I though I could in this hole.
But the day wasn’t finished, I still had Junior finals, right after C1. Switched boat, ate a bar and got ready for K1, all the Juniors went and they did some good rides but they could do much better, then the head judge gave me the thumb up and dropped in the hole, had a hard 10 first seconds and then it was better, got 1116 pts taking the first place. On the second ride the places stayed the same except that I improved my score, 1273pts. Matt Stephenson from great britain dropped in the hole for his last ride and got a 746 pts ride and unfortunately stayed in 4th place with 24 points less than Harry. Harry dropped in the hole and was the only one that could change the order and couldn’t do better, so he stayed in 3rd place. Last ride for me and really wanted to get 1500 pts but didn’t handle the pressure… but still finished in 1st place and was super stoked!
Super stoked to defend my title from 2 years ago in Plattling that was my first ICF comp, this year was my final year in the Junior Category so the Europeans was my last ICF competition in Junior and I can’t wait for next year to compete against the seniors!