Friday, September 05, 2008

Isn't there Cheese in Switzerland?

Ahh. Switzerland, the land of vast mountains, peacefulness, and lots of cheese... or something like that. :-) Here we are, Thun the final of three events in the World Cup 2008. Hard to believe we have all come this far in only three weeks. We all took over the car park right by the wave, every morning locals would wake up to dirty, smelly kayakers sleeping in parking spots. We, on the other hand would wake up to the bells of the Church pictured above, some sort of blow horn or other noise maker, or just someone coughing from the cold that was going around all of the World Cup competitors. Everyone was going out hard. How can't you? We have been together for three weeks and the relationships that you build with these people is amazing. We all knew we only had a few days left. Everyone was thinking about when we were hopefully going to meet up again, Thun 2009 for Worlds.The city had been working hard on making the "perfect wave" for last many years. They change the dam doors shown above to make a wave that people will wait in line for, for hours. Thun was undoubtedly the most beautiful destination in the whole World Cup and also the most convenient, nestled right in the middle of town, meaning all of the action. The water is warm enough to swim comfortably and clear enough to see the GINORMOUS carps swimming below us.This was a typical line in the eddy at pretty much every hour of the day. I heard that at one point it was 3 am and there were still ten people waiting in the eddy for their turn to surf. The wave was flushy so people got as many rides as they could before competition began.A fellow Liquid Logic kayaker doing a round-house in a Scooter.Me, doing what I do best, chatting it up with junior man Maxime from France. Most of the French team was paddling these composite boats called Gui-Gui Prods. They were quite cool and even though they were higher in volume they could go so big because the boats were so light, that's definitely a good idea for a playboat. Oh please don't window shade! I sadly didn't make the first cut again but my mind wasn't really in the competition while I was on the wave. I had found out that a good friend of mine had died while he was kayaking in Tennessee the day before. Isaac, I will always remember you with a huge smile on your face and loving your life. You touched the lives of many and will always be thought of on the river. The river, and the world, is a different place without you in it. May you rest in peace.Oh yea big back surf!
So, since I didn't compete very well, all I had left to do was go to the Losers Party at Cafe Mokka right down the road from the car park that we had taken over. As we all know I love men in uniform, and look, I found some! These guys are part of the Swiss Army and get this, they have drinking uniforms. Nicole and I "borrowed" their hats and wore them around for the night, wow we look good! The guys were really cool and explained that they were mandated by the government to do at least a year in the Army in their life. But Switzerland is known for its talented ability to stay neutral so really going into the Army there means finding more drinking friends.

Day two of the competition the Men, Women and Juniors all cut down to five for finals that would be held on Sunday. After all of the serious competition most of the competitors partook in a Big Air rodeo and King of the Wave. King of the wave was impressive and I'm sure that some people came out of it bruised and battered, but it was sure fun to watch!
Oh, finals day. The Frenchies definitely took the cake for being the loudest crew there. They had a 50 gallon drum that they were bashing on, this dude, and multiple different noise makers like a megaphone. We were lucky to have great weather so the girls were all tanning and they guys were setting up their cameras for the finals. Once the competition started everyone was awake and we all witnessed some of the best kayaking that will be seen.
Stephen Wright came on strong, doing both McNastys, both Phonix Monkeys, and a HUGE big air loop at the end of his ride. This ride put him in second at the end of the day which was great after his last 2 competitions ended with him in 6th place. The next ride that we saw was history. Pan Ams both ways, both helixes, huge Donkey Flips, and one last big Clean Air Blunt, done by the Canadian Nick Troutman. This ride ended up putting him second overall in the World Cup standings.

Huge congratulations to: Emily Jackson, for winning the Womens World Cup 2008 even though she was sick the whole time, that shows a true competitor. Ruth Gordon, who was always right there to remind Emily that she needed to work harder. Nick Troutman, for having the highest score of the whole World Cup and taking 2nd overall. Little Palmer, for getting third in Augsburg. Dane Jackson, for killing the competition that was much bigger than him in both C-1 and K-1. Jason Craig, for making me believe that 15 year olds can fly. Stephen Wright, for finally getting up on that podium and showing that wave who's boss. Dustin Urban, in third overall World Cup standings and on his soon to be addition to the family, Dustin and Katie will be fantastic parents. And to Eric Jackson, for being a true competitor and for his new addition to his family, KC, welcome to the world, I hope it is all you dreamed of, good luck.
I have one special thanks to Clay Wright. For pulling my head back up when it was down. For teaching me what really matters is not how well you do but that you enjoy doing it. He has instilled a new respect for playboating that I had lost a long time ago. If I had the chance to do this again, I would in a second. The places that you see and the people that you meet along the way, those things are unforgettable.
I'm off to the Ottawa in Canada for about a week then back to the dirty south.
Check back in soon!

1 comment:

Raoul said...

He adrian!
Nice to see some writings of you here on the web! Been lazy myself i think;-) You miss the dutch champs here, damn you should have been there!
I search you on facebook...
Ciao, Raoul