The following report was provided by CANI Surf Squad Member Mathew Lamont on his experiences during the European Surf Kayak Championships in Mimizan, France.
I arrived on the Wednesday before the competition at about one o’clock and was collected with fellow surf kayaker Kieran Mcdyre from Bordeaux airport by my brother and my dad who were already out in Mimizan, before traveling to the campsite we were staying at. The next day brought with it good waves and I had some great moves which left me feeling really positive going into the competition as I have really struggled to get my finishing manoeuvres to the same level as my competitors for a long time, it felt really good to be finally doing this, in fact, this probably made them that much more satisfying due to the time taken to get them to a good level to compete on waves that suit a more “above the lip style” with only a single manoeuvre, rather than waves that suit a more “on the face style” using rail to rail surfing with multiple turns and variations.
The Friday brought with it registration in the morning and a free T-shirt! With the decision to hold off on the start of the kayak event to run the waveski’s we went down the beach for a free surf and continued along the same trend with lots of great surfing from myself and Kieran. Initially it was decided to run a 30 minute, 6 man final on the Sunday due to the low numbers of competitors, however this was changed to 2×3 man semis on with the top two from each going through to the final with semis on Saturday and finals on Sunday. I found my heat very tough with very few rideable waves and I missed out on the biggest waves with the most potential for scoring due to poor wave selection, putting me into second, just enough to make it into the finals.
Sunday morning came and I was determined to pick off better waves and surf to the best of my ability, The heat began and all four of us quickly got a few waves under our belt so that we would have the two necessary scoring rides, and then set about waiting for the best waves, that would allow us to have maximum scoring potential. I managed to hold off the other competitors much better than I had the previous day to get the bigger waves with more scoring potential. I surfed every wave as hard as I could, determined to have surfed as well as I possibly could. As the heat progressed there were fewer and fewer set waves coming through. I kept giving every wave my all and it paid off, after waiting a few hours for the other competitions to finish, we all arrived back at the competition site to wait for the result, AND I GOT SECOND IN THE EUROPEAN OPEN SHORT BOAT, beating some really talented surfers, which made the result feel incredibly important despite the low numbers of entrants, as all of the entrants were very good surfers. And those finishing manoeuvres I worked so hard to get, the waves didn’t suit them on Saturday or Sunday so I guess I’ll have to wait to get some in competition.
Thanks to Peak UK, Gath Helmets UK, TKC Sales LTD, Canoe Association NI and VE Paddles for all the support, providing great kit and great coaching.