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Ambassador Lowri Davies is an incredibly accomplished competitive freestyle kayaker, with podiums around the world, including past European Championships and Great British Championships. We've loved watching her progression this year, and she dreams of putting that hard work to the test at the World Freestyle Championships in Argentina! As with many female action sports athletes, she will have to fund this trip largely with her own money, and she is currently fundraising to help cover the costs. We interviewed her to find out more.
What would going to the world championship mean to you?
The World Championships is an opportunity to try and put all the pieces of the puzzle together to show my best to the world. Part of that is wanting to be part of a spectacular show that inspires others to want to do freestyle or push themselves to learn new tricks themselves. Especially women and girls. The ladies field is progressing super fast right now and it's such an exciting time to be a part of it. We are all learning new tricks and redefining "what women can do in a kayak" on a weekly basis!
What inspires you to push your limits in Kayaking?
I love trying new things, learning and improving. That's one of the awesome things about freestyle kayaking, there's always new tricks to learn, or new ways to combine / link the moves or new features to surf and do those tricks on. Every wave is different so you need a variety of techniques and tactics for each trick.
How is freestyle kayaking different from other disciplines?
Freestyle is a part of kayaking done on white water, but unlike normal white water kayaking where the aim of the game is to descend the river, freestyle is about surfing the waves and stoppers that form in the river. Freestyle is all about making your short, flat hulled boat shoot into the air and fling it around various axis to perform various tricks such as loops, cartwheels, space godzillas and McNasties.
Tell us about what competitive kayaking is like. How is it judged?
So in freestyle we get 2 x 45 second rides on the wave. If you fall of the wave in that 45 seconds, the timer does not stop, so you best paddle fast back to the wave to get more tricks done. There's a list of tricks, with each trick having a specific definition and a score attributed to it. During your ride you need to tick off as many of those moves as you can, to get the maximum score you can. There are bonus points for seamlessly linking moves together, getting loads of air time or completing the trick without putting your paddle in the water. Easier moves score less points, but are usually less likely to make you flush off the wave so there's always a bit of tactics in deciding which moves to go for and in what order.
What would you say to someone interested in trying whitewater kayaking?
Do it! Go along to your local club or white water centre and get some lessons. They will have all the gear and will keep things safe and fun while you get the hang of things!