16 October 2010
Wavesport Sluice Rodeo
Saturday 16th October the countrie's freestyle paddlers descended on
a small village on the outskirts of Dublin for the celebrated Sluice
Event organiser Adrian Durrant reports on the action.,.
The sluice, as
it is affectionately known, is Dublin’s premier play spot and
is viewed, a little like Marmite, with mixed feelings by those who love
it and those who hate it but respectfully try it.
The feature itself forms when the River Liffey floods and water constricts
through an old sluice gate wall forming a hole/wave feature allowing
opportunity for all freestyle tricks.
Competitors travelled from all regions of the country to participate
in one of the biggest events of the year, the Wavesport Sluice Rodeo.
The whole competition
took a fun format in the way of 15-minute jam sessions between five
paddlers with a score sheet made up of variety including both tricks
and fun elements. This format allows a lot of pressure to be taken off
of the paddlers and gives people the chance to try bigger and more complex
tricks with only the five highest scoring moves counting.
The heats kicked
off with the Junior Men, probably the most hotly contested event of
the day. Performing huge loops, cartwheels and waves, the junior men
mixed new school tricks with old school fun, showing the crowd what
they love to do best.
The Junior Women
followed with a straight final between three young friends. It was,
as always, was a close affair, with Caoimhe just pipping her sister
Emer and good friend Niamh into 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The Sport classes
were next with a new category for this year, the Masters, comprising
of over 35’s. There was a fun feeling about the event and the
guys took to the water to strut their stuff with loads of paddle spins,
waves, rail grabs and even the odd air guitar.
This year local lad, Garvan Smith (over 35), took the win in this, his
first competition, having been paddling for just over a year.
Expert category went straight to final and all three ladies walked away
with the exact same score meaning the prizes had to be shared amongst
Last heat up was the Expert Men. This is really where the men are separated
from the boys! Entertaining the crowd the experts really worked the
sluice proving that experience and practice really does help in a tricky
The men showed
their class with huge space Godzilla’s, air loops and even the
odd donkey flip for good luck. From to cool and controlled style of
Ronnie to the high powered, fast rotating rides of Wongy. The men’s
heats had it all. Out of the heats the top five riders went through
to the finals in the afternoon, which kicked off with the Junior Men.
Of the final five lads, two were locals and part of the increasingly
famous “Sluice Crew”. Would this home advantage really pay
Robbie showed that
practice makes perfect with a high scoring 265 landing loops and blunts
with great vision and skill. The 2nd place also fell to a local lad,
Alan Murphy, who was Junior League winner in 2009 and 3rd place went
to new lad on the scene, Billy Brett from Kilkenny.
In the Expert Men
final spectators enjoyed 15 minutes of pure class as some of Irelands
top paddlers lay down moves and rides. The event was hard fought but
it was the local lads that came out top Tom Dunphy (100% Sluice Nut),
taking 1st with a huge score of 450. Second place went to event organiser
Adrian Durrant and in 3rd place was Moogie, a monster of a man paddling
a Gui Gui, showing glimpses of how big a composite boat will, and can,
go in the Dublin Sluice.
After the finals
it was time for the Boater X, a fun event where all the paddlers start
upstream paddling down and through the Sluice with the first one making
it to the bottom eddy winning. Picture 50 paddlers forcing their way
through an 8ft gap and did I mention spray decks were banned! This caused
some massive upsets with Derek Polo Conway taking the victory in a slalom
boat brought along just for the occasion.
The Evening Party,
held at The Canoe Centre, Palmerstown, was sponsored by Wavesport Ireland,
rounding off a truly amazing event for all.
more event information visit www.sluicerodeo.com