The World Championships in freestyle kayaking will take place between 27 November to 2 December in San Juan, Argentina. In this short post, you’ll find out about my previous experience at the World Championships and learn what to expect.

When I went to Argentina for the first time to take a part in the last year’s World Cup (read more about it here) I was excited to see a country that I had only heard about during geography lessons in school. I remembered many stories about beautiful landscapes, the mighty Andes mountains and the history of this big country. Argentina is one of the biggest countries in the world, where you can encounter four kinds of weather and various landscapes. Besides our passion for kayaking, our love of travelling also helped Zosia and I decide to go to Argentina.

In Argentina, you can find incredible rivers, deserts, waterfalls, the Andes, beautiful beaches and even glaciers and snow during all year long. People are very friendly there and Argentinian cuisine is so good that it is known across the world. It provides some local specialities like the famous Argentinian beef, really tasty wines Syrah and Malbec, which are the most popular kinds in San Juan region, olive oil, dulce de leche, empanadas, fernet drink and many more.

Kayak Club San Juan

Kayaking in San Juan started officially in 2010 when Kayak Club San Juan started their mission. After only seven years, the Club crew is organised what became the most important freestyle kayaking event in the world. Believe me, these guys know how to organise big events. Last year’s World Cups were organised at a very high level of standard, and because of that, I’m sure that this year’s Worlds will be a great event too.

For the first time, paddlers from Argentina took a part in the World Championships in 2011 in Plattling. This was beginning of their way to create their National Team which for sure will be big and full of talented paddlers during Worlds. Kayak Club San Juan and local kayak community during last seven years made a big effort to achieve their goals that contributed to the development of sports activity in the region. After sending first two paddlers as Team Argentina to World Championships in 2011, they continued on with the 1st South American official kayak freestyle event where Jackson Team member Clay Wright was one of the participants.

In 2013, paddlers and delegation from Argentina and Kayak Club San Juan took a part in  2013 World Championships in the USA. In 2014, paddlers from Argentina were competing in the World Cup events in Spain. In 2015, they were competing in Canada. In 2016, they organized two World Cup events in San Juan, and this year they are doing the most important event in our sport – the World Championships.

All this effort in San Juan helped develop freestyle kayaking across the country and has brought plenty of young paddlers from Argentina into the sport. Freestyle and kayaking in overall is growing sport among young locals.

The feature

The event venue provides a stable and very nice semi-sized hole where I can expect scores over 1,500 points in K1M and I’m pretty sure that ladies can beat their 1,000 points. The river bank is very nice and friendly – more like a beach than a river bank!

Check out my training sessions before the 2016 World Cup to have a look at the surf spot:


You can leave your boat, paddle and all your kit in boat park where are two huge metal containers that will remain locked overnight.

Accommodation

Zosia and I will stay in Belvere Hotel, which is one of the recommended ones that you can find at official webpage of competition 2017argentinakayak.com

I’m sure you will find in the list of recommended hotels and accommodation which will fit your expectations, but it would be nice to all stay in one place, so join us in Belvere. We chose this one because it has a good standard in fair price compared to the other hotels.

To enquire about accommodation and make reservations, you can contact with organisers at enquiries@2017argentinakayak.com

Food

Last year, we mainly had dinner at three restaurants which are pretty close to each other in the centre of San Juan and provides tasty local specials. Important thing is to remember that full card of food is available after 7-8 pm before you can order pasta or pizza.

Remolacha Parrilla Restaurante – here you will pay between 15 to 25 $ for a huge steak with salad and drink. You can sit in the garden there, with a nice atmosphere and tasty food.
Baró Restaurant – You can eat something good here between 12 to 20 $ with drinks. Before 7-8 pm half of menu is available.
Un Rincón de Nápoli – you can eat pizza, pasta and also meat dishes here, such as beef or pork but here you can eat something with a drink between 8 to 20 $ on the other side of the wall is a supermarket.

In each of those restaurants, it’s possible to eat something without vegetarian meals. Although Argentina is well known for beef and steaks, but if you are vegetarian, you don’t need to worry.

Argentina is also famous for their delicious ice-cream. In San Juan, you can get it at many coffee places. Another famous thing is Yerba Mate. Walking along main streets you can find many places where you can buy Mate and all needed accessories.

Transportation

The entry fee that all competitors pay, it includes the shuttle from the Main Hub, Hotel Provincial to the event venue during official training and competition days (23/11 to 2/12). More details about it you can find at official event webpage

If you want to go to the play spot before the event, you can take public transport. Last year, we took bus nr 29 from bus stop ‘Policia San Juan’. The cost of ticket was 5 pesos which is 1 USD for a single (you can pay in dollars as well). The name of the destination is ‘Ceramica’. The bus stops near a big roundabout between the playspot which is on the right side and old Ceramica Factory which you can see on the left. In the front of you, you will see a big dam. There is no typical bus stop but the bus stops there.  Usually, it takes fourty minutes to go to the play spot. But sometimes it takes a little bit more time when there is traffic. If you want to go back to the city centre by bus, you must go to that roundabout and wait on the other side of the road where the Ceramica factory is. When the bus is arriving, flag it down and driver will stop there.

What to do when you are not kayaking?

Ischigualasto Provincial Park – photo Zofia Tuła

In San Juan and in the nearby area you will find many options to spend the day off from kayaking. You can stay in the city where you will find many nice places to spend time or if you like dinosaurs you can move a couple hours by car to Ishigualasto National Park. There you can sightsee using a car or by bike. Another nice destination is Talampaya National Park and it’s on my list for this time 🙂 In San Juan is a ZOO where you can meet Pumas which is very hard to see in their natural environment.

Lazy puma/ZOO San Juan – photo by Zofia Tuła

But if you are planning to stay longer in that area and paddle on whitewater, remember that Pucon and Chile is very close to San Juan.
I hope to see you all in San Juan and to be a part of history which begins there during World Championships in Freestyle Kayaking.

There are already thirty National Teams who have confirmed their participation, are you going too? Will be a lot of great paddling and I’m sure that parties there are going to be crazy. See you in San Juan!