This year the most important European event in freestyle took place in Cunovo Whitewater course near the Slovakian capital Bratislava. This time our event was combined together with juniors and U23 slalom European Championships, which meant there were lots of paddlers from different European nations paddling hard on both channels for all week long.
It was the same hole as the 2014 Europeans. Sometimes I felt there very good with huge runs and massive trophy and combo moves, but the water level kept changing slightly during the day and sometimes was really hard to do a loop without hitting in a bottom. I think many paddlers were trying to find the best way to paddle with different water levels, so it was very busy. That makes competing there not an easy thing. It was way easier to get a good score in Cunovo in comparison to World Cup in Sort, but many paddlers saw their chance in doing big Loops, going fast and trying trophy moves and combos and that weren’t easy.
Zosia and I were in first heats on the start list. In that situation, when I compete in the morning, it’s better to not think about strategy. I knew that I don’t need to do 100% of my ride plan but when you are in the first heat you never know how the guys in the next groups will paddle. I did two OK runs with a combined score of 2286,67 which gave me a solid third place in that moment. On the leading position was Quim Fontane Maso, second was Peter Csonka.
Zosia was opening the K1W category but even with that, she made really nice rides and with a combined score of 1220 she was in the leading position after prelims. We both were looking forward to the semi-finals. At that moment Nina Csonkova was second and Marlene Devilez was third.
Semi-finals took place on Saturday. Zosia made really good runs, especially the first run which was scored 763 points. Here you can see that run:
She advanced to the final from first place and her runs gave me some extra motivation before my semi-final. I like to watch her runs and I’m sure that she is still developing her style. I’m curious what she will show us during the next European Championships.
This time the lowest score which was giving a spot in finals was 446,67 points. Interesting is that to advance to top five in K1JM the score was only a little bit higher – 491,67.
My first ride wasn’t the best one but 1113,33 points might be enough to go the final from 5th place. Before my second run when still was a couple good paddlers who could make a better score like Lane De Meulenaere and push me out from the top 5, I decided to improve in my second chance. After a couple more runs I already knew that I was in top 5 and maybe I shouldn’t do that but I wanted to try to attack the leader position. In that moment Quim was sitting at first place with a great run over 1450 points. I’ve got 1331 points and I advanced to second place. Third was Peter Csonka, Fourth Sebastien Devred, fifth Bartosz Czauderna.
My second run was ok but still I needed to show something more to be able to win, so after semis I made another and my last training session during European Championships. I knew the finals were going to be hard the next day.
It was another very hot day. Finals of K1W and K1M were planned for 14.00 and 15.00 and it was really hot. Paddlers were cooling off in the water and the warm up was already tiring but the European Championships only happen once every two years, so we were all really motivated.
In the finals of K1W, every round brought the new leader. After first ride on the leading position was Zofia Tuła after second Marlene Devilez and the third run gave us new European Champion our Palm Team mate Anne Hubner who made a massive score of 760 points.
Marlene Devilez took second place and Zosia came third.
Results of K1W final:
1) Anne Hubner (GER) 760
2) Marlene Devilez (FRA) 700
3) Zofia Tuła (POL) 623,33
4) Islay Crobie (GBR) 546,67
5) Nina Csonkova (SVK) 530
K1W final was very exciting and what I was talking about in previous years in my opinion has just started to happen. Ladies are getting close to Mens. I think that breaking 1000 points in single ride in ICF scoring by a female will come true pretty soon.
The finals of K1M was one of hardest in my career. Finals are never easy because everyone from top 5 has 3 chances to win and it’s possible that one run can change everything. It’s always very exciting to take a part in final but this year Europeans final was like Worlds final in 2013 in NOC. It was pretty tight on the podium and the difference in scores between 1st and 2nd place was about 26 points. Between 2nd and 3rd was also quite small and it was 66,67 points so not that much.
First run was a key to win.
In my first final ride, I was focusing to do as many moves as possible to both directions. I know that hole is not straight and doing right side moves is risky but that was my plan.
I started from entry move 3 (mc nasty) next both sides Mc Nasties, then left phonix and lunar-loop after that right phonix and Loop. When I felt that everything is working well in 2/3 of my run I wanted to do Space Godzilla into a splitwheel into a Lunar orbit combo and that’s the moment when I started to have troubles. It was just too shallow for me to do a space godzilla and I lost time for two attempts. The day before during my session right after semis I was doing it quite well but now the situation changed because water level was a little bit lower. After that I made the decision which probably is the best one in my kayaking life. Because only a couple seconds left I did some cartwheel and after that right splitwheel into a lunar-woo which is a trophy 3 into a back loop. The funny thing is that I didn’t focused on lunar-woo during my all tranings in Cunovo but when I needed it just happened.
In his last final ride my polish mate Bartosz Czauderna made nice looking ride scored for 1330 points what gave him silver medal. After Bartosz was Sebastien but he didn’t improve his possition. After strong French was Peter Csonka who also was trying to improve his score but he stayed with 1263,33 points score from first run which in that moment was enough for the bronze medal. Then it was my turn. I decided to play with split to phonix to both directions but in overall my first run score was still the best one. The last paddler in competition was Joaquim Fontane Maso who is curent World Champion and who was defending European Champion title.
His run was like always fast and furious but I felt that it will be not enough to beat my score. After a couple minutes, judges announced Quim’s score and I already knewt I did it. I was so happy. Right after that Quim gave me his bib number – the number “1” which is wearing by paddler who is defending European Champion title. That moment I will remember for the rest of my life. Big respect to Quim for that gesture. In my opinion that was one of those moments when the real athlete is showing his class. Thanks Quim!
K1M final results:
1) Tomasz Czaplicki (POL) 1356,67
2) Bartosz Czauderna (POL) 1330
3) Peter Csonka (SVK) 1263,33
4) Sebastien Devred (FRA) 1231,67
5) Joaquim Fontane Maso (ESP) 1143,33
In K1JW, Ottie Robinson-Shaw won with really nice looking run with a score of 500 points which might give her a spot in seniors women finals.
In K1JM, Tom Dolle from France won with a score of 1273,33 which in comparison to K1M scores might be enough to be on the podium. Of course, it’s only a comparison but this kid is paddling really good. Valentin Parasme was second with the score of 783,33 points. Third place spot was to my Palm teammate Harry Price who in his best run got 770 points.
In C-1 category, the tallest paddler of the event and in my opinion the most successful C-1 paddler in Europe Lukas Cervinka (CZE) won his fifth European Champion title with a score of 970 points. Second and third place went to Sebastien Devred and Tom Dolle.
Full final results here.