This year World Cups in freestyle kayaking took place in San Juan. That was first that big event in our discipline in South America. Also first time both events were in the same place. Second World Cup was planned to be in Rio de Janerio, but it was moved to Argentina. Both events took place at third week of October. That date can seem to be a little bit late, but then at the place is spring and weather is great with more less thirty degrees Celcius.
Me and Tomasz Czaplicki came to San Juan two weeks before competition. On the place we was very warm welcomed by local people. Maurico Caif (president of Kayak Club San Juan) and his friend showed us important and interesting places in their city.
Firstly after flight of course we went to see the wave. It is on the outskirts of the city. Around the playspot are wonderful mountains and big dam. Definitely I added San Juan wave to my personal the most beautyfull playspots. Next days turned out that there it is not only pretty, but also the feature is very good.
I spent some time there to know playspot better. I must find good place to initiate moves and a little bit adapt my technic to this place. At the begining was a little bit hard, becouse when I did move not good it was easy to flush. Thanks that I had to focus more on every single move I think this helped me to push my freestyle skills on higher level. During competition I beat my personal best score in ICF rules ;)
I was there with plastic boat but hole was deep enough for carbon boats. But paddlers with older models which are longer and has less volume can hit the rocks. I hit the rock only once when the water level was lower than usual.
In San Juan playspot green water is more flat than in holes were I paddled so far. Thanks that there is easy to do big Mc Nasty started from back position and flowing to green water. In this place I very like this way of Mc Nasty. So much fun :D
We lived near the city centre in La Toja hotel which owner is local kayaker - Facundo. From this place we had easy way to wave by bus and we was close to a big amount of shops and restaurants. In Argentina very famous are wines and beef. One of the first days Kayak Club San Juan crew took us to couple local vineyards. Me, Tomasz and kayakers from other countries listened and watched how to make wine. We also had a chance to try organic champagnes and wines from San Juan and Mendoza.
Besides wine in Argentina amazing is beef. In all restaurants you can chose diffrent kinds of beef to eat, but mostly after 9 pm. At the begining for us it was a little bit weird eat big meal that late, but was worth to wait. In every restaurant meat is very good. The best beef I ever ate was in restaurant during our trip to Ischigualasto Provincial Park.
Some day in San Juan visited us my friend from Poland Grzesiek who at the same time was travelling across South America. We decided to go together to see more Argentina. Together with Courtney from New Zeland and Marcel from Austria we rented car and went to Ischigualasto. We didn't choose the fastest way. We drove through mountains near the Chilean boarder.
There was a lot of beautyfull views. We were trying to see pumas but unfortunatly it was hard to find any of that wild cat but we saw wild emo. Closer and inside of Ischigualasto provincial park was also a few lamas and foxes. Deeper ischigualasto provincial park scenery looks like on the moon. There is a lot of white sand and rocks in many different shapes. At the place we saw also the oldest discovered bones of dinosaurs.
This year World Cup had two events which took place day after day between 11th to 15th of October. First day was reserved for opening ceremony. The rest of days were competition time so both World Cup events had two days each.
Competing day after day was like challenge for us but from the other side it was cool, becouse everyone had two chances in the same place.
In the first event I started first in the first heat what was funny for me becouse that was fourth competition in a row when I was opening K1W class. After prelims and final I was second. I had good runs and I felt good in this hole. During the finals I even started to play with linked moves.
In men category Tomasz Czaplicki paddled amazing. He did a lot of moves and linked almost all. There were competing a lot of very good kayakers, but he was unbeatable and Tomasz took first place.
Between World Cups in the night Mauricio took me,Tomasz and part of team Japan to TV show. We were on live in TV in studio of Channel 8. That was nice to show ourselves and talk about freestyle and what we like in San Juan for big audience. During both competition was a lot of photographers and media. Cool was to watch how many people there are interested freestyle kayaking :)
At friday took place prelims of the second World Cup. After prelims me and Tomasz were very happy. We both beat our personal best scores. I did both sides phonix monkey in one run and made my new personal best score in ICF rules. I got 740 points. That was also lucky day for Tomasz. He did the same. He made his new personal best score with 1,476 points.
In the next day were finals which took place at night with colorful lights. We started half hour earlier becouse of sand storm was coming. Competing was a little difficult, becouse of wind was strong and changing directions. Sometimes it even was pushing out from the hole. In the final I've got another silver medal. Tomasz also repeated his result from the first World Cup. He got his second gold medal and won in all World Cup :D
In K1W and K1SquirtW won Hitomi Takaku from Japan. Tom Dolle from France won in K1JM and C. Alex Edwards from Great Britain won in K1Squirt Men. Tomasz was second in K1 Squirt Men.
After competition we spent in San Juan another couple days. We paddled in hole for fun one more time and I together with Courtney I went to the local zoo. Finally we found pumas returned to center by autostop and we ate a big box of amazing argentinian icecream. That was awesome three weeks in Argentina. Big thanks for Mauricio and Facundo for helping us. Big thanks to Courtney for a lot of positive energy and Tomasz for support me ;)