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CIWW Paddlefest

Springtime in Cardiff is always an exciting time of the year as it’s the date for the CIWW Paddle Fest, this year however with the whitewater centre having a change-up with some key management staff it was great to hear they were fully on board to not only make this year’s Paddle Fest happen but promised to make it one of the best yet!

Elliot turned up to Cardiff in the magical Pyranha tour van to begin setting up our demo stand and put around flags and banners ready for the following morning. Myself and Beth Morgan arrived bright and early expecting to help set up, only to be pleasantly surprised and found ourselves instead drinking the tasty coffee from Coffi Pass (the on-site refreshment trailer).

The day kicked off with the GB SUP race, 150 athletes from across the country came to race the 14k around Cardiff Bay in the morning’s wind and rain. Ginnie Betts took the win for the women and Hector Jessel for the men.

For the morning the whitewater course was running on 4+6 cumecs with fun events such as the ducky derby, a mass start inflatable race where the only rule is to get to the bottom as fast as possible, and the crowd-pleasing downriver freestyle where we watched loads of young talent trying some really cool and innovative moves.

After lunch, the course ramped up to 8 cumecs, more paddlers arrived, and the sun was trying to break through. This, combined with CIWW staff Ben, Dan, and Pod on the decks pumping the tunes really began to set the atmosphere and the energy as Paddle Fest also ramped up with the water. 

The events in the afternoon kept coming, with the freestyle in front of the dealer stands, and one of the busiest Extreme ducky derbies I’ve seen which was sponsored by NRS this year. There was also Kayak Cross which was set up by Canoe Wales performance coach Andy Kettlewell. This year’s kayak cross was busy and lined with elite slalom athletes making it super competitive but awesome that new kayakers and world champions can line up against each other. The open finals were tight and we were thrilled to see the new Evo 2 seating 5 out of the 6 spots with an original Ripper in the final spot locking out an all-Pyranha final. 

Pyranha athlete Kimberley Woods dominated taking the win in both female and open classes, Efan Welton took the win in the under 16s class and impressively made it to the semifinals in the open. 

The following day the stage was set for the prem slalom race. Pyranha athlete Etienne Chappell delivered a sweet run to achieve his first win in Cardiff in front of his friends and family, Kim Woods came from behind to secure a K1 win with her second run and second-place finish in C1. 

Huge thanks to Andy ‘chips’ Kettlewell, Matthew ‘pod’ Houghton, John Wheadon and the rest of the CIWW staff for putting on this great event and allowing us to provide demos to showcase our boats. 

Images thanks to Hollie Norman – @h.e.n_photography