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Rowan Stuart on the World Cup in France and Spain

These last three weeks of my life have been spent doing everything possible related to the 2014 ICF Freestyle World Cup. The world cup is a series of three different events, in three different features, over a three week period. That means a competition every weekend (sometimes starting as early in the week as Wednesday) and very few days prior to the event for training. There are long lines in the eddies, it´s stressful, it´s exciting, and it has been some of the best weeks of my life.


It´s my first kayaking event out of the United States, and the events have taken place in Millau, France, and Salt and Sort; both in Spain. To make everything more exciting, I barely speak any French, and only enough Spanish to have passed the minimum requirements for school. I´ve made most of my plans at the last minute, imposing on other kayakers for rides to the river, between events, and sleeping on their couches, floors, or spare beds.

Rowan loop 2

The events themselves have been incredible. All three have run smoothly, and the athletes have been well taken care of. The features have been very different between each event. The first in Millau took place in a very very small hole, the second in Salt in a slightly larger and much steeper one, and the final in Sort in a pretty sizeable feature, maybe four times bigger than the one that the first event took place in.
My showing overall was a solid second place – 2nd in Millau, 2nd in Salt, and 1st in Sort. I’ve definitely gotten more motivated to improve my paddling even more after these last three weeks. Moving up from juniors into the women’s division next year is going to make it interesting, but I’m ready to represent! Packing now to spend three days in Barcelona, and then it’s back to the USA for some more kayaking!!
Photos by: IV Stuart, Jason Searle
Jason Searle