Written by Sam Anderson
This year the Flowerpots Rodeo organised by Exeter Uni and AS Watersports saw 40+ paddlers entering. Rain overnight had pushed the level of the Exe up and Flowerpots had turned into a flushy but extremely powerful hole. The event format was 6 heats of 6-8 paddlers having a 10 min jam session with the top 2 from each heat going into one semi final which was then cut to the top 4 for the final. I was judging to a very basic scoring system of marks out of 5 for each ride awarding points for the usual freestyle moves but also air guitars, harry potters, beat downs or just keenness and then tallying the points up at the end.
Craig Aryes variety of blunts, loops, felixs and cartwheels saw him fly through the first heat. He was followed by Nick from Exeter Uni who landed the biggest move of the competition by sticking a huge loop in his creak boat.
Nick goes huge
In the 2nd heat local favourite Andy Illy was beaten into first spot by Dan Whitlun who again showed a lot more variety than his competitors and landed some nice back loops.
Once the remaining heats had been completed 12 competitors took to a single semi final. Mid-way through the semi’s a free for all on the wave was declared and Dan was given some bonus points as he back surfed between two boats to hold position on the wave.
Dan and Craig share a moment on the wave
The free for all was soon ended when the rear end of Matt Tidy’s Centrafuse gave one of the students a hard smack across the jaw.
A student takes a face full of Matt’s stern
A well executed reverse harry potter saw Craig sale into the finals ahead to Dan, Matt Tidy and Andy Illy. Despite the basic scoring system clearly the best 4 paddlers had got through to the final.
Reverse Harry Potter!
Craig led the final from the start and sealed victor with a huge front loop. Dan was just beaten into 2nd place by Matt Tidy’s impressive cartwheel sequences. Desperate to gain some extra points Andy Illy pulled his deck and swam at the end of the final but it wasn’t enough and he finished in 4th.
A respectable 4th for Andy “Fatman” Illy
Winner Craig Ayres
By Sam Anderson
Photos Fluid Skills and Yak
Thanks to AS Watersports, Exeter Uni, Yak, Fluid Skills and Big Dog Kayaks