The Mighty Nene

By Bill Anderson

A sunny September weekend saw paddlers from all corners of the UK heading to Northampton for the ever popular Nene Freestyle event. The course and gazebos were set up, the sun was shining, the music cranked up – It was going to be a good one…

As Jim from Alpkit who usually runs the events couldn’t make it he’d asked Nic and I to step in and help the guys for Northampton Canoe Club to run the event.

The event started with the Boater X heats which were fun and I managed to win my heat which I was pleased with. Then it was onto the Freestyle heats. The Nene is a bit of a Marmite spot. You either love it or hate it. I quite like it and look forward to competing here each year. The locals have a definite advantage though as they know the feature so well. I had a couple of good rides in my heat and place 9th going into the semis.

The next day began with the Boater X finals, I made it through the quarters but crashed out third in my semis – I knew I shouldn’t have put my deck on!

After this was the freestyle semis which were frantic as everybody stepped up a level. I couldn’t get my rides together and made 11th place. From then on I could relax, watch the goings on around me and enter everyone’s scores into the computer system.

The finals were fun to watch with James Reeves steeling the title from the local boys. Nic did really well cleaning up in the ladies taking wins in both freestyle and boater x.

Helping out at the event gave me a good insight into how much effort people put into running such good events. Chris Chapman deserves a big thanks for organising such a good event again!

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