Crana Weekend is an action packed weekend of all aspects of paddle sport in a small town in the North West of Ireland Called Buncrana.
The river running through the area is called the Crana a dam released section containing grade 2 up to grade 4 drops it is here we find the venue for the event.
The event kicked off Saturday morning with the Sea kayak races having spent most the night driving I gave this a miss instead psyching myself for the freestyle event.
Next up was the open canoe skills where participants had to paddle pole and track themselves and their boats upstream against the flow a very interesting event to see.
Slalom popped up next with lots of classes for everyone to take part. The event went well with top paddlers making the long journey North to participate,
Last up was the freestyle a new event added this year and an event I was keen to participate.
The location selected was shallow but useful with lots of juniors strutting their stuff using the same scoring as the Sluice Rodeo gave lots of incentives for paddlers.
Up next was senior men with 2 heats into the second heat we noticed someone may of turned off the water leaving the feature increasingly shallow and the roll area below unsuitable for anything other than rocks but despite this we continued waving, kissing and high fiveing the judges with the odd helix attempt and a couple of Donkey flips for the brave.
Luckily I had done enough to take the Win with Declan O Donnell in 2nd and Ronnie in 3rd.
After a night out on the town and the arrival of Yanni The Greek, We were prepared for the Sunday highlight to the weekend! The Boater X
Up first were the intermediate and junior boater X using a section downstream of the main drop once over the attention moved upstream where spectators flooded the bridge and sanctions to take a glimpse of the carnage about to ensue.
The race format takes first rounds top 2 into the Gold event and the Bottom 2 into a silver event. With a few big names taking the hit and falling into the silver left the events with 20 in each from now on it was a straight knockout with the top 2 advancing each time.
I started the event well paddling fast picking a clear line through the bolder garden and cruising into the final drop with the field behind me taking a perfect line and into the lead this put me into the Gold event where I managed to face the same chap twice both time he tried his best to spin me off line but taking boater X rules as anything goes as long as no one gets hurt I may of let go of my paddle to give him a sharp shove in the opposite direction this didn't please him too much but he was behind me which was all that mattered. I had a small scare in the semi catching a rock and finding myself at the back of the pack had to work hard to push my way back into contention unfortunately I was left in 3rd and missed out on the Final :-(
The final was won by Paddy McGovern, Barry Loughnane 2nd and Yanni in 3rd. Due to a disqualification to the leader for changing boats this meant that we all got bumped up leaving me and Ronnie in joint 4th for the event
a great result from a great weekend.