A Peruvian paddler made Canoe Freestyle history in Plattling as the International Canoe Federation’s development camp gave talented young athletes the chance to shine.

Gabriel Soldevila de Ugarte became the first paddler from Peru to compete at a ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cup when he participated in the German town.

He is one of five athletes taking part in the camp that started on May 20 and is running alongside the back-to-back ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cups in Plattling.

“It’s amazing, I feel like I’m living in a dream right now,” said Soldevila de Ugarte.

“We’re in Plattling, it’s a long way from my home so I am really happy to be here representing my country.

“It’s so exciting to be here sharing with all these beautiful people.

“The development camp gave me the motivation to come to Europe and other girls and guys to improve themselves.

“I’m excited to return with more tricks.”

Soldevila de Ugarte was joined by Ireland’s Fergus Murphy and Mae Michin and Norway’s Ask Tidemann-Foldvik and Siren Saetre.

Gabriel Soldevila de Ugarte

The paddlers have all been receiving top advice from Maxi Montoya and Valerie Betrand with on and off water sessions to work on basic skills.

“I have absolutely loved working with these paddlers,” said Betrand.

“It’s great to gather nations from different parts of the world and show them the beautiful sport that we have and including them in the community.

“It’s tough for certain athletes that only get limited support or resources so the fact that these kinds of camps exist is brilliant.

“The effect has been absolutely amazing and they have all bonded from the very first day.”

The ICF and Host Organising Committee have provided accommodation right next to the feature, offering tent and sleeping gears, access to toilets and simple cooking facilities.

Ciaran Maguire, member of the ICF Canoe Freestyle Committee who is in charge of development, said he had been impressed with quality of the paddlers.

“We have kept the momentum moving after our camps in Nottingham and Columbus and that’s thanks to our two fantastic coaches,” said Maguire.

“There is a really good community spirit here.

“They have really got a strong bond and will build on life experiences.

“It really motivates them to paddle well and enjoy it and they stay friends afterwards which is really important and builds that spirit.

ICF freestyle development camp plattling

“We have had great coaching sessions on and off the water as well as sessions on fitness and tactics.

“There is great development and great progress.

“It’s a very steep learning curve when you have a world-class feature, good conditions, good coaching and the right environment.

“People on the development camp are already achieving high-scoring moves.

“Gabriel from Peru hadn’t done many of the moves and now he is looping in the feature which is one of the highest scoring moves.”

Terry Best, Chair of the ICF Canoe Freestyle Committee, added: “Development in Canoe Freestyle is essential and it needs to be our focus for the next five years.

“We need to build from the ground up so camps like these are invaluable.”

As well as the development camp, Plattling will hold a judging seminar from June 2 to 4.

Instructors Charlie Brackpool and Dan Daley will lead the three-day seminar that will see trainees receive a mixture of technical and practical sessions.

Full coverage of the events in Plattling can be viewed on the ICF’s Premium YouTube channel

Join Planet Canoe's YouTube channel for €9.99 per month to unlock members-only content and features

Related links

Canoe Freestyle