Great Britain is preparing to host its first international Wildwater Canoeing event in almost 20 years with organizers hoping it will be a “stepping stone” to staging bigger global competitions in the future. 

The English city of Nottingham – the home of British Canoeing – will hold the ECA Wildwater Sprint Canoeing European Cup as part of the first-ever Wild Water Weekend on April 6 and 7. 

It will be the first time Great Britain has staged an international competition in the discipline since 2005. 

The action-packed weekend will see races in Wildwater Canoeing, Canoe Freestyle and Raft Racing take place at Nottingham’s Holme Pierrepont White Water Course. 

Jamie Christie is one of the key figures behind the organization of the event that is being made possible thanks to the support of British Canoeing and an army of volunteers. 

“We want to start with the ECA Cup to get international Wildwater Canoeing back in the UK,” said Christie.  

“We want to show British Canoeing that we can put on a really good international event at a very low cost and then they can look at perhaps getting more international races in the future. 

“You have got to think ‘What does the competitor want?  

“Do they want a big fanfare, or do they want to do a race and win it?  

“I believe they want to do a race and win it. 

“The most important thing is accurate timing and getting paddlers there that are competitive.” 

Christie believes Great Britain is experiencing a “resurgence” in Wildwater Canoeing after sending 27 paddlers to compete at the ECA Wildwater Sprint Canoeing European Cup in Saint-Laurent-Blangy, France last weekend. 

“Paddlers do not need to be the best in the world to compete, we want people to participate and have fun,” added Christie. 

“If we can do that, hopefully we can keep building Wildwater Canoeing in the UK and make it a lot bigger than it is today.  

“There is a two-pronged attack to this event – one is showing people that we can organize an international event at a lower cost and the other is to encourage the development of Wildwater Canoeing in the UK. 

“I am voicing the idea for British Canoeing to move to host bigger international events. 

“Once you have done the first one and shown it can be done, it’s easier to do it the next time and if it is a success then the next stepping stone is hosting a World Cup next year or the year after.” 

Hannah Brown, Vice Chair of the British Canoeing Wild Water Racing Committee, said she was looking forward to welcoming paddlers from across Europe. 

Great Britain Wildwater Canoeing

“It’s super exciting as it has been an aeon amount of time since we had an international event,” said Brown.  

“We have had some great international success over the years so it will be fantastic for us to show what we can offer as a racing platform.  

“Hopefully this can be a stepping stone for getting a bigger event down the line.  

“It will be great to get some international paddlers over to show what we can do as a host and for our development group to see a bigger picture.  

“It can be quite easy to get caught up in the national scene so having an event like this on our doorstep will help broaden people’s minds. 

“It will be one of our selection races so it will be an excellent test for our domestic paddlers to try to put their names on the team list.”

Pictures by Fiona Singleton

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