1st WCA Freestyle Developement Weekend – a success!

Gavin Cartwheeling

The aim of the WCA’s Freestyle Development weekends are two-fold. Firstly, we want to provide opportunities for all paddlers to try out freestyle and get quality coaching without cost being a barrier. Secondly, we want to take those with talent into a Welsh Freestyle Squad for further development and to represent Wales at competitions across the UK (and abroad).

Jake loving the freestyle development
Jake having fun in the rapids

The first of these weekends took place in Llandysul on September 27-28th. FlowFree coaches Lowri Davies (me) and Jon Davies worked with International Freestyle paddler Matt Cooke and white water specialist Tom Laws to provide a range a sessions to cater for all abilities; from those with only basic white water skills, to those able to cartwheel and loop.

Video analysis and feedback
Video feedback and analysis

I also ran sessions for coaches to give guidance on how best to deliver freestyle coaching, easy ways of breaking down the moves and using land-based activities to aid understanding – on top of developing their personal freestyle skills.

coaching in the mist
Coaching the coaches in the morning mist

By Sunday afternoon, it was time for everyone to bust out their best moves for the first of our Welsh Freestyle Series competitions. This event was done in a “freestyle through the rapids” format, with points for everything including catching eddies, tailies, front surfs, cartwheels, bowstalls and even making the judges laugh. With eddyline moves and a 30-second flatwater section at the end, the course proved to be hit with all abilities – scores ranging from 100 up to 435 per ride!


After two runs each, it was time to head back to the Llandysul Paddlers HQ for tea and medals…


  1. Jordan McGrath
  2. Josh
  3. James Cooper
  4. Katie
  5. Euros
  6. Steph
  7. Jake Jones


  1. Rob Gale
  2. Gavin Cooper
  3. Paul
  4. Steph
  5. Becky Smith
  6. Chris

paddle twirl

Congratulations to the winners, but well done to everyone who took part. There were some imaginative runs and if we can harness that enthusiasm then Wales will have a Welsh Squad to be proud of. Particular big-ups to Katie for the paddle over the boat trick and little James for his super slick technique – he’s definitely one to watch for the future!

James getting vert

All Tom’s photos and Matt’s video footage will be online over the next few weeks and I’ll be sure put a link up on here.

Next one: 15th-16th November, Stanley Embankment, Anglesey. Welsh residents with a fairly reliable roll welcomed. We are especially keen in getting juniors who already enjoy white water or freestyle and coaches wishing to get experience or tips on how to coach freestyle more effectively. Full details, including times, to follow – stay tuned.