GB R4 Masters White Water Rafting Squad

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These guys had their first major challenge in New Zealand as the R6 team at the 2013 WRC  and now are preparing for the R4 challenges of Slovakia at the Euro Champs.

There is over 80 years of collective white water rafting, kayaking and canoeing experience in this team. The squad consists of six males, all over the age of 40 who have worked together and known each other for over 25 years. However for the R4 European event only 4 members were selected.

gbr masters 2This GBR 1 R4 team will represent: Paul Gray, Lee Hopkins, Tony Pape and Chris Dalby.

They broke the international ice​ by being the first GBR Masters​ team participating at the WRC 2013 in New Zealand. They’ve gathered a lot of experience in competitions so far and again will making history as the first GBR Masters team that will participate in the Euro Champs. These icebreakers have decided to show their best in this competition. To find out how they will function as an R4 team, about their preparations and expectations we talked to Paul Gray.

Paul, what has been your preparation and training for the competition?

gbr masters 3“Although leading busy lives with work and family commitments, individual training programs are adhered to with regular squad training at various locations throughout the UK including Nottingham, North Wales and the Olympic Kayak Slalom Course of Lee Valley, based in London.

This dedication and competitive drive was recently rewarded at a local GB Rafting event where we were placed 1st in the slalom and 2nd in the sprint, head to head and endurance events. This was in a field of nine teams including both the GB under 19’s and under 23’s. Our physical training ethos is further exemplified by 2 of the team members competing in “Ironman” Austria later this year.” – Certainly we can see the progress of this team as they face new rivers and more competitions.

The competition in Slovakia is on an artificial track, and you have great experience with those. So what are your expectations for this competition?

gbr masters 1“​This is the 1st time the GB Masters have competed in R4 so our aim is to enjoy and perform at the best of our ability, using this competition as a spring board for future events. This trip has provided us ​a beautiful opportunity to get to know a little better every country in which we compete.”

Is there anything you’d particularly like to see or experience in Slovakia?

“It’s always nice to meet new people from different countries and experience different cultures and making new friends. We are also keen to explore the old town and castle of Bratislava.”

In which discipline are you expecting your best result?

​​“Slalom has always been the strongest discipline of the GB Masters. However with a change of team positions it will be interesting to see how this effects the overall performance.”​

In downriver the rafts will need to be picked up and carried back up to do the course again – have you been practising as a team to run with the raft?

​​”Due to training on artificial courses throughout the UK, carrying the raft is something we are well practised in.​”​

​​Okay, they will not have a problem with carrying their raft – competitions on artificial course in GBR has its advantages, sooner or later. It is an honour to represent your country at an important competition and especially being the first gives it a special charm which they will enjoy again. They have progressed a lot since New Zealand. Soon we will see how they will handle all these challenges in Slovakia. But a last word for their sponsors!

​”​Sponsorship is always a great struggle however we would like to thank

  • PeakUK (Clothing),
  • Teva (Shoes), and
  • AquaPack (Baggage), for their continued support.​”

Thank you for helping them!

They were very diligent with reporting from the competition in New Zealand. I’m sure that ​they will do so again from this event. So,you can follow them via:

​We wish you a good strokes​ and see you guys in Slovakia.

Article by Nada

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