Wild Ride to World Titles for James

24th August 2017

Having stepped into a kayak for the first time two years ago, James Humphry (10 Millward) has achieved a world ranking of 28th at the recent Junior Wildwater titles in Austria.

James is part of the Girton Grammar Sports Excellence Programme and is studying Sports Science.

“Kayak racing is a physically demanding sport requiring whole of body fitness.

“The Sports Excellence Programme and the learning of body and energy systems from Sports Science have been invaluable.

“Access to this knowledge and additional gym training in the controlled and expert environment of the Girton programmes have provided me with the perfect complement to my daily training.

“I feel I have been able to take what I am experiencing and learn at Girton and apply it directly at the elite sports level culminating at the Junior World Wildwater titles,” James said.

James competes in two kayak disciplines, Sprint (an Olympic sport) and down river Wildwater.  In December 2016, he qualified at the Australian Wildwater Championships for a position in the Australian Junior team to compete on the Mur River at Murau, Austria.

Wildwater is one of the most physically demanding kayak disciplines consisting of classic and sprint events. For Classic Wildwater racing, athletes race down a river course 5 to 16 km (10 to 35 minutes) containing sections of intense white-water (large rapids).  This race format tests athlete’s technique and speed to the limits and their ability to remain composed and focused while trying to determine the best path through the turmoil of white-water ahead of them.

Sprint racing is 600 metre event in similar river conditions. In Europe, it is a major spectator attraction. In very few sports do athletes get to test their ability against natural and wild rivers. This makes Wildwater one of the most compelling and exhilarating canoe/kayak sports.

In July this year, James travelled to Europe and spent two weeks training in Slovenia on the Soca River and then in Austria in preparation for the World competitions.  He then competed in the 2017 ICF U23 and Junior Wildwater Championships in Austria at Murau on the River Mur, with a team of 13 other young Australians (including Imogen Douglass and Maddie Batters from Bendigo).

Nineteen nations presented their best 250 athletes making for intense competition. The River Mur, swollen with rainfall, presented a challenging Wildwater course for the young team, however the Australians handled the conditions and achieved excellent results against the strong European teams.

“It has been a very quick and exciting adventure into the world of canoeing/kayaking.

“I had not even sat in a kayak two years ago until I tried out on the “come and try day” for the Bendigo Academy of Sport Programme.

“I am very glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to have a go. I have truly found my sport for life.

“The Girton Sports Excellence Programme and Sports Science subject have been fantastic.  They have given me the knowledge to understand how the body works, and access to quality gym training.

“I will be encouraging as many people as possible to have a go at this sport,” James said.

The Bendigo Academy of Sport in conjunction with the Bendigo Canoe Club has a “come and try” day scheduled for Saturday 7th October 9.30 at Lake Weeroona as their next intake to the Canoe/kayak program.