Surf kayak: Jersey’s world beaters head for Ireland

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They left Jersey yesterday for five days training on the Easkey reef, familiar territory for some of the team members as this was the scene of Jersey’s victory in the British Canoe Union Home International championships in 2000.The 14-strong team includes five new members – juniors David Ollivier, Eoin McCarthy, Robert O’Brien and Gary Edwards, and Jemma Jelley who will be reserve in both the ladies’ high performance (HP) and international classes – plus regulars Ailsa McDougall, Zona Michel, Paul Perchard, Stuart McGlinchey, James Robertson, Tim Rowe, Chris Ollivier and Robert Hearne, of whom six were in the world championship-winning team in Santa Cruz in 2001.Perchard, Robertson and McGlinchey are competing in HP and international classes and Ollivier and Rowe are in the men’s international and HP categories respectively, as well as the masters’ international class.

Injury-risk’That line-up will provide Jersey with a strong, but a potentially high injury-risk men’s team,’ McGlinchey said, ‘and the reserve for both classes, Robert Hearne, will be there in case of injury.

Ailsa is a physiotherapist and she’ll be on hand if anyone is hurt.’The competition proper starts next Friday and the team has been training hard, in the gym and on the water, although the lack of any appreciable surf in recent weeks is not ideal preparation.’There hasn’t been much surf in Ireland either,’ McGlinchey said, ‘but we’re preparing ourselves for whatever the elements throw at us.’He added that Team Jersey is as fit now as it was in the run-up to the 2001 Worlds, and that fitness told in Santa Cruz as Jersey stormed ahead while other teams had to contend not only with damaged boats, but with damaged bodies, too.This year’s team is a good mix of paddlers and McGlinchey said: ‘The juniors have no fear at all so whatever size surf we encounter, we’re ready.’The team is up against strong opposition, including Scotland and Wales, who have embraced the notion that smaller countries can be the best in the world after seeing ‘little Jersey’ doing so well last time.’We know we gave them the belief,’ McGlinchey said.

‘We know that those two, and England and the two US teams will expect to make the finals.

And we will make the final for sure.

After that it depends on weather conditions and the unknown strengths of the others’ new paddlers.’

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