The Younguns Tour is a series of fun freestyle events aimed primarily at encouraging younger paddlers into the sport and promoting freestyle kayaking amongst the next generation. Younguns is run entirely by volunteers and we have been proud to support the event over the last few years with a custom Racer PFD going to three of the paddlers especially selected by the judges over the course of the series.
This year a huge congratulations go to sisters Chloe and Jasmine Kinsman, and to Megan Dunne, who each get to design their very own unique custom printed PFD!
We caught up with the lucky winners to find out a little more about their freestyle journeys so far.
Sisters Chloe (15) and Jasmine (13) live just 20 minutes from Hurley Weir and began their kayaking on flat water several years ago, before a gaining their 3 star Whitewater award at Plas Y Brenin last summer. A spot of coaching and some keen encouragement from Jacko was enough to see the sisters compete at Hurley, with both making the semis in the boaterX and Jasmine winning the Novice Freestyle.
A Burners junior exchange to Spain soon followed, organised by Jacko and Quim Fontaine, and the girls got their first taste of the travelling paddler's lifestyle! More competitions followed including GB squad tryouts (Jasmine making the jnr team) and the boaterX series with Chloe winning at Cardiff, beating the boys, girls and ladies!
Jasmine and Chloe both did well in the Younguns events and they have plans to go on their Burners Euro tour later this month. They also plan to compete at the HPP European Open later this year.
Jasmine said: "Kayaking is a really expensive sport and hobby with the kit, travel and coaching etc. Some of the events are expensive. My parents are not rich they both go without and have to do extra jobs/overtime to fund me & Chloe kayaking. We are both very grateful for everything our parents do to help us both. My parents love that we always kayak together and all the positive people, role models. Younguns my parents said was unbelievable value. They said they believe it will help keep kids interested in the sport."
After watching Maya (Mayo) Ray-Cross throwing tricks in a play boat on the Dee, Megan borrowed a boat from Go Kayaking / River Active at Mile End Mill and began her freestyle adventure.
At the recent Younguns Tour Megan had her first time on the Tryweryn and her first river run in a playboat. Megan recently learned to loop and is practicing hard to perfect it!
Says Megan: "Kayaking can be a dangerous sport but I like that, as it takes a lot to make me scared, but that makes me a good sportsperson as I’m willing to give everything a go and always get back in my boat. I have ADHD and there are some studies which suggest that people with ADHD are great sports people because of their lack of fear and high amounts of energy. I do other sports as well including horse riding. I have to stay active or I get restless!
"As soon as I heard of the Younguns Tour I thought that’s for me and was really interested in what it’s all about. I feel it’s important to have these events and to encourage and support young people like me into the sport. I was a little nervous on the morning of registration but excited about the weekend. I’m really glad I went along and hope to go to many more."
Congratulations again to Jasmine, Chloe and Megan, and to all the other competitors at Younguns this year.
Watch out for these three in the future!
For more information on the Younguns Tour check out https://www.youngunsfreestyle.co.uk/.
Images: Justin Bunn / GB Freestyle