Surf Kayak World Championship triumph in Peru for Derry paddler

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It was an eventful summer for young Derry man Jordan Collins who was part of the Irish team that came third in the Surf Kayaking World Championship in Peru last month.

Jordan, who is from Strathfoyle, was part of an Ireland squad of over 10 who headed off for the coastal town of Huanchaco, about 400 miles north of the capital, Lima.

It was Jordan’s second time representing his country at world level as a surf kayak paddler.

Two years ago he was part of the Irish team that came fourth in the 2017 World Championship in Portrush.

This time out the talented group of Irish surf kayakers that included Megan Gamble, also from Derry, managed to go one better.

“The competition went well. As a team we came third in the world so moved up one position which is great,” said Jordan.

The tournament was equally successful for Jordan on a personal level.

He managed to go far in the competition in the individual competitions and said this represented major progress.

“Individually, I went from 22nd to seventh in the world. I made the semi-finals but cracked under pressure.

“I need more experience in competing to maintain my composure when I get closer to my goal.

“I know I made a huge leap forward in the sport in such a short time.

“But I was still devastated after the competition as I knew the semi-final was my lowest scoring heat during the whole competition,” he explained.

Jordan was full of praise for his teammate and near neighbour, Megan, who also put in a brilliant performance in South America.

“Megan Gamble from Eglinton was one of the juniors on the team who in the individual competition placed fourth in the junior short category up against the junior boys.

“However, she was the first placed junior woman in the world,” he said.

One of the highlights of the championship from an Irish perspective generally was the performance of Christopher Hobson from Dungannon, a three times world champion.

“He paddled with me in the semi-finals before he progressed through to the final where he led the final in first position until the final minute when Odei Etxeberria from the Basque Country put Chris into second position.

“This left Christopher second in the world in the long boat category after a few years away from competing in the sport. A fantastic achievement,” said Jordan.

Overall, it was great success for Derry’s rising stars in a growing minority sport across the world.