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Freestyle, le CD ROM

Alex Dimitriou

You don't understand the moves? You understand the moves but don't understand the judging? Well, imagine that some guys created a CD ROM with a relatively up to date listing of moves (with video support) and also a precise description of the judging (with video evidence too). Now imagine this CD ROM is free ...

We know you want to know more, read on ...

Freestyle, le CD ROM

This will sound like old news to our readers from France. This multimedia Freestyle CD ROM is the baby of the Freestyle committee at the French Federation of Canoe and Kayak (FFCK) and was released at the French "Salon Nautique" last december. I am sorry it did not make the headlines on Playak earlier this year but there were far too many things going around at the same time...

How many points for this blunt?

The idea behind this CD is that to get freestyle competitions more popular amongst the more traditional recreational and competitive paddlers you need to explain how freestyle is scored in competition. So the French Freestyle Committee created this CD ROM and the FFCK offers it for free to all the clubs in France. And, even better, there are no rights on the CD so owners are encouraged to copy it and distribute it around!

The CD is not going into the argument of how freestyle should be scored (see Corran's article for one view on the subject for instance) or how this or that move should be called. Instead, it takes the rules as they are (well, as they were in December 2001) and is built around them.

Figures

Before explaining how freestyle is scored in competition, you need to understand the terminology, the names of the moves. Some moves are rather self explainatory in English but one has to understand that the English name are very often used in other languages too and it is harder to get the meaning of "cartwheel" if you only speak French for instance...

So the boys in France compiled a list of moves with some video support, up to 3 different videos for the same move. A short description of each move is given as well. The emphasis is not put on the technique itself though. This CD will not teach you how to do the moves ! Below is an example of three of the most popular moves recently. The quality of these videos is really poor compared to what you get on the CD ROM.

Move Paddler Format Size




Loop EJ Quicktime 233 kb
Space Godzilla Corran Addison Quicktime 332 kb
Donkey Flip Tobias Bersch Quicktime 213 kb

As for June 2002, the list is still pretty much up to date. Steve Fisher's Helix is missing maybe. They also call Canadian Matrix something I would call a bog standard Tricky Wuu and The Donkey Flip is also known as a California Roll or an Aerial Screw depending on where on earth you are located. These are just detail though.

Corrected runs

Now this is the really cool stuff. Knowing what the moves are called and how they are scored is not enough. If you want to understand a competition, you have to be able to watch a 45 second run and score as it goes. For this, the CD provides with videos of runs taken at different international events. Two versions of the run are provided. The raw version and the corrected version so that you can check the scoring. Below is a list of three of these runs, without and with correction. THe technical score is written in the top right corner and new moves for the variety in the top right corner. Sorry for the people with slow connection but you will have to be patient for these files. Hint, play only the corrected version if you have a slow connection ... Again, the video size and quality have been reduced considerably compared to what is on offer on the CD.

Paddler Location Initial run Corrected run Format





EJ Sort (SP) 1491 kb 1510 kb Quicktime
Nico Chassing Sort (SP) 1387 kb 1401 kb Quicktime
Alex Dimitriou Thun (CH) 1411 kb 1426 kb Quicktime

The French and international Freestyle rules are also provided as individual PDF documents together with the variety and technical scoring sheets used during the competitions in France so that local competitions can be set up more easily.

Credits

"Freestyle, le CD ROM" involved loads of different skills like collecting the information, editing the videos or putting together the code for the CD. Key players in the creation process include David Arnaud, François Profit, Sébastien Tester and Pierre Villecourt.

Conclusion

Well, overall I am very impressed. This is a really good idea and even though the CD itself could be improved to create a true "multimedia experience", it is a really good start. I think a commercial company would have done something a bit more flashy but then, there would almost certainly be rights on the CD which would go against the whole point of doing it.

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