Fancy trying synchro? The Isle of Wight teams take in skaters from across the south of England – and even beyond. Work on the next season has already started, and we’re looking for new members. Last season, the Island fielded elementary, basic novice, senior and adult teams – levels may change this season, but our senior and adult teams already plan to build on their successes.

Training is already taking place at the re-roofed Ryde Arena, which is hoped to be fully open to the public again in May. Training for the senior team also requires gym work and other off-ice activities to build overall fitness and strength.

The ISU Synchronized Skating Junior World Challenge Cup takes place in Zagreb, Croatia, on 11 and 12 March, with UK interest in the shape of Nottingham’s Icicles. Icicles will be trying to better their excellent result of 14th place in the world, which they have attained twice over the past two years.

The 13th Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy also takes place over the two days, covering Basic and Advanced Novice and Senior events.

Update (14 March 2016): Icicles were 15th overall in the JWCC with a total score of 97.29, which as usual was well down on the score at the British Championships (117.44 – scores at the British typically do not withstand contact with the real world of ISU competitions). Icicles were 15th after the short on 32.28, and 15th in the free on 65.01. Although they slipped one place compared with last year, they were 22.18 points clear of the 16th-placed team, and therefore firmly in the mix in the cluster of countries scoring in the high 90s to low 100s, with plenty to build on for next season.

Live streaming

Live streaming has been announced at a cost of GBP 8.49 per day and is available via Daily Motion:

Day 1: www.dailymotion.com/video/x3wogbw_isu-synchronized-skating-junior-world-challenge-cup-2016-day-1_sport

Basic Novice starts at 4pm CET (3pm UK), the Junior short of the JWCC at 5.45 pm CET (4.45pm UK), and the Senior short at 9.05pm CET (8.05pm UK).

Day 2: www.dailymotion.com/video/x3wpvi3_isu-synchronized-skating-junior-world-challenge-cup-2016-day-2_sport

Advanced Novice starts at 4pm CET (3pm UK), the Junior free of the JWCC at 4.30pm CET (3.30pm UK), and the Senior free at 8.20pm CET (7.20pm UK)

If you were directed here by the ISU website, please note that iowskaters is merely reporting the links published on the croskate.hr website and the charges posted on the Daily Motion site, and is neither responsible for streaming coverage of the event nor the decision to charge £8.49 a day.

Last year’s coverage via the same route was a debacle; this year was no better, the issue was initially incessant commentary and then termination of the stream on day two because of complaints to Daily Motion that copyright was infringed on the music. Copyright infringement is a new problem for post-event skating videos on services such as YouTube, with a number of routines muted because of music copyright infringement in a particular country; loss of coverage of the JWCC is possibly the first live broadcast event to suffer during transmission.

Results (JWCC): http://www.tvoj-toner.com/sswjcc/

Results (Zagreb Snowflakes Trophy): http://www.tvoj-toner.com/zst/

Official site: www.croskate.hr

Shanghai Trophy 2016

Team Surprise in Shanghai: our IW connection is being hoisted skywards top right!

The Shanghai Trophy for synchronized skating and short track speed skating gets under way in Shanghai, China in just a few hours. Held over 4 to 6 March, there is synchro on all three days, with the short programmes on Friday, the free programmes on Saturday and the exhibition programmes on Sunday.

Entry to the synchro competition has been by invitation, and the top six countries in the world are attending with one team each: Haydenettes from the USA, Marigold Ice Unity from Finland, Nexxice from Canada, Paradise from Russia, Team Berlin 1 from Germany, and Team Surprise from Sweden. The Isle of Wight has an interest in the competition because former Wight Jewel Gemma Marsh is a member of Team Surprise.

Results are available for the synchro at www.isuresults.com/results/season1516/st2016/. The results site gives a start time for the synchro of 8.06pm (12.06pm UK).

According to the ISU there is no live streaming for this event. However, Team Paradise posted a link in Russian on its Instagram account for streaming via Chinese internet sports channel CCTV-5 Sports Plus. CCTV-5 Sports Plus’s schedules show the Shanghai Trophy is broadcast only on Saturday and Sunday at 6pm to 7.30pm Chinese time (10am to 11.30am UK time). Trailers for the event broadcast on Saturday confirm this. Coverage will include both short track speed skating and synchronized skating.

The official site for CCTV-5 Sports Plus is  http://tv.cctv.com/live/cctv5plus/sd/index.shtml – it does not support Chrome on my Mac, and requests Safari, for which it wants to download the CNTVLive plug-in, which is a risk as unknown plug-ins may not be everything they seem. There is an official app for the channel for iPhone and Android if your Chinese is any good.


Paradise’s link for CCTV-5 Plus is http://www.zoptv.com/live/cctv-5-plus – this is a site that appears to bypass the official CCTV-5 Plus site (which requires an internet plug-in, whereas zoptv does not). It will only work if Adblocker is disabled, though it is possible to disable Adblocker, refresh the page as requested, and then re-enable Adblocker. The site is heavy on advertising if you click on anything and there is no way to tell if the ads are genuine or lead to viruses, trojans and the like. Do not click on instructions asking you to download plug-ins to enhance the viewing experience – they are the likeliest source of malware.

Viewing is possible using a browser on iPad/iPhone or Android and seems not to throw up adverts as badly.


Event website: http://shtrophy.com/

Results: www.isuresults.com/results/season1516/st2016/

Spring Cup 2016

The 2016 Spring Cup takes place in Sesto san Giovanni, Milan, on 19 to 21 February. Live streaming commentary is by Ryan T Thornton of On the Rocks, the stream is available at http://springcup.idealweb.tv/ and costs 7.50 euros.

According to the schedule, the junior short starts at 14.30 CET (13.30 UK time) on Saturday 20th, with the senior short on at 16.40 CET (15.40 UK time). On Sunday 21st February, the advanced novice starts at 14.00 (13.00 UK time), the junior long at 16.10 (15.10 UK time) and the senior free at 18.25 (17.25 UK time). Times may change.

iowskaters will be at the event this year ready to update our Facebook page if necessary if official channels of information go down. However, in general, the Spring Cup is well promoted and updated and we don’t expect to do much more than cheer on the teams.

Link: www.springcup.it

Streaming: http://springcup.idealweb.tv/

Results: http://www.fisg.it/upload/result/3926/index.html

Trophy D’Ecosse 2016

The 2016 Trophy D’Ecosse takes place at Dumfries Ice Bowl over 12 to 14 February, and IW synchronized skating teams will be taking part.

For UK senior teams it is a qualifying ISU international to decide Great Britain’s entrant, depending on scores, to the senior world championships in Budapest in April. All three British senior teams are taking part: Team Spirit of Wales & West, Zariba of Aberdeen, and Wight Jewels. British champions Zariba have a considerable points advantage in NISA’s selection formula going into the event.

The event provides considerably more spice thanks to the present of international teams, and the senior category has attracted Ice’kateers and Team del Sol from the USA and Nova from Australia.

IW team Wight Crystals will compete at basic novice A, up against home team Solway Eclipse. Wight Sparkles compete at elementary level against eight other teams.

Live streaming and catch-up video is provided by Ryan T Thornton and On the Rocks.

Update (14 February 2016): Wight Crystals and Wight Sparkles both took silver medal position. Wight Crystals scored 24.12 in the basic novice A, against 30.91 from winners Solway Eclipse.  In the elementary, winners Solway Lightning scored 27.07, Wight Sparkles scored 24.91 for second, and Nottingham’s Ice Pops scored 23.67 for third.

Wight Jewels were sixth in the ISU senior event, scoring 23.03 in the short and 50.95 in the long for a total of 73.98. With team members on holiday, and unable to perform four simultaneous lifts, they were pleased to get their group lift called at level 2 in the long. Much has been learned in their first season as seniors, and there’s plenty to build on for next season.

The senior event was won by USA’s Team Del Sol (156.80), with USA team Ice’kateers second on 141.85 and Australia’s Nova third on 119.55.

Catch-up video: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1oHF3YryNMTU2uACxMCRpVD4DMfCvNHy

Official website: www.trophydecosse.co.uk

Results: www.midfsc.org.uk/Documents/TDE2016/index.htm

On 21 November 2015, high winds ripped off the flat-roof area of Ryde arena, leading to its closure. But the rink will soon be reborn, with a new watertight roof and refurbished inside

The first signs of new skating life at Ryde Arena were seen at last at the end of January, when hockey players returned to the rink for matches behind closed doors. Figure skaters returned at the start of February for private patch sessions, resuming training schedules that stopped at a crucial point in the season, weeks before the British Synchronized Skating Championships.

But both hockey and ice skating survived the temporary loss of the rink. Wightlink Raiders played away, scoring successes and seemingly unhindered by the lack of home ice. And the ice skaters travelled to rinks as distant as Oxford and Bracknell, with all four synchronized skating teams still medalling at the championships.

So how has the rink come so far forward in just two and a half months? Perhaps, as with the best tales, it is sensible to start at the beginning… Ryde Arena Trust takes up the story:

On the 21 November 2015 high winds suddenly changed direction causing the flat roof area of Ryde Arena to be lifted and ripped off. This roof covered the bar and office on the first floor with skate hire, the cafe and part of the Arena area underneath; the roof above the ice pad itself was unaffected, being of a different construction.

Heavy rain followed over the next few days and the water started to pour in because the area of roof affected was too large to cover temporarily. The water penetrated the electrics, at which point Environmental Health declared the building unsafe for public access. Staff were asked to work from home and the building was closed, with the exception of three visits a day to empty the buckets, mop up and maintain the ice pad.

Prompt inspections were made by the insurance company and quotes were obtained from firms for the roof work. It was imperative to start the repairs as soon as possible to try to lessen further damage internally. Unfortunately, the weather was hostile and, coupled with the Christmas period, work could not commence until January. It was just too dangerous to be on the roof before then. The wettest December for many years saw water work its way down through the first floor and into the ground floor rooms, relentlessly creeping into all sorts of unforeseen places. The arena got a good deal on a bulk buy of buckets.

No work could be started on the interior until the roof was watertight. Although the damage was initially thought to have been contained within one end of the building, it became clear that water had entered and damaged one of the dehumidifiers that maintains the atmosphere over the ice pad. This now meant that the arena was becoming extremely wet with a build-up of condensation causing further damage to new areas, including the fire alarm. Two rental units were brought in from the mainland to dry out the arena, and will be in place until the new permanent dehumidifier is installed.

While waiting for the roof to be finished, staff and volunteers took the opportunity to carry out some much needed repairs within the area not affected by the insurance claim. They replaced the rubber matting in the walkways, rubbed down and painted all the railings in the tiers, scrubbed and cleaned all the floors, seats and walls.

Because of damage to the fire alarm, however, access was restricted to a maximum of 20 people at a time, limiting not just the number of volunteers that could be admitted, but the number of people that could be admitted to behind closed doors events.

Saturday 30 January marked the first time that skating activities could take place. The Arena was able to permit the Junior Raiders to play their hockey games behind closed doors, with the Wightlink Raiders themselves playing a match on Sunday 31 January. A temporary fire evacuation procedure was put in place, because of the state of the fire alarm, meaning that the Arena had to limit the number of people coming in.

After the fire officer had given the OK to procedure, it became possible for patch sessions to proceed, and on Monday 1 February the figure skaters were allowed back in for private lessons. On the weekend of 6 and 7 February, hockey spectators returned for the first time since the Arena lost its roof. The Arena now has a temporary bottle bar and can offer hot dogs and soup.

So the venue now has a watertight roof, and a clean, dry arena. A new reception desk is being built and the offices have been moved downstairs. A fully working fire alarm should be in place this week. A professional inspection identified a number of electrical issues that have now been fixed.

There is, however, still a way to go. The next step is the stripping out and drying of the damaged end, before the refit of all areas can commence. Meetings are taking place this week to plan the schedule, with the aim of giving priority to the skate hire and cafe areas. When these are finished it will be possible to offer public skating once again.

According to Ryde Arena Trust, the Christmas period was demoralizing, smelly and damp for the staff having to enter the rink. It felt as if the problems were just getting worse and worse every time it rained. With the completion of the roof and the building now being watertight, it is at last possible to see a real difference. Progress is being made daily, staff are gradually being able to return to their duties and the clubs are using the ice for training and lessons.

Through it all, the staff and volunteers have been amazing. They have rallied round and taken on tasks and requests when asked, all working towards the end goal of getting the customers back in as soon as possible.

A clearer picture of timescales will be known later this week after a planning meeting. If all goes as intended, the trust hopes to be able to open the rink for public skating by Easter.

Live streaming from the French Cup in Rouen on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 February is at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/3JhG6JNStHh

Our experience so far is that the stream is too choppy to be watchable, and although there was sound for the opening ceremony, there was no sound on Friday afternoon’s broadcast. Sound was restored for Friday evening.

Catch-up videos of the senior short are at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVOKC5ty3mqHmXkef3pnqv-LBMWLyARJK

(Team Unique’s sound is again muted for copyright reasons, but you can play Paradise’s short in one window and watch Unique’s in another, tweaking as necessary for sync,  as they use the same music this season.)

Catch-up videos of the senior long are mostly at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVOKC5ty3mqHi8P6ES9Sb6tgREUBJdI_u (currently missing Black Diam’s)

Catch-up videos of the junior short are at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLVOKC5ty3mqEno53u_rDKbqYDkB6lqcwO

Event website: http://www.frenchcup.fr/


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 307 other followers