Daredevils Paddle the Toughest Whitewater Routes

Adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Champions 2016 

After a weekend of intense racing on the legendary Wellerbrücke rapids in Austria’s Ötztal valley, 25-year old Aniol Serrasolses from Bescano in Spain and 26- year old Sandra Hyslop from Loughborough, Great Britain claimed their first adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Champion title, ahead of Sam Sutton (NZL) and Nouria Newman (FRA) taking silver and Dane Jackson (USA) and Martina Wegman (NED) winning bronze.

The beautiful Ötztal valley in the heart of the Austrian Alps this weekend welcomed the World’s best kayakers for the 9th running of the adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Championship. The longest valley in the Austrian region of Tirol, the Ötztal (or more specifically the mountain village of Oetz) is home to the legendary Wellerbrücke falls, where 175 athletes from 29 Countries battled to take the Sickline title.

The adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Championship is truly unique and brings together athletes from all the individual kayaking disciplines (freestyle, expedition, extreme, slalom etc.) to compete against one another on a World class stretch of whitewater. 2009 World Freestyle Kayak Champion Nick Troutman (CAN) described Sickline as, “just an incredible event – you’re in this amazing little mountain town, wedged between these 2 huge mountains in the Alps, you’ve got this prestigious European river and World class competitors from all corners of the World coming here to put their mettle to the test. It just really is a great race course, an extremely professional, well done event, and you get the best of the best racers together to go head to head and see who’s the fastest.”

Over the course of 2 action packed days, that 175 was narrowed down to just 16 athletes for the men’s final and 5 for the women’s. The finals themselves are straight shoot-outs for time, with the competitors battling the clock and the 280-metre-long course which takes in grade 5 (extremely difficult) and 6 (only runnable under ideal conditions) whitewater. One unique feature of the final is that the provisional leader climbs into the hot seat whirlpool next to the end of the course and waits to see if anyone can beat their time. If not, they stay in the whirlpool and enjoy the warmth!

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