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Fall ’13: Stikine+Sick-Line+Green Race

After two weeks on the Stikine with the rest of the Sick-Line crew I finally flew home after almost a year of travels up and down the American continent. The Stikine is one of the best rivers I’ve ever paddled, almost 100km, 100 big water rapids, 3 to a few hours on the river, you choose, best scenery, amazing canyon, great friends and amazing times! Definitely hard to beat and this season up there was awesome with stable flows and amazingly nice weather! Thank you for the good times!

About to drop into the Stikine with the Adidas Sick-Line Team! Good times!!!

Going right at the Wall 2 for my first time!

I spent a few days home and soon enough I headed north for the most important and harder race of the season, the Adidas Sick-Line in Oetz, Austria. On its 5th edition now the event is in my opinion one of the hardest without a doubt. There are a lot of paddlers (about 150) and a lot of really good paddlers from all over the place plus some of the best slalom teams in the world (germany, czech republic, slovenia, slovakia… the course is really short and explosive (under a minute) and if you do one mistake you loose a lot of time and there’s no place to recover, the race is over.

This year I felt like I didn’t have much time to prepare for it as i was on the Stikine, however being in the water for most of the year without any injury made quite a difference with my previous editions. I finally reached the super final again and after a not great final run I ended up 6th, just behind team mate Sam Sutton. Props to Egor for taking third! I was happy with the result and hope I can do better next year.

Next was the Green Race in North Carolina, USA. The weekend prior to the race I attended the Russell Fork race in Kentucky, just a few hours out of Asheville. I paddled the river once and the raced it, was interesting to see how much I could remember and trying to go as fast as possible while deciding where to go at the same time, definitely an interesting experience! I ended up 5th after I got lost and dropped into an eddy/hole that flipped me… All good though, training for the Green race was on.

With dam releases being on certain days the locals have sue advantage on that river, I managed to learn the lines pretty quick but there are many tricks and little rocks that are hard to master. Race day came and unfortunately I didn’t paddled my best, I had to roll once and lost a bunch of time in the slides. I then did short boat and that didn’t work too well, it was hard to adapt and that was my second short boat run ever… I lost some time here and there and got stuck on the slides again… at the end I came 4th on both classes but some good seconds from the firsts spots.

Anyway I’m happy I made it and got to discover the south east kayaking community over there and experience the Green race, famous for being one of the oldest racing events in kayaking history. I hope I’ll be back next year for more and improve some lines down the Green. Congrats to Pat Keller for throwing down an amazing long boat run taking first place! See you next year!