adidas Sickline 2012

Kayaking: challenging the Eiger North wall of white-water sports

adidas Sickline 2012 - Whitwater paddlers crown fifth Extreme Kayak World Champion in Ötztal, Austria12

October 4th to 7th 2012, Oetztal valley (Austria)

With a fabulous time of 55.84 seconds Kiwi Sam Sutton not only secured his second World Championship title in 2011, but also undercut the course record he had set in 2010 by three seconds. This year, the 24-year old kayaking pro from Rotorua New Zealand wants to do a hat-trick. But that's a tough nut to crack in a highly competitive race. Last year, places 2 (58.0) to 8 (58.96) all clocked within one second. Sutton's teammate Michele Ramazza (ITA), who won silver in 2010, is in excellent shape, and the Olympians Mike Dawson (NZL), Vavrinec Hradilek (CZE) - silver in London - and Hannes Aigner (GER) - bronze in London - also hope to benefit from their current slalom fitness at the adidas Sickline World Championship.

"sick line" is the perfect, smoothest and fastest line downriver. That's what the competitors have to find when racing the so-called "Wellerbrücke" rapids, a famous section of Tirol's glacier-fed Ötztaler Ache River, peppered with loads of natural obstacles. The section has the reputation of being the Eiger Northwall of whitewater kayaking, thus it offers the perfect setting to crown the World Champion in extreme kayak racing. The rapids are solid class 5 whitewater, both technically difficult and dangerous, so there are consequences to mistakes. Therefore the field of 150 international kayakers is filtered down in two qualification runs to determine the 45 best paddlers who compete in the actual World Championship race. The top 3 of the previous year - Sam Sutton (NZL), Mike Dawson (NZL) and Paul Böckelmann (GER) - are automatically qualified.