Joe Morley (GBR) wins his second adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Championship title in a row
Last year, Morley surprised the kayaking community, when he defeated the seemingly unbeatable 3-time adidas Sickline World Champion Sam Sutton from New Zealand. This year, the slalom specialist returned as defending champion and top favourite and he stood up to the pressure. He put in a commanding final run on the 7°C cold Ötztaler Ache River today, clocking 56:48 seconds, the fastest race time of the day and almost one second faster than second placed Mike Dawson (57:42). “On my final run everything went well, I’ve been going faster and faster all weekend,” says Morley. “That way I knew exactly what I needed to do, so I just went down and did it! I was a bit worried, because Gerd Serrasolses had been super quick all weekend as if he had been on a mad run, so to go in front of him and everybody else is a bit of an achievement - again. It feels pretty good to win twice in a row. Now I’ve got to do at least two more wins, eh! In theory I think there’s still stuff to squeeze regarding time on this course; I can always be fitter and I can always be stronger on the flat. I know it’s ambitious to try to beat Sam’s record of winning the adidas Sickline three times, but I would like to come back and get another title obviously and keep going for as long as I can.”
For two-time adidas Sickline runner-up Mike Dawson, it’s already the third silver medal at the Extreme Kayak World Championship after 2009 and 2011. “It’s so good to get back on the podium here”, Dawson says. “Last year - or even this year – I had surgery. I broke my back the year before, so it’s pretty rad just to be paddling again. Every year it gets harder and harder, there are more guys making this their core thing, their core sport and they’re training hard all year. There are other races popping up that are really good and challenging everyone. So when they come here for the pinnacle event of the year, everyone is just there to win and that’s pretty hard when you’ve had success in the past with all these young fellows nipping on your heels and wanting to take your podium spot, so it’s really tough, but a lot of fun.”
The event saw its largest number of women competitors ever: 15. The five fastest women in the qualification rounds battled it out on the Wellerbrücke rapids. 23-year-old Nouria Newman (FRA), known as the best female extreme paddler in the world, unsurprisingly outclassed the women’s field and was crowned as adidas Sickline Queen for the second year in a row. With a total time of 2:06.04 after two runs, Newman finished more than five seconds ahead of Toni George (NZL) and over 10 seconds ahead of Martina Wegman (NED).
Over 130 of the world’s finest white-water, slalom and freestyle paddlers from no less than 25 different countries met up in the picturesque town of Oetz to compete for world championship honours on the legendary Wellerbrücke rapids, a section of the glacier-fed Ötztaler Ache River that is considered to be one of the most difficult white-water sections on the planet.
The Wellerbrücke rapids are solid class 5 white-water, both technically difficult and dangerous. Any mistakes paddlers may make have high consequences. The well-known rapids on the course: Champions Killer (the final drop of the 280-metre long racecourse) and Champions Killer Minus 1 (the hole above Champions Killer) are both feared and endeared by extreme kayakers, all of whom respect the river as much as they want to conquer it.
The top 3
- Joe Morley (GBR), 0:56,48
- Mike Dawson (NZL), 0:57,42
- Jamie Sutton (NZL), 0:57,50
The top 3 "Sickline Queen"
- Nouria Newman (FRA)
- Toni George (NZL)
- Martina Wegman (NED)