Monday, 16 October 2017

Sickline 2017 | Lyndon Williams

- Champions killer
- Wellebrucke
- Late boof
- Under cut
- Siphon
- Losers party
- Pros
- Champion's party

This is a list of things you will hear constantly if you attend the Adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Championship.

Last week Team Escape Watersports took to the road to enter the biggest whitewater race on the calendar. For Eddy it was his fifth time competing at the event, but for Lyndon this was his first major race.

The Wellebrucke rapids are found in the small valley of Otzal, Austria and upon arrival its easy to see why its the home to the competition. Surrounded by mountains, the valley starts to open as you get closer and out roars the Wellebrucke rapids. Steep, technical, and powerful it makes for a great test of ability. Not only will it test your skill level but also your nerve and concentration.

Like most, we spent the week prior to the race getting used to the course and learning the fastest lines from top to bottom. This was not as easy as it sounds! Having a mixture of heavy rain, sunshine and snow, the river level changed often and dramatically which made it very difficult to both paddle consistently, and stay in your kayak.

Thursday came around quickly, which meant it was time to register. There was a parade of nations, an excellent spread of food and drink, and a pre-race briefing to get everyone excited for the upcoming qualifiers.

So finally, here was the day we had been waiting for. Both Lyndon and Eddy had been training for months and were looking fast in their practice laps. 175 competitors in total turned up this year, consisting of amateurs and pro athletes. Eddy was up first, time to lay down his first run of two in his heat. Looking focused he put down a respectable time to place him 14th in his group.
Lyndon was up with his first lap, a little slower with a 1.5 second difference between the pair. This was enough to to leave Eddy 37th and Lyndon 54th after round one.

After a quick lunch the second lap was soon upon us. Once again Eddy was up first, and although a little slower than before he still placed high. Lyndon made the walk down the steps to the river bank knowing a solid run would put him in contention to qualify. Concentrating on that first move and looking focused Lyndon dropped into the water, went clean through the starting rapid (minus 1) and set up for Champions Killer rapid. His late boof was slightly off line which pushed him into the river left eddy costing him about 5 seconds.

Watching the times drop on the big screen Eddy and Lyndon were getting bumped down the table fast. Lyndon's slight error put him way down into 81st position, however Eddy had done enough to qualify in 50th position, making it his best result in 5 years and putting him in with a chance to race against the best in the world.

Excitement was high but chances were inevitably slim, so although he didn't get further than the quarters, Eddy went out there, gave it his best, and most of all he enjoyed it.
Spending the day watching the finals was great, course records kept getting broken and the top 15 was so close. Sam Sutton took the win in the men's, while Nouria Newman claimed the women's title. Amazing athletes!

We celebrated Team Escape Watersports success at the event with a glass of bubbly, then headed to the Champions Party.

The 24 hour drive home consisted of junk food and retelling many stories from the week.
Can not wait for next year!

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