The region around Lipno’s dam is well known as a Czech holiday destination. It offers plenty of activities such as biking, swimming, hiking, canoeing and it is close to the Austrian border so you can go whitewater rafting or canoeing to the Inn River. But not so many people know that Lipno is the best Czech whitewater river. The dam is holding the water so most of the year this river is dry. Once a year when it’s possible to kayak the dam releases water. It is the biggest Czech whitewater festival and you can meet there everyone who has a raft, kayak or canoe at home. You can just relax and enjoy the river or you can take part in events like whitewater slalom, rafting or extreme kayaking.
Peter and me participated in the Devils Extreme Race this year. My first time on this awesome river was last year and I was really looking forward to kayaking there again.
It was as good as I remembered it from 2010. We ran it a few times on Friday. Saturday we spent the day at the race course. There we met our team mates and friends, Sam Sutton and Markus Hummel. It was quite a big and international event so you could meet many excellent paddlers from all around the world. The race started from the ramp and the course was segmented the following way: 500m for slalom and kayak cross, 1000m for sprint and 5000m for team race.
Girls only had to paddle 500m so it was much easier for us than for men. This competition is not like the others, there are many kayakers all the way down so you need to paddle between them. It happens sometimes that they paddle into you or you can’t get into the eddy, where the banner is to touch because it is full of paddlers.
This can sometimes drive you crazy, especially when you lose your leading position because of this, but on the other hand this is what it’s all about.
The river flows just 3 days a year so everyone wants to be there and enjoy this awesome river so you can’t be angry about it. You can feel the good vibrations from the smiling paddlers and it makes you happy, too. So it doesn’t matter whether you succeed in the race or you miss the gates, you are smiling anyway.
Sunday was the last day. Peter had a team race with two other Slovakian guys. It took about 12 minutes to paddle the whole course that went through the rapid “Bloody Hands”, which we used for portage. It is not very difficult but it is so narrow that if you can’t follow the proper line you’ll injure your hands very easily.
I think our Slovakian Team ended up just 4 seconds behind the New Zealand Team that finished as 3rd.
This was like a warm up before the adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Championship, which we are really looking forward to.
Check out the video by Peter Kaspar.
So see you,
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