King of the Alps 2017 – Full Report + Photo Gallery
The sixth edition of the King of the Alps was a blast! Over 150 athletes coming from all over the globe battled it out on the Passirio River for their chance to claim the 2017 title.
Despite the growing concurrence the four-time King of the Alps Michele Ramazza from Italy managed to keep the crown!
The woman’s category hotted up this year with a record turnout of sixteen ladies. Last year winner Pavalina Zasterova (CZE) came to defend her title and managed to maintain her rein. The juniors put in a strong performance earning themselves respectable times and they will definitely be talent to look out for in the future. The OC1 scene keep on growing and this year 15 paddlers showed up and battle from top to bottom to show all their amazing abilities.
The event kicked off with the traditional mass start above the first class IV rapid and the colourful explosion of boats was as action packed as promised, a real favourite with the athletes and spectators, but unfortunately, for a few people their race ended there with a swim and a bootie beer. The juniors headed off to a fit and feisty start with some good boat bashing from the boys, but the fast pace couldn’t be keep by all and the leaders soon broke away from the pack. The leaders keep it tight for most of the race but as tiredness set in mistakes were made, leaving Goddard Elliot (GBR) the chance to ride on home with some super slick lines and the 1st place in hand. 2nd place went to Roman Glasmann (GER) and hot on his tail 3rd to the local Jonas Walter (ITA).
The women headed off to a solid start showing great confidence down the first rapid. It wasn’t long before the leader emerged, Pavalina Zasterova (CZE) powered her way to the front where she remained for the rest of the race unchallenged by the others. A mighty battle went on for second place with more overtaking than a Formula 1 grand prix it was close throughout but after an epic 6km, long battle Marieke Vogt (AUT) managed to stole the 2nd place in front of Joeressen Jana (AUT).
The open canoes paddlers showed to fulfil their motto: half the paddle twice the men! In the end Bob McKee (UK) won followed by Hobson Richard (UK) and Jan Krause (GER).
The men’s start was intense and, with almost 100 paddlers on one starting line, tensions were high. Finding and keeping a good place was paramount to get off to the best possible start. Knowing your line is one thing, trying to keep it among the masses was another.
A strong line out of international stars dominated the first rapid all determined to come out on top. It was the newly dad and kayak matador Eric Deguil (FRA) who took the lead followed the local slalomer and last year winner of the junior competition Martin Unterthurner (ITA) and the Italian stallon Michele Ramazza (ITA). A constant head-to-head-to-head-to-head… went on throughout the entire course but Eric managed to really up their game, nailing every fast line available.
The top 20 men then went on to the final in Moos in the Passeier. This class V section starts with a 4m drop, 200m of continuous class IV, 90° shoot and then the “intimidator“ a meaty class V with a merging of rivers. It certainly makes an impression from the outside and the athletes literately came flying out buzzing! Racing lines were varied as each one tried to nail the perfect line but the course was not going to be tamed that easily.
With the crowds in place, the finalists performed a fantastic spectacular to the highest levels, with times getting closer with each round. The newcomer Andi Brunner from Austria managed to kick out the favourites Eric Deguil and Egor Voskoboynikov. After a tight final, Michele Ramazza managed to stop the fastest time followed by the locals Daniel Klotzner and Daniel Haller. In the overall Michele managed to keep his title followed by Daniel Klotzner and Eric Deguil.
This year addition was the team race per nation. Two athletes compete together on the final section with an additional gate just above the intimidator rapid. Of the 14 team at the start, one managed to get a great time and to become the knights of the King! The proud knight were the frenchies Jonas LeMorvan and Nicolas Caussanel.
For those who did not party all night or who were just real hard-core, trips were run the day, catering for all levels. Stories were told, suggestions were shared, ideas were given, and King of the Alps 2018 begins……………………….