For the fifth time in a row, the adidas Sickline Extreme Kayak World Championship takes place at the legendary "Wellerbrücke” river section in Austria’s Oetztal Valley. Between the 4th and 7th of October, the best whitewater kayakers on the globe will meet in Tirol’s longest alpine valley to snatch the much sought-after 2012 world champion belt.
22-year-old Sam Sutton from New Zealand won the gold medal in a thrilling final last year. Sutton finished three seconds ahead of his compatriot Mike Dawson and Paul Böckelmann from Germany. Over 100 top kayakers from 26 countries had travelled to Austria to compete for world championship honours on one of the last non-adjusted whitewater rivers of the Alps.
This year, too, the so-called »Wellerbrücke« section of the glacier-fed Oetztaler Ache River that has the reputation of being the Eiger Northwall of whitewater kayaking – will be the centre of the race action. In total, max. 150 competitors will be admitted to the Extreme Kayak World Championship. Last year’s Top 25 will be automatically seeded, the remaining 125 entries will be allocated on a first-come-first-serve basis to kayakers who master whitewater class V. The Top 3 of the previous year are automatically qualified for the finals at the Wellerbrücke. In addition, 45 athletes can qualify on Friday to compete in the world championship race.
The 48 finalists who race at Wellerbrücke, will compete in a 'head-to-head' format, i.e. the fastest of the qualification will battle the 48th, the second fastest will compete against the 47th and so on. Last year’s medallists will be integrated in the racing grid based on a timed run on the qualifying course. The faster kayaker will advance to next round, respectively, together with two ‘lucky losers’, i.e. the two fastest of the eliminated Top 48 athletes. Then the Top 26 compete once again in a dual mode. The 13 remaining athletes will then compete for world champion honours, together with two more ‘lucky losers’, i.e. the two fastest of the eliminated Top 26 athletes. In the superfinal, the fastest time wins. Each of the top 15 kayakers has one try to secure a place on the podium. The kayaker with the slowest race time of the previous run will be the first to start. He will then climb the ´hot seat´whirlpool, the throne of the fastest athlete. His race time must now be beaten. If a kayaker is faster, he can dethrone the race leader. The athlete, who is still sitting in the whirlpool at the end, will be the well-deserved adidas Sickline World Champion.