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I just got back from one of my favorite events on the extreme race circuit. The Adidas Sickline which is held on the Wellebruka River in Otztal, Austria!
I made the switch to the Karma just before heading over for the race and have to say the transition was very easy. Im stoked on the Karma because its the perfect boat for steep technical creeking yet plenty fast which is essential for a race like Sickline. The format is a grueling 2 days of racing, the qualifier is on the “champions killer” drop  plus a minute of class 2-3 and the final takes place on super technical class 4-5. In total, 5 runs if you make it all the way to the super-final!

Lining up the champions killer in the qualifier.
Photo By: Albert Aixas

Its hard to find a boat that does it all, but the Karma is that kind of boat. Im getting really comfortable with the outfitting and how easy it is to just hop in and rip. The Hull of the karma is very unique and Im loving how easy it is to keep on line while charging at full speed, the planning hull and edges are perfect for carrying speed and being able to carve in and out of turns. The bow rocker preforms great and I’m finding it easy to have the dry and fast lines I’m always looking for in a race. I was also super stoked the carbon competition track which made a huge difference in cutting out a few pounds of weight and adding stiffness to the hull. I could really notice it coming off the start ramp and out of the champions killer.
Another thing that stood out from the experience and helped with my preparations for the race was The Jackson’s flew my boat all the way from the states to Austria, Joel picked me up at the train station in Otz, the hotel rooms were ready for the whole team which were walking distance to the river, and I was able to get on the water in a brand new boat the same day I arrived. Having support like this when traveling great distances is crucial when training time is limited. We all know that traveling with a boat and gear can be stressful so it was a great relief to know everything handled.

As soon as I arrived Dane was fired up as usual to get on the water and show me the new course. This summer the alps received record rain fall and floods swept through the Otz valley totally changing a few rapids on the Wellebruka.

Running the upper Wellerbruka is a fun way to warm up for the race course
Photo By: Mike Dawson

We maybe got a little too fired up and did 10 or 12 runs that afternoon. Needless to say after 20 hours of travel I was exhausted but stoked on life. Throughout the week leading up to the race the whole team trained together, reviewed lines and race strategy which was really fun and helpful.

Charging in the final
Photo By: David Spiegel

I don’t think we could have been more prepared and it showed with Nouria winning for the Ladies and Emily finishing 4th,  Dane (5th), Joel (10th) , and myself(11th) in the final. Nick and EJ just barely missed out on the final but had some of the fastest times of the day, unfortunately the luck of the draw at sickline has a lot to do with making the final.  My goal for the race was to make the final and once in the final lay it all on the line and go for broke. In the final I had a few tiny mistakes but all in all is was a perfect week of paddling and a great experience. Im already fired up for next year and the Green Race which is just 3 weeks away! BRAPPPP!