Brits triumph at GoPro King of the Alps competition

Credit: Flo Smith

British Canoeing – Saturday 10th June saw over 150 athletes from 18 different nations joined together to compete in the 6th edition of the GoPro King of the Alps. The Passier Valley in South Tirol, Italy hosted yet again an action packed event attracting some of the top European kayakers, but this event is not just reserved for the elite few.

The first race is a mass start marathon on a beautiful continuous class 3 river and this year the water was slightly lower than usual but the action was still high and exciting under sunny blue skies.

The first start is quite brutal with 100 kayaks (men’s senior and masters) starting at the top of a good class 3+ rapid. This group was followed by junior and women kayakers which was again a highly competitive class. The third group start was the open canoes, which had a very popular turnout in its second year at the competition.

The marathon race was approximately 7km long, taking participants on average 25 minutes to complete. A particularly grueling course due to the constant line changing, head to head battle takes place down the course whilst considering small waves and holes too.

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For the top 20 fastest men, the battle continued with British paddlers Andy Kettlewell (13th) and Ben Johnson (17th) going into the final. The final run was set further up the valley just above the Passer Gorge in Moos. This epic class 5 course has a good 4m drop at the start, continuous class 4 leading into the “Gun Barrels” with paddlers getting shot out at speeds of 25km/ph straight into the main rapid the “Intimidator.”

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