Community update: Kaylen Basset's experience in Europe!
Australian Slalom Canoe Paddler, Kaylen Bassett, competed across Europe earlier in 2018. We were very excited to be involved as a sponsor, and were cheering him on from halfway across the world!
Kaylen has shared some insight into his experiences in Europe with us:
“I arrived in Munich on the 23rd of May, after 23 hours of travelling. I collected my boat, paddle and a lease car, and drove a few hours to Muotathal Switzerland - the location of the 2018 Wildwater World Championships.
Upon arriving in Switzerland, I was greeted to the sound of cowbells, mountains and the smell of manure. Due to a lack of accommodation, I was going to be sleeping in the lease car for ten days.
We arrived at the opening ceremony to large cowbells being carried by locals and townsfolk surrounding the road. It was an amazing experience.
The next day we had the Classic race, followed by the Team’s Classic where fellow Australian paddlers Robert McIntyre, Alex McIntyre and myself raced as a collective. We finished in a position of 9th. This was a solid result for us all, as this was our all our weakest category in Wildwater. This was to be followed up by the Sprint, the category we all been looking forward to.
I finished in 31st in the Sprint; not an ideal result, but with it being my first Senior World Championship I wasn’t to upset with my performance.
The last event in the World Championships was to be the Team Sprints. We were able to finish in 4th place, which is the strongest result the Australian Wildwater community has had in over ten years!
After paying my respects to the winners at the closing ceremony, I drove 10 hours across four countries to Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina. I was greeted with warm humid weather, busy roads and a high volume river.
The course was in a stunning gorge surrounded by ferns and other green vegetation. The only downside being that to get back to the top of the course we would have to walk up a narrow road alongside the cliff face, while trucks came roaring passed.
At World Cups 1 & 2, I finished 31st in the Classic and 22nd in the Sprint after executing another two solid races.
The last two World Cups were to be held in Celje, Slovenia, at a local canoe club. I also drove up to Ljubljana to train at the Tacen Whitewater course. With one of the most infamous drops on the circuit, it is definitely a must for all paddlers, and it was a great warm up for my slalom season.
However, it was not all fun and games. My shoulder caused discomfort two days before the classic, so I made the decision to not compete
in the classic in order to rest for my future races.
Many locals came to watch the worlds best battle it out on their course. There was everything from food, to music, to hot-air balloons. The finals were held under lights to add to the atmosphere.
After a disappointing first K1 slalom run, I stuck to my race plan in my second run and crossed the line in 27th place with no mistakes . This gave me an overall 2018 World Cup series result of 35th (due to missing one race due to injury) and a Wildwater world ranking of 48th.
I am now in training in Ljubljana, after having spent time racing slalom in Bratislava, finishing 19th, and training in Prague. I have driven over 7000km in the past month and a half and have crossed nine countries.
The goal is to improve my slalom World Ranking from #107 and to gain more racing experience on new courses, to help me with my goal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and beyond.
I would just like to say a big thank-you to you for all your support!”
- Kaylen Bassett