Skrevet af Mads Ring
Krumlovsky Marathon is a giant festival/race for all kinds of floating devices – including SUPs. The race runs downstream on the Vlata River, and ends in the historic town of Krumlov. A group of young Danish kayak-paddlers asked if I wanted to join their trip to the event. It sounded so spectacular and fun that there was only one answer to that question.
The race started Saturday morning. What a buzz prior to the start! There was ALL kind of weird paddling-crafts and I quickly saw that the SUP-sport down here had developed way different from back home. People had really hacked their boards in different ways in order to perform on rivers with both calm parts and whitewater-sections.
5 min. before the start the around 80 SUP-paddlers and 50 raft-teams would line up on a hill next to the river. In best brave-heart manner, the horn was given and everyone would charge towards the river. I started way down in the pack and there was an inferno of airmats and rubberboats when I hit the water. I got myself untangled pretty fast and soon I was chasing the lead pack on the fast-moving river.
Reading the river was key which was kindda big problem. I probably did all mistakes stated in the river-paddlers’ 101 to success. I was stuck in eddies (currents going upstream), shallow water and was thrown around between rocks as if I was in a human ping-pong game. After realizing that paddle-power couldn’t ensure any win I re-adjusted my strategy and followed what looked like a skilled canoeist. Soon a series of narrow water-slides would follow and the current would increase. I had paddled myself up to the leading pack after around 15km.
In the last 10 km the amount of waterslides/falls increased and adrenalin was pumping on highest level. On one of the waterslides my fin snapped, resulting in a hard slam onto the board and into the river. Luckily, I had an extra fin with me. But on the next slide I got de-finned once again. At this slide there was 4km left of the race. Another paddler in the lead pack had snapped his paddle in the same slide, and it was really a crooked fight for the top positions in the final kilometers. Paddling without fin was challenging but I managed to secure a 4th position.
In the goal-area we were met with livebands, gullasch and thick party-vibes. Long story short – the party was on, and few hours later hundreds of paddlers were gathered in an ancient church where we all would be rocking our socks off, half naked and a little drunk to a Balkan-style rock-band. That’s all I remember…
Krumlovsky Marathon must be the European version of Payette Rivers-games mixed with October-fest, and I would join the event again any time! Beautiful scenery, awesome paddling, lovely people and over-the-top organization. Thanks to SIC-Denmark for the support and DSFR and SimmerStyle Denmark for borrowing me awesome gear!