European R4 heavy machinery – “Hiko” Rafting Team

This team from the Czech Republic has awesome previous results and is proving very hard for any other teams to get anywhere near let alone surpass. We bring you the 2014 R4 European Champions!

Hiko6The names of the big four are: Jan Havlíček, Ondřej Pinkava, Jan Šťastný, Aleš Daněk and for downriver Tomáš Kejklíček.

Jan – is definitely the most popular name in rafting. If you yell Jan, half “Gimpex” and “Hiko” team will respond. :D This is the name that has the most medals around their necks. ;)

Hiko1Aleš Daněk talks to us about their impressions of the competition and their success.

Three times in a row you have been crowned R4 European Champions – well, done!!! What is your secret – I won’t tell anyone. ;) :D

“Yes, three times in a row. Probably the most difficult was the first, in Italy 2010, where we had only one gold medal and competed with a team that was improvised. Two years ago we set a new European record of gaining a 1000 points and it will be very hard to reach that again. So in two years it’s new challenge for us!”

Hiko8I love the moment when, after playing the national anthem on winning the Overall Gold medal you broke out with such victorious energy. You have been incredibly successful, have set a new target for everyone else and taken a firm place in the history books. How were you feeling at that moment?

“After our results from the last two Euro Champs we could only aim at overall victory. In Slovakia at the Euro Champs it was a fair situation for all teams because everyone was only doing R4, whereas previously in 2010 and 2012 some teams had been doing R4 and R6 which meant everyone was able to give full power.”

Hiko5Did you think you would win overall?

“Yes we hoped for that and it has given us great confidence ahead of the World Champs in October where we want to build on that win.”

Which other team left you with a good impression at this event?

“We focused particularly on our own performance and results, but probably the second Czech team – they were a little bit improvised because of injury, and our fight in the final H2H was very interesting for fans.” See video below for this exciting race.

Will we see you in Brazil?​”​

Yes of course! We hope that it won´t be cancelled again. That´s the aim of the season – where we want to gain our best results.”

Hiko11I received an objection that I was only writing about the Moms who paddle, do you have Dads in your team and if you do, how do they manage the whole story of kids, work, paddling..?

“We all live and work in different cities; half of us have families and children. They have very tolerant wives, who allow them very good conditions for their training for competitions. We train separately and meet three or four times a year at the races.”– And achieve such success?! Impressive. Hats off!

Are there sponsors and others who you want to thank?

“Of course special thanks to “Hiko” sport company and his perfect equipment and XO foods for their special nutrition. :-)”

Congratulations on your great success guys. You have really made ​​the Czechs proud.

This season is not over for them and I cannot wait to see them competing at the 2014 World Rafting Champs in Brazil in October. In Brazil, Japan defends the World R4 title, and whether these guys it will bring that title back to Europe will be answered soon. This task will certainly not be easy for anyone to achieve – the crown for the best R4.

Article by Nada