EC Turkey – put it on your bucket list

We have already introduced you to the Firtina River and the first day of competition of the EC Turkey. Now we follow the Slalom and Downriver action.

TUR 10The river dropped overnight, making the course more difficult. The teams scattered around the track, looking at the 14 gates, of which 5 were upstream. As usual, everything seemed so easy until one was sitting in the raft ready to go down the river.

TUR 20As we explained, the river is quite fast and for the women’s teams it was difficult to move from the left to the right side of the river, thus there were a lot of negative points. In addition to having good techniques they needed a lot of power to cope with the fast water. It was easy to find oneself on a protruding rock and flipped. There were two places on the river where the current drew the rafts to the rocks and were common spots for flips.

TUR 18Best placed women’s team were the Dutch Ladies”, second were the Slovakian “Vopicky” and third place was Iraq.

U19 – The first round was a shocker for the U19 category, but in the second round they showed excellent slalom skills as they did in BiH at the recent ERC, a thrilling performance which was much better than half of the Open Men’s teams. Calmly and with a lot of skill these youths mastered the obstacles. An excellent performance from “Slovak Junior Rafters” with “0” points in the second run secured them first place in the slalom. This ride would align them in 4th place in the Open category. Bravo guys! “Sporttur Ruazan” had -5 in the second round and their faster time than “Caykur” who also had -5, secured them second.

TUR 22Perhaps the youth lack power, but the Open Men’s were missing technique!. The favourites justified their position and some teams managed to recover in their second run. Clean runs were had in both runs by “Hiko”, “Dayak” and “Tyvole”. “Caykur” and “Sporttur Ruazan” had clean runs in their second run, but “Morava”, with -5, had a better time than them and so were able to fight for third place. Second were the boys in “Dajak” club, and first was team “Hiko” from the Czech Republic.

After lunch and a little rest, it was time for Downriver training. For the first time ever the Downriver race ended in the sea. So the teams could enjoy surfing the waves as well. What I found interesting on this course (I had a chance to try it), were the artificial courses for canoeing and kayaking, which have been built on the river along the right bank of the river just before it enters the sea. The Downriver run went through this course.

TUR 21Finally we had sun at the end of the day, so the teams used the time to rest, sunbathe on the beach and walk around the city. It is good to have a schedule that allows teams to relax and enjoy the competition.

The evening was reserved for a party at the “Ruba center” which was on the Sprint, H2H, Slalom course. We celebrated birthdays, heard ethnic music, danced and would have continued for much longer but there was still a race the next day so we all retreated at a sensible time.

The final day was for Downriver and the medal ceremonies.

Just as every day, after breakfast teams were transported to the start of competition. The route was long, but the river quite fast, and in addition the river level had decreased overnight. The most entertaining part was when the teams had to carry the rafts ashore over the finish line and many found that their legs had stiffened up during the race and the simple task of walking was quite a challenge!

(or another from Tom Scepka)

Winners of Downriver and Overall.

TUR 19Open Men – The order for all four disciplines and overall was the same – 1. “Hiko”, 2. “Dajak”, 3. “Morava”. Congratulations and thank you, you have saved me typing time. :)

Open Women – And in this case it would have been almost the same except that “Vopicky” were passed during the Downriver due to illness and misunderstandings. So the order was Dutch ladies then Denmark then Russia. Overall was: Dutch ladies, Russia and third was Iran, great to see them at an IRF event! And it was good to see the “Denmark ladies” back in the boat.

TUR 16U19 was a clean sweep in the Downriver from Turkey: 1. “Caykur” 2. “Rize belediye” 3. “Sporttur Ruazan”. And overall was: 1. “Caykur” 2. “Sporttur Ruazan”, 3. “Slovak Junior Rafters”.

Congratulations to the winners and all participants.

The competition closed in the ceremonial hall of the municipality where they awarded the medals, the overall standings, as well as cash prizes.

TUR 2It was an incredible experience in Turkey. We want to thank the main sponsor “Caykur” and “Caykur” Manager – Imdat Sutluoglu and Mayor – Hakan Gultekin for the warm welcome and support for the sport of rafting. Fikret Yardimici – Vice President of GOSBF, Kanat Karamursel – IRF S&C Com Member and Euro Cup Race Director for the competition and for assistants Savas Izmir, Erdogan Bucan, Adem Aktas, Hamza Draco and other judges, security and technical support.

TUR 17This was an excellently organised first Euro Cup for them, well done!

The Firtina River satisfied our expectations. The hosts were very welcoming and this area has incredible potential to become a major centre of rafting in Turkey, the region and Europe. We hope they will continue and thrive and grow so that one day they can host an ERC and/or WRC competition. With this competition they have put Turkey on the map of sports rafting. Thank you for everything, on behalf of the athletes and myself, it was beautiful.

​See you next year. ​

Phote albums