Gerd Serrasolses (recently honored as the Male Paddler of the Year at last week’s 2015 Canoe & Kayak Awards) sent in the following report from the King of Asia race, which he calls, “honestly one of the sickest events/races ever,” with a little background on the event entering its sixth year, at which Serrasolses claimed the crown for the men and Ukraine’s Alona Buslaeva claimed the ‘Queen of Asia’ title after winning the women’s side of the two-race event.
The sixth edition of the King of Asia Extreme Kayak Race took place the weekend before last (July 28-August 1) on the banks of the Chuya River near Chibit in Altay, Russia. For over four days, paddlers from over eight nations camped at the grassy fields right at the takeout of the Mazhoy section to participate on Russia’s biggest extreme race event. A lot of top paddlers attended the event this year proving its quality and growth internationally.
Check out one of our training runs for the King of Asia superfinal with Aniol Serrasolses. This course is so sick!! It might look easy but its so hard to go fast with all the boily water and so much stuff crashing on you… This section is so much fun to paddle, I could do this everyday! I trimmed some of the bougie and pools from the video but actually there isn't that much, 5 minutes of the best whitewater you can get! Russia is epic!adidas Outdoor Pyranha Kayaks Galasport International Immersion Research Watershed Drybags Picky Bars SB Productions GoPro
Posted by Gerd Serrasolses on Thursday, August 13, 2015
The event started with the men’s qualifier down the lower Mazhoy Gorge, from the 'Malish' rapid all the way down to camp: over four minutes of big-water paddling through tight walls, big holes and lots of waves. Everyone did two runs, with the best time counting. Gerd Serrasolses was the fastest followed by his brother Aniol Serrasolses and Fabian Dorfler on third place.
On Friday the event moved downstream on the lower Chuya for the BoaterX race. The course was pushy and really fun and a couple touch-and-go drybags made for some tricky lines and good ol' boaterX fighting. The start was a seal launch from the wooden bridge and the boil-ey aerated water upon landing provided some of the best carnage for the spectators.
After lots of funny moments and fast paddling in the qualifiers (heats of four, best two advance to the next round), four paddlers remained for the final; Fabian, Gerd, Vladimir and Alexei. This section also hosted the women’s qualifier, in which Alona Buslaeva won comfortably, followed by the BoaterX finals that she also won after some good passing.
In the men’s finals, Gerd Serrasolses had a good start and kept his lead to take first place followed by teammate Fabian Dorfler and two strong Russian paddlers, Alexei Lukin and Vladimir Kazankiy.
After BoaterX, it was time for the Chinese race -- the last chance for those who failed to advance in the qualifiers to advance to the next day’s -- featuring a shoreline mass-start atop the course. After a great start, Konstantin Lubyagin took the win followed by another three lucky paddlers to qualify for the superfinal.
A cold night and an early Saturday morning start lowered water levels though still created a tough superfinal course. The racers put together some fast lines and clocked good times despite some mistakes on the last rapid, the 'Russian rollercoaster' that was one of the crux of the race.
After that it was time for the women to race down the lower section to camp where the men set safety. In the end Alona Buslaeva took the win becoming the 2015 Queen of Asia followed by Svetlana Chernishova and Galina Derevyankina.
On the men’s side, Gerd Serrasolses managed the course fastest, becoming the 2015 King of Asia closely followed by Fabian Dorfler and Russian powerhouse and three-time King of Asia winner Egor Voskoboynikov. Rounding off the top five were Alexey Lukin and Aniol Serrasolses. After many prizes and the traditional family photo (pictured below) the party started with open bar, music and awesome full moon to lighten everyone throughout the night.
@king of asia was so sick !!!! best race course ever, great people and a very fun party !! Gerd Serrasolses is a beast and unstopable this year. took both wins on boater X and super final time trial !! Thanks Vasili and everyone involved on making this event happen !!! we'll be back for sure !!!@red bull
Posted by Aniol Serrasolses on Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Everyone enjoyed the high water, nice weather and the friendship between paddlers -- even if communication is sometimes difficult. Thanks to the organizer for putting the event together, the safety crew, the timers, shuttle drivers, barmans, DJs, and event sponsors for the prizes... SPASIVA! WHITEWATER!
BoaterX (men) -- 1, Gerd Serrasolses (Spain). 2, Dorfler Fabian (Germany). 3, Alexey Lukin (Russia). 4, Vladimir Kazankiy (Russia).
BoaterX (women) -- 1, Alona Buslaeva (Ukraine). 2, Svetlana Chernishova (Russia). 3, Galina Derevyankina (Russia). 4, Elena Bushmina (Russia).
Superfinal (men) -- 1, Gerd Serasolses (Spain) King of Asia 2015. 2, Dorfler Fabian (Germany). 3, Egor Voskoboynikov (Russia). 4, Alexey Lukin (Russia). 5, Aniol Serrasolses (Spain).
Superfinal (women) -- 1. Alona Buslaeva (Ukraine) - Queen of Asia 2015. 2, Svetlana Chernishova (Russia). 3, Galina Derevyankina (Russia). 4, Elena Bushmina (Russia).
.. And a some more footage from the Serrasolses brothers:
Some GoPro shots of me and Gerd Serrasolses bombing down our favorite section in Siberia at medium flows…. 30 min shuttle, 10 min. of flat water and then you get to paddle 2 hours of the sickest whitewater…. soo good when it gets high !!!! Best training ever to become a big water jedi !!! Red Bull SB Productions Werner Paddles Astral Whitewater Watershed Drybags Picky Bars Waka Kayaks Sweet Protection
Posted by Aniol Serrasolses on Monday, August 10, 2015
MORE FROM C&K
-- Check out footage from a recent paddling expedition in Russia’s remote Sayan Mountains, plus a Digital Feature on an expedition through the Altai mountains, and a deeper read with an excerpt from Editor-at-Large Eugene Buchanan’s ‘Brothers on the Bashkaus,’ detailing his 1993 descent of Siberia’s infamous Bashkaus River in hand-built catarafts.
-- Watch expedition kayaker Chris Korbulic’s artistic take on getting to, and through, some of Siberia’s toughest runs.
-- Plus hear about an all-female Siberian Source to Sea