It is with great sadness that we have to inform you today that the OETZ TROPHY – Extreme Kayak World Championships 2024 have to be cancelled. This decision was made after a detailed review of the current situation and in consultation with experts, our sponsors and local partners.
The race course has changed significantly due to the flooding in August 2023 and there are currently several hazards and syphons that would pose a major risk to the safety of participants. Our concern is that the course will be further affected by loose boulders in the winter of 2024. The same thing will also happen again during the summer months of 2024, meaning that we would not know until shortly before the OETZ TROPHY whether the race course could be paddled at all. In view of these uncertainties and the high risk of cancellation at short notice, we have decided with a heavy heart to cancel the OETZ TROPHY this year.
In addition to this temporary problem due to a natural disaster, kayaking at the Wellerbrücke is unfortunately also threatened by a man-made problem. The Tumpen/Habichen hydropower plant generates water surges at irregular intervals and without warning, which can lead to very dangerous situations for kayakers. During the planning phase of the recently constructed power plant, we warned urgently about this danger and were not taken seriously by the operator – Ötztaler Wassserkraft GmbH. We were assured again and again that it was absolutely unthinkable that the power plant could cause any water level fluctuations on our race course. Unfortunately, time has now shown that we were right in our concerns. In the coming months, we will do everything we can to ensure that the operators of the power plant install an automatic warning system in the area of the race course in order to at least limit the damage and avoid dangerous situations as far as possible in the future. The warning signs recently erected in the affected section of the watercourse regarding possible water surges are completely unacceptable and inadequate for us as a stand-alone measure due to the history and importance of the “Wellerbrückenstrecke”.
Despite this regrettable development, we are pleased to inform you that we have already organised an alternative event. The first edition of the Oetztal Kayak Festival will take place from 18 to 22 September 2024. The festival will offer a variety of activities, including equipment testing opportunities, workshops, inspiring film lectures and a boater cross race on the slalom course in Oetz.
We are confident that the Oetztal Kayak Festival will be an equally fascinating and exciting event, bringing the kayaking community together and creating unforgettable experiences.
Further details about the Oetztal Kayak Festival and the full programme will be published on our website shortly. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We thank you for your understanding and look forward to making the Oetztal Kayak Festival an unforgettable event together with you.