Reigning world champions Ottilie Robinson-Shaw and Landon Miller headline an all-star line-up for the International Canoe Federation Canoe Freestyle World Cup in Plattling, Germany, this week.

More than 140 athletes from 19 countries will take part in the back-to-back World Cups, at the venue where next year’s ICF Canoe Freestyle World Championships will be held.

Other big names taking part include former world champions and multi-medalists, Tom Dolle of France and Hitomi Takaku from Japan, and junior world champions Abby Holcombe of USA and Germany’s Tim Rees.

“It is wonderful to welcome the world’s best freestyle athletes to Plattling for a week of top level competition,” Thomas Hinkel, the head of the Host Organising Committee, said.

“It is very satisfying that so many athletes have entered, taking advantage of an opportunity to compete at a venue which will host the biggest competition on the freestyle calendar next year.”

Plattling hosted its first major freestyle event in 1997, and has been a regular on the competition calendar since. It was home to the 2011 world titles and the 2016 European championships.

ICF Canoe Freestyle Committee Chair Terry Best, said Plattling always delivered a festival-like atmosphere.

Canoe Freestyle development camp Plattling 2024

“Plattling is freestyle,” Best said.

“It is one of the homes of our sport. We have had a world championships here and it probably has the best and most consistent feature in Europe. It’s perfect for the needs of the paddlers, who turn up in their vans, practice all day and into the night, and then enjoy a fantastic competition.

“The whole town will turn out, giving us a real buzz around freestyle at the moment. There are more posts on social media, more interest in organising events, and more companies are wanting to get involved. I am really positive about where the sport is going.”

The global reach of freestyle is underlined by the countries and continents entered into this week’s World Cups. Europe has a strong presence, as does North and South America, Asia and Oceania.

The event will be held under a heavy cloud, following news of the disappearance of British whitewater paddler Bren Orton on the Melezza River in Switzerland.

“Our friend is missing so we want to make this event a celebration of Bren,” Best said.

“He is a very unique person who has given so much back to the sport. Everyone here knows him so it’s important that we acknowledge his incredible input and life.”

The ICF will be running a development camp alongside the world cups until June 1, under the stewardship of Argentinian Maxi Montoya and Canadian-Norwegian Valerie Bertrand.

There will also be a judging seminar held with instructors Charlie Brackpool and Dan Daley.

The first ICF Canoe Freestyle World Cup will run from May 26 to 28, and the second from May 30 to June 1. Both World Cups will be live streamed on the ICF’s Planet Canoe YouTube channel.

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