Red Bull Upstream was an amazing project we came up with in 2008. What made it even more special, is that it was held in my hometown Ljubljana. We did the first test runs at Tacen kayak course in spring. Followed by the first competition in the fall. I worked with Red Bull on designing the course and the entire concept of the competition.
I didn’t really do my best on the first edition so I ended up on 4th place. We repeated the contest again in 2009 and I came up with the most creative line. Nobody else even thought about trying to ride the entire right side of the course. That one also ended with ollie-ing over a huge rock. It was an entire section of concrete, so I inspected it once again in the morning to make sure its all smooth.
Not this time
I went for a sure and easy first run in the middle of the course and then tried my line for the first time ever. Tried to finish the run by cruising around the big rock, but did not quite make it. On my last run I decided to ollie over it in my 3rd and final run. What I did not expect was some sort of a nail in the middle of the big rock, placed there for a side show of slackliners. You can check out the highlights of the 2009 edition here and see my line at 0:50. Once again I finished up on 4th place, as explained by the judges. You did not finish your run. Sort of true except I did not finish my run solely because of the slackline side show. That is the way the world works though, you win some you lose some. Then sometimes you just get fu**ed.
We took a year off to get some ideas on how to make the 3rd edition even better and more interesting. I went to Austria to test the new system in 2011 and that was the kicker we needed. Instead of the plain winch pulling us up the stream, we installed another cable to keep the line higher throughout the whole course. Made some improvements on the course itself and added a part of the course on top where the riders would just shred on one spot for a while, only using the stream to perform some extra tricks in the end. I also double checked the big step up part for nails and finally finished both of my runs with perfection, which brought me the win on the final edition of the competition.