Jiří Vašina: “Partnership is a path towards my dreams.”
Jiří Vašina, kayaker in body and soul, 9th man of Czech competitive ladder, 6th man of 2019 Czech Championship and 3rd in U23 at the 2017 Championship. His partnership with Durt Design came to be as a chance occurrence, and yet became fateful and to this day helps him achieve his dreams and plans.
Jiří’s sport career
As a child, Jiří tried many different sports, but none came closer to his heart than kayking. In 2007, he unexpectedly got to try it thanks to a friend. „After just a few minutes of sitting in the kayak, I knew that it was something truly extraordinary,“ remembers Jiří. Such feelings are rare only come a few times in one’s life. „I was immediately certain that it will remain my passion for a long time,“ he adds. Today, almost fourteen years later, living without kayaking seems unimaginable to Jiří. „Sport is an immense gift and joy to me,“ he smiles.
Life of an athlete is full of adventures. “Were I to point out the single strongest moment of my career, it would be the U23 Czech Championship in Troja in Prague where I finished third. It was my first medal from a national competition – and that’s something you can’t forget.”
Partnership with Durt Design
In competitive sport, even the tiniest detail is important. Each season and training cycle is full of obstacles, be it resources, injuries or unsatisfactory results. For Jiří, the greatest issue were finance. To be able to afford training camps, he had to work in addition to his regular training regimen. Even today, water slalom doesn’t earn him a living and he has to continue working. He doesn’t mind nor complain though. It may be hard and tiring, but love for his sport always gets him going again. “In the last three years, I had the luck of finding a little different way of securing better training conditions. I found a few great partners which helped me finance everything. Durt Design is one of them.”
Apart from competing, Jiří also trains the new generation of kayakers, which allows him to spread his knowledge and experience. For one season, he trained Vojta, the younger brother of the Kuba Duřt, the owner of Durt Design. A lasting bond was formed and what started with shooting an ad for Jiří’s partners kept growing. “Kuba offered me partnership and we started working on really great things. It was one of the most important turning points of my career,” says Jiří. When working with his partners, he seeks create a greater story and thus make the partnership more meaningful. As he himself says, he doesn’t want to lure as much money as possible from society. He wishes to go on daring adventures and motivate people in their love for sport.
“Durt Design was open to even the craziest of ideas. They helped me go to Australia, secured much, much better training conditions for me, and, most importantly, always had my back. Our partnership simply helps me realize my dreams and plans.”
The birth of Kayak The World
It seems that today, sports are becoming something artificial. Gone is the love for the sport itself, everyone just seems to chase money and forgets that a sport should in the first place be enjoyed. Channels for water slalom are built with plastic obstacles, the athletes sleep in hotels, have masseurs and criticize the slightest change in the water’s terrain. Kayak The World as a project attempts to return to the old kind of racing and sporting in general. “I wish give kayaking back its old face at least a little bit and get it back onto the river. Show people that it’s not just about training in a concrete channel every day, but also about excitement and adventure,” describes Jiří, clearly in love with the sport himself. Simply put, working with wild water is an integral part of water slalom, and artificial conditions can’t provide opportunities for it properly.
The first episode of the project
So far, one episode of Kayak The World is finished. It visits Austria and aims to show the viewers kayaking in a more natural style that they cannot normally see at competitions. It wishes to woo people to sport themselves – and especially to sport with passion, so that they really enjoy what they are doing and don’t just care about their career. So that they fall in love not just with the race itself, but also with the preparations and travels that are required. “The pandemic of course disrupts our plans to continue our adventure, but as soon as it is possible, we will travel somewhere into the wilderness and continue shooting,” says Jiří. “What do I hope for? Great experiences and happiness that will motivate not only myself, but also other people to sport in nature.”