DOB: September 9th, 1997
Natural habitat: Canoe Slalom (K1)
+ 1st place European Championship Pau 2019
+ 2nd place World Ranking Race Markkleeberg 2019
+3rd place U23 World Championship Ivrea 2018- boater cross
+ 3rd place World Championship Pau 2017 - boater cross
+ 3rd place YOG Nanjing 2014
+1st place Junior World Championship Liptovsky Mikulas 2013
Where did you start kayaking?
"I started with my parents just occasionally going for a paddle on vacation. Then my parents’ friends they knew from their times paddling were teaching me how to paddle during summer. In other words - I did not start just in Troja but now I love it there."
Why do you paddle?
"Why do I paddle? Hmmm. I love to play with the water. When you make the right stroke in the right moment and it pushes you exactly where you want with a minimal effort. Plus when you add the race mood and concentration it is a dangerously addictive combination. But what's the most important are the people around this sport - they make it fun!"
At the beginning you were doing horse riding and kayaking at the same time. Why did kayaking win?
"I found my way to horse riding on my own and I was really into it. There were weeks when I was in stables 7 days a week and it still did not seem like enough. I even started to compete at hobby races but my parents took me to paddle from time to time and one day they took me to Wave festival and I found great friends there. I have also seen that even though I don’t train that much I am on a same level as other kids who already paddle for some time and I can compete with them. That motivated me a lot. Also many people already knew me because of my parents and I was part of the community from the very beginning. That was not the case with horse riding. I was just another little girl that loves horses, did not know many people and I was not on the same level as kids who started to ride horses to race with them in the future. So to sum it up I would say that the excitement to race, to win and my friends made me to switch from horse riding to paddling."
Who has influenced you the most in kayaking?
"It's very hard to pick just one person, thanks to friends of my parents I met many people who influenced me. Of course I started to paddle with mum and dad, but after a while it turned out to be a bad idea because I was a very annoying kid and was always angry with them. So they sent me to training camps run by their friends and I was happy because I couldn’t argue with anyone and there were other kids having the same struggle with the beginnings. I must mention Petrickovi, who brought me to my first ever training camp to Paraplíčko, then Zdenka Grossmanova who taught me downriver paddling apart from slalom and we had a wonderful group of people at practices. Then Kuba Pruher thanks to whom I can do an Eskimo roll now. Pavel Kubrican who explained to me, that I am doing everything wrong but also had the patience to teach me everything and last but not least Jira Prskavec, who taught me basically all my advanced technic. Now I am training with Michal Buchtel who is also part of the Hiko team and I have to say it's awesome! We have the best training group in the world!"
What is the best and worst part of training?
"This is not going to be a big surprise. I hate winter trainings on the water. When Prague is all grey and rainy, one would rather stay at home in bed and not to go paddling in the cold water, its awful. But we are lucky enough to have the opportunity to go for a winter training camp to Australia or other warm destination where on contrary it is absolutely amazing. You can cut out everything except for training, meet all your paddling friends and it is simply as another world where you escape to during the winter. Also you can learn new moves on the water and watch them get into practice, thats what I enjoy a lot."
What is you favourite course?
"My favourite course is obviously Troja, it is the place where I learnt how to play with the water. It is my natural habitat, you don't need to paddle so much if you know how to use the water there. Also I like Penrith in Australia, that's where we spend our winters mostly, the main wave in the middle of the course there is amazing. And one of my recent favorites is Ivrea that combines features of river and artificial course and is very fun to paddle."
What is your best paddling experience?
"Paddling down some nice river, successful race – my winning race on Junior World Championship. And I also enjoyed very much the fantastic atmosphere on Troja World Championship, where I was just a fan."
Who is the best kayaker in the world?
"My coach of course, especially in theory he can always smash the gate combinations as a world champion :D Currently in women K1 category it is without a doubt Jess Fox who has currently joined Hiko team and Rici Funk, they both have these moments in their runs where you just keep wondering - “how is this possible?” But I would say there are many inspiring people around slalom and it would be a shame to focus only on those winning medals."
What are your future goals and plans?
"I generally don't like to set long term goals because I think you need to be flexible in life but sure there are dreams. I would love to go to the Olympics one day but first things first. I need to make successful selections this Spring and I want to bring some medals from the U23 races."
Who do you like to follow on IG and why?
"I love silly comics such as “safelyendangered” or “LizClimo”, it always makes me laugh. I also like czech project “zanormalniholky”."
What do you like to do when you are not in a kayak?
"I love to spend free time walking with my dogs, reading books and traveling with my friends. I am also a big fan of yoga and skiing!"
Contact: facebook, @hilgertova.amy