Well there did not seam to be a real Summer in Norway this year, in fact it appears that way until the last few days. Thus there has been a complete absence of any hazy days and sun tanning conditions. Well the truth be know, when I head north from the Alps I do expect my tan to lessen a little, but after this Summer in Norway I now look like I am from the small and infamously wet islands off the west coast of Europe. Still rain in its abundance brought us high water and fine wave conditions, if only in unusual spots. Young Killian Kelly, gentlemen traveller and occasional guardian of the Hairy Lemon, lead the way with fine air at the second wave behide Golf Stream on the Sjoa. During this surf session, I witness a talented Cechz paddler clean a Cali roll in his creek boat, sick!! Once the high water’s had finally drained we were met with the horror that the now famed Jørgen’s Wave on the Sjoa was no more, for at least now. River’s flow and rapids change, lets see if another high run off event can bring us back our Summer’s fun!
Since the Sjoa Festival, which in essence was a minor event this year, after high water cancelled all the competitive elements, and most of the clinics, I have been running a number of trips. In Norway with G17, I work on our Progressive and Dynamic trips, which is easier to put, as more an intro to big volume for paddler’s. Norway’s river gradient and raw power, can be quite an eye openers for any paddler. I am not saying it is difficult, as it is in many ways easier, as there are few rocks nor shallow drops to upset the apple cart. What Norway has is numerous runs of well formed rapids, that provide predictable rapids and an accessibility to the river’s energy that opens up the world of modern dynamic paddling. Of cause there is hard sport too, yet the fine paddling makes for a world class destination all Summer long. Here on the Lower Bøvre is Anna from Sweden, enjoying the blue waters on a short canyon section.
After the work, we went to play, and with a little over eager zeal we went to the Lower Rauma. Well lets say I did my impression of Brave Sir Robin from the Holy Grail, and the boys put on a good show for the first 2 drops. After the confluence with the Uvråa, the larger than normal increase in volume sent us all packing back to the car. The mantra, “you can have it all, but not at the same time” is best said to a young man, but not fully appreciated until a little later in life!
On our last day in Sjoa, we headed to a little Ulla slide action and Åmot fun. There is little to compare to the fine class of the Åmot and its big rapids, they are powerful and full of excellent dynamic moves. Our last morning on Ulla made for some nice shots for a bunch of articles to come.
Now the Sun has finally found the Nordic nations, and I am resting up in Finland after a lengthy season, where a long term shoulder injury has returned to remind myself of our own frailty, and the lack of power from the paddle blade in the last few weeks testament to 150 days in the boat. The editing desks await me for 3 months of graft and an Autumn release of a new instructional DVD, “Gene Pool” the Fundamental Core for WW Kayakers. I have a few breaks along the way, Portugal for a belated honeymoon, a weekend wedding in the UK and two races in Otztal, Austria and Wicklow, Ireland, more on those later……