downhill & High water, Uphill & no water

Logistics, logistics, logistics, that has been the undercurrent of the last 3 weeks mileage, and some mileage is has been. Starting off at the editing desk in Helsinki, I flew into Munich to meet Dave Carroll & Ed Cornfield and arrived at Nussdorf, Olli’s house for a late beer and bed. Dave had recently suffered a big smack in the face whilst surfin’ at Easkey in Ireland and was sporting a large fat lip! The previous week, I was charged with the job of getting boats sorted, this meant email exchanges with Paul at Palm, Thomas at Blue and White and Ingrid who’d collect the boats and get them to Oetztal. Strangely it took all day, not the right boat in stock, the wrong boat spec, and even the colours were not desirable.

Up for Breakfast with Olli, white sausage and sweet mustard Bavarian style. Olli certainly enjoys dishing this meat feast up for visiting paddler’s, and in a way I like it, it reminds myself that things are so massively different throughout Europe and that is a joy in itself. Plus it always beats cereal for Breakfast!!! Away we went, too collect my car, that needed a new clutch the last time I saw it. A paddler’s ride certainly gets a hard life, and this wagon has already been through 3 sets of tires, although a set of those was due to a deep and dark pothole resulting in 2 ripped side walls, the others are probably, about the pleasure of cornering at speed with 4 wheel drive. Alas with so many speed restrictions these days, cornering and accelerating are all the fun you can have on the open road. Some 800 Euro lighter, to Oetztal we went.

Olaf Obsommer, paddlesports own gentle gaint had put together with a little help from adidas a great race concept, on the legendary Wellerbruecker section of the River Oetz in Austria. I had heard that the level of entrants was very high, and on arrival it was clear there were alot of paddler’s readying to race. I found our accommodations at HotelAlp, entered the race and caught up with friends from a far. One fleetling moment that was to stand out later, the now normal quick snap and fun exchange of wit with Tim Weinmann. It was a sorry shame that was last time I’d see him, before sunset that day he’ll be dead. Drowned on the river when paddling with friends. These are always dark moments, the departing of a friend, too know you will not see them again bores a hollowness inside, empty of happiness, wondering if there is greater plan or are we all destined to return to dust….

Sadly with Tim’s death, the tone of the event changed, the event organiser’s became edgey and water level restirctions meant that in spite of good intensions there was to be no event. Though the trip to Oetztal has its sad moments, with so many friends about, we still managed to enjoy each other’s company. Olli lead the charge down the middle Oetz, a fun run full of sharp and shitty rocks, and the ladies took myself on tour with a heavy hangover down the lower Oetz. The previous evening had been long, after a few drinks with the racing crowd I headed to the bar in town where most paddler’s went for a quiet beer. On this evening the English were drinking chasers with their beer, as ever there would only be one conclusion to this. With the bar closing up, some Germany paddler’s joined us, Holger from Ty Warps Paddles gave a UK coaching notable a new name, “James Blunt”, his abrupt reaction to this seamingly monumental insult provided us with much beer fuelled laugher. Close to tears I went back to the hotel, on the way up the stairs I could hear singing from the hotel bar, naturally I went to look. There stood on a table was Matze and Olli singing their heart’s out to the rest of small yet crowded bar. It was going to be a long night.



Sunday saw us all depart, westward with Dave to England, we managed to miss his plane out of Frankfurt in spite of the 220km speeds reached along the way. Traffic, so much traffic. At 3am I pulled into Shepperton Weir carpark for a sleep and then Whitewater, the Canoe Shop for Breakfast. Its a normal returning from the Summer routine now. By the afternoon I was at Palm dropping off boats ready for the next weekend. When at Palm, I was pulled into a 2009 product meeting, great stuff, always great stuff.

2 Days in England, it included a trip down to Devon to AS Watersports and the River Dart Country Park to arrange the Adventure Paddler’s weekend, then lunch with my Nan. By Wednesday I was again at Palm packing for a trip to Ireland, the annual Big Boat Bonanza in Wicklow. This is a great social event, Shane organises everything but the weather, and alas no rain on these Islands means no water in the rivers.

Still Paul, Jason from CKUK and myself had packed our mountain bikes knowing that we’d have poor river conditions and too the forest behide Dave’s house we went. Dave provided up lift with his car and showed us where to go. One spot where he takes his trials bike, proved excellent for jumps. Its a shame that the forest is quite thick there, as I could not get a good shot of Paul flying high. With this Winter’s prediction of normal rain fall for Europe’s Westcoast islands, its going to be a lot of mountain biking. Hopefully I will make some jumps in the woods be hide the RDCP, at least there is some fun to be had least we wait for rain. Plus at Holdan Hill a freeride park has been developed, plus their Tee looks ace, I must get one.


Here are some shots of the BBB, our Team run, though Paul, Dave and myself saw a short pinning on Jackson’s the main drop, that certainly gave the crowd reason to cheer. That evening the English Rugby Team went on to win in Paris during the semi finals of the World Cup, and this fuelled another evening of liquid refreshment amongst friends. The fanstay dress party was as ever the main event, yet I was a little to gone for photos, but this year was really good, honest!! Early Monday morning I flew back to Finland for more editing, and preparing for Nepal in November and another English Winter beyond.



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