The years come and go, and the perfection of what is Valsesia in Italy just keeps on giving. It’s simply an amazing spot to hang out, enjoy and go paddling. This year, I was there for 6 weeks, we had lots of work with paddlers coming in from all around the world and also ran the second Valsesia River Festival at the end of the stay. Asides the work though, is the destination, there are few places I enjoy so immensely than my time in Campertogno in Valsesia. The range of food, selection of dishes at the restaurant and the sublime air of mountain living. Whilst my hosts, have become old friends, where the conversation can range from Berlusconi’s famed bunga bunga parties to local fine wines to building model airplanes, yet always the culture observations of people visiting from across Europe and beyond provide insight and enlightenment, of where we are all very different yet mostly the same. This year we had a big amount of work with Gene17kayaking, our biggest year to date, and of course, there is great enjoyment and wonderment coaching paddlers to run slides, drops and the alike, plus show the very best of Valsesia to all the visiting paddlers.
After several weeks of trips we headed straight on into the Valsesia River Festival. This event we run, and is very much based on the highly successful Sjoa River Festival in Norway, which has just completed it’s 16th edition this summer. The event is a grassroots whitewater gathering, with clinics, competitions and entertainment laid on. This year we added the Palm Throwbag Olympics, which was over ran with keen rescue rangers trying to win a Palm Amp or Luna PFD. PLus we placed the Sesia Alpin Sprint at centre stage for the racing, with over 70 racers, gunning for the action on the 3 km boulder garden of Class 3/4 rapids. The Team race provides a lot of entertainment itself, and Gene17’s guys made for some great images….. Also we bought in Ies of Fokiwa fame to fire up the crowd and start the party, following on with DJ’s. Great stuff and a wonderful festival. We’ll do it all again next year, although I may urgently need my 3rd lesson of Italian Politics.
My time in Valsesia was a personal highlight too. This year, the new Mamba has bought a new weapon to the river, and I like the way she moves, faster, cleaner and easier to paddle, which is of course what progress in design should be about, well at least at this point in time. Great works guys, thank you.