Yes, you have got it, it’s the end of year, and my blog is miles be hide, as normal, but here goes. Summer is full of fun, and the Mikey Mouse run in Valldal is a perfect moment in that summer’s fun. Since 1996, I have been coming to Norway, and now stay longer longer, moving permanently is only a matter of time. The great days of the summer, means I can really enjoy the paddling, and Valldal is a perfect destination, a little more creeking in style and a grander looking destination than Sjoa, with the fjell dropping down to the fjords. En route to runs like the Mickey Mouse, is the Ramua, mini-hucka on the upper section is a great highlight, with a simply 5m boof followed by a classic ferry and hold the line move to a late boof into a huge pool, spectacular to paddle and wonderful to watch. Once in Valldal, there is the famed Mickey Mouse run, with its great slide combos, one of which is “fight club”, and the first rule of fight club, is that you do not talk about it.
Once back in Sjoa, we work a lot on Ula, and I get to really break down the mechanics of paddlers movements and the technique needs to pull off the moves, plus I also get to paddle myself. This autumn I have started a Masters at Stirling in Scotland in Performance Coaching, interesting stuff, but more of that another time. Still the recent module on performance analysis, certainly frames the level of observation and comprehension of movement we do on the river to that academic level, as I said it’s interesting stuff.
A summer highlight is the Gene17 Ula Extreme Race, during the Sjoa River Festival, and for 2013 it was a vintage year. 25˚C+, blue bird conditions and perfect water levels. We have some of the best on the world rock up to race, and some new faces too. The atmosphere on the event, and tightness of the competition, gave a heighten delight for myself. Next year is the 19th Sjoa River Festival, and this event has come a long way, I have gone to every one of them, always helped out, but for the last 5 years, have been running the event with the local kayak shop, Strie Strømmer. We moved the whole event up to Heidal from it’s normal location of the Sjoa Kayak Camp, as spring floods had knocked out the road access down there. A new mass start event, lamb BBQ and Saturday night band, gave this normal river side gather more of a festival feel.
I managed to get a cover shot on a Palm ad too, with the 2013 Palm Fuse Freeride top colours, that match my custom colour boat from Dagger Europe. I have always liked orange, but am taking it to much more than a banner colour. The new Palm FXr PFD for 2014 is of course Sherbet Orange too….I wonder if I have any influence on that. Also in the summer, a paddler from Devon whom I have been coaching, Tom Rainey made the front cover of Kayak Session, with a great image from Oregon. Tom required a lot of tactic input, with technique centring on his forward paddling, a typical situation, where taller paddlers often over use their arms, due to natural reach, rather than combine the movement with their torso and shoulder rotation. In the summer Tom moved to Voss and has been charging ever since, great news indeed.
In spite of a full spring into summer, busy, very busy indeed, the highlight of the year was the coming of the little man. Onni arrived in fine form, and has play the part of a growing baby rather well ever since. Now with a girl and a boy in the house, the siring part of fatherhood is over, 2 is surely enough. Whilst waiting for the boy, I managed to enjoy extended days out at Hafjell Bike Park, and enjoyed the free ride biking, what a great way to pass the time, life up, jump after jump, after berm after jump all the way down.
Tomorrow or next week, I’ll post about September!