Tag Archives: valsesia river festival

Late, but here, Spring 2013

Sorba Slides in the sun

As the title suggests spring across western Europe was very late this year, almost a month be hide normal, which meant we had cold dry days in Valsesia for May. The snow only finally started to melt late in the month. The runoff was a strange pattern of occasional rain storms bringing higher water for a day or so, and then levels dropping off with every cold night with clear skies. This cycle pretty much went on and on all month. This meant that although flows were Ok to good, there was always a sense that we were waiting, and waiting. Thankfully in the late week or so, then into June, the warm weather finally brought the goods and for those heading out to the Alps in June were surely very surprised with fine Piemonte and Ticino conditions.

Coaching on the Gronda
Gronda reflection on paddling

The steep creeking weeks in Piemonte are getting incredibly popular, Gene17 now runs 3 weeks of trips, plus the Valsesia River Festival. Valsesia is an iconic destination, and we all love working there for the quality of paddling and fine food and local culture. The work focuses heavily on the technical aspects of paddling on drops and slides. This can mean actually getting right to the drop, and helping with the tactics, to ensure the paddlers are in the right place to apply the technique. We use a lot multi shot stills images for feedback, as it’s possible to zoom into the specific areas for detailed observations. Jakub got a great shot however of myself running the last drop of Gronda being reflected in a window of a traditional river side house in Rassa, Valsesia, nice!

Ed & Kates wedding party

A short intermission, was a weekend in the UK for a wedding party with the family. We headed to Topsham near Exeter, for a blustery affair. The short boat crossing to Double Locks had the ladies in their finery shivering in the stiff breeze. Still once in the amazingly decked out party tent, with its open fire, a great time was had. Old friends from a far mixed in with the Devonshire locals, an excellent wedding occasion at a shunning location on the Exe estuary. The weekend was all too short, as I needed to get back to work in Italy, and an early morning train stole me away.

Boys having fun on Gronda
Start ramp at the Sweet Rumble

More kayak coaching work and then the Valsesia River Festival, now in its third year, with momentum now gathering to create a well established event in Italy. Dealing with local politicians is every bit like you’d probably think it would be like, in Italy, boringly problematic, especially compared to my Sjoa in Norway experiences. Still with a great partner in the event in the form of il Gatto e la Volpe Camping, I do not really need to concern myself with the frustrations of the local mayor. Over 100 paddlers took part in our race programme, with the team race being the most popular. Teams of 3 charge the Sesia Alpin Sprint, a classic Class III/IV boulder garden section, fun lines and lots of moves to enjoy. Gene17kayaking runs clinics during the week, which are popular and provide a great taster of what we do.

The little ones first sea kayak trip on the home lake

After the chaos that is the Valsesia pack down, Soča turn around and then the long road north to Norway, all in a week, I was happy to be at home for a few weeks before the summer starts in Sjoa. These days I spent a lot of time with the little lady, and we managed a sea kayak outing with friends on the lake at Lillehammer. My daughter would help with the paddle strokes, we stopped for a classic summer grill en route and afterwards she was very happy to get back in the boat again, to my relief.


tick, tock, tick, tock, one more go around the Block

Yeah, I know, I am slow and I am late, but it’s been a busy few months. And when I am busy with work and other matters, this blog certainly gets push away. Sorry for that, I will try harder this year. So I have had 2 entries part written for a while now, here’s the second, from the close of last summer…..

Looking out to sea
An indian summer has come and gone, and autumn here in Øyer is certainly apparent, grey skies, cool days and wet times. This far north, the leaves turn early, it’s a scene that it’s all shutting up for Winter, every day something changes, a slow orderly turning off of the summer fire. Since the image above taken in late August in Vesterålen, whilst whale watching, much has happened. But lets get to the just before the main event in November in this post.

On the Soca

In September, Satu & I headed to the house in Slovenia, it’s always great there, a prefect retreat. We went on a little road trip, as Satu was getting to the point of being a little too uncomfortable with the growing bump. Still we got to paddle on Soča a bunch, this year I was the porter carrying the boats out, and we enjoyed, the brilliance of this great river. We made a short road trip to Bled to cycle around the lake, to Bohinj for lake swimming and Piran to enjoy the sea. It was hot in Piran, a little too much for the wife, I needed to stand guard whilst she cooled off on the sea! What was really apparent it that Slovenia is a small just diverse country, and above all quite amazingly beautiful, not just the Soča Valley. Soon our road trip was over, and it was close to the no-flying time for Satu. I drop her off at Munich and I headed to KanuMesse, the annual paddlesports show.

Setting up at Kanu Messe 2011
Deep in the Susna Canyon, north Norway

This year’s event, had a bunch of new products that I have had a hand in developing, these included the new Spark FreeRide suit from Palm and the Mamba from Dagger. It’s always great to see the new products in their final version at the show, although for both I had been testing them for some time. The Spark Suit, I got the idea at the last KanuMesse, to have a light yet all around suit for paddling, but not a complete stiff dry suit with all the armour and the additional re-enforcements. Barney the designer at Palm came up with a great prototype, and for most of 2011 I had been testing away in Slovenia, Italy & Norway. Check out the image above taken by Benji deep in the Susna Canyon. Also Mark the designer at Dagger had been working on the medium Mamba for a while, and in early Spring I had been charging the first large boat, see Gene17’s wallpaper for that model, this was a great fast charger, although a little small. So for the northern Norway road trip had the second version, which was bigger all around, but in enlarging it, something of the great qualities of first version was lost. White water kayak design is never easy, a small adjustment here and there, makes a huge difference between success and not quite there. I was happy a third version was made, off the first version platform to ensure the final boat is good. I have had the Mamba 8.6 for a month now, and I like it a lot, very much my sole boat for the river these days. Great work guys, and thank you.

Dave Carroll getting ready to throw for Gene Pool DVD

After KanuMesse, Dave Carroll & Kim Sickerman, came to Slovenia, for some end of season paddling, happy days, as the cool evenings started to draw in. We got involved in the filming of the white water safety & rescue production, which I will release a kick-starter crowd funding campaign on at some point. Although it’s a real question of how to distribute it, DVD’s are a no, so to BluRay, all are too easy to copy, so I must find a solution, or perhaps direct sponsorship of chapters, either way Genotype 2 DVD cost £40,000 to make in terms of editing time and post-produciton, much of which has not been recovered. Specialist productions are difficult to justify at present.

On the Øyerfjell

Soon it was time to head to Norway for the main event of 2011, here is a shot from our last hiking trip on Øyerfjell before, 8th November, when my life, out lives changed. Until next time, here’s an interview I did for Unsponsored the paddler’s website and the ad Gene17 ran in the new 3rd edition of the South Alps Guide Book. An excellent new addition, with the proof reading for Piemonte by myself. It’s great to see that this area, which has become so so popular with paddler’s get the coverage in the english medium, just in time for this year’s Valsesia River Festival. Which I hope will be a popular event for Valsesia is one of a few spots acorss the Alps with snow this year.

South Alps Guide Book 3rd edition

Until the next post, life all change, I bid you farewell.