Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Welcome to Norway" - Ekstremsportveko in Voss

After a rather rocky boat ride we finally made it to Norway. After checking out cute Bergen we headed straight for Voss where the extreme week was in full swing.

It was super fun to be in a place with so many other extreme sport crazies. I loved camping next to the airstrip and seeing the parachutes land. It was especially fun to see the tandem pilots giving their customers one last thrill. It's also great value for money ('cause it's free!) watching crazy people paddle off Moneydrop.

However, on the water is of course where the real fun is to be had. I was feeling a little frisky after a few weeks of non-paddling, so I jumped straight onto the Bransetelvi with a couple of Norwegian friends Tor and Biret who I’d met the previous year at Sjoa.

What an epic gem of a river! We put in on what seemed quite pleasant water, but 100m later, that all changed. Round the first bend was a triple drop, two slides and then a boof over the drop. Sweet. Then, straight away we were at the top of the big slide. My paddle buddies told me not to scout. “If you look, you won’t run it, but it’s all sweet – just follow the water down the middle and don’t roll.”

Well, it should have had the sign above it “Welcome to Norway”. They were certainly right about not scouting because it was huge and it wasn’t quite the even slide I was imagining. But there wasn’t much time to think that as I hammered my way down trying to find the water to follow.

Looking up from the bottom, it was really a sensation of “Wow – this is Norway and I’ve just paddled one of those huge, scary slides”. And the river, it was only beginning…

All in all a great day on the river. I loved the paddling and I loved the honest atmosphere of this group I was paddling with. When it got it wrong, for instance when I didn’t take my throw bag when photographing a few meters from my boat, then these guys let me know. I was really impressed. No wonder Norwegians have a good safety record on their own rivers.

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