Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Telemark, Norway

Durning the our stay in Norway, rain was a huge factor in our lives. From camping, eating, driving, and of course kayaking. With high levels around the greater Sjoa area and frustration setting in due to running scary big water runs. We took a chance and drove 6 hours down south to the Telemark region of Norway. Arriving with a good crew and with Mathias Fossum’s local knowledge we hit 5 rivers in 3 days!

Here is our list of runs:

-Austbygd  (Middle & California section)
-Home Run on the Mar River
-Dagali (Zambezi section)

My favorite river we paddled is a small creek called The Eisoa - pronounced (Aidsoa). This river boasted some of the stoutest drops I had the exotic-pleasure of running in the country. Starting off with a good clean 30 footer the river then greeted us with an entourage of cool slides leading to the lip on a 50 foot falls that had yet to be run. The drop looked doable, but it was a tall freefall turning 90degrees and reconnecting before hitting a small window between the wall and the good zone in the pool. A lot of people have looked at this drop and I'd heard from multiple sources that it was "good to go". We scouted for a while knowing it was sweet, but scared to pull the trigger...Until Gerd Serrasolses (Aniol's older brother) decided it was chill. Sticking the line, bagging the 1stD, and making it look clean...I went, followed immediately by Anton. Directly after this stout is an infamous drop..."Big Girl". It's a 40-foot falls, Heath Springs looking drop that lands amazingly close to the right wall. Then in the cauldron the water pillows up in a tight rowdy eddy and the river then funnels off a 20 foot slot falls. Very Royal Gorge-esque!!!!!! I like!!!! Once again Myself, Gerd, and Anton fired with nice lines and celebrated the running of another scary/great stout! The rest of the run was silky smooth granite-bedrock slides and boofs to the takeout bridge. This was a very "EG" style run...Big Drops & Really Steep = Epic!!!!!!

Telemark has Quebec like scenery with Minnesota/California style whitewater. Wide open river beds hold every thing from long slides, wide falls, tight slots, boulder gardens, stouts holes, and even some good old fashion mank!!!! The rivers we did were longer in general and held lots of different styles all packed into a small section. Which is sweet because you get the whole picture, not just a few pixels!

Telemark is the "Spring Time" zone for Norwegian creaking, normally flowing in May and Early June. However with all the rain we were drenched by, we were some luck sonsofbitches and got to do some TelemarkLOVE with warmer weather, warmer water, and good vibes in the middle of July! PraiseJAH!!!!! Check out some photos from our very short stay in this unique region. Definitely need to go back and check off a bunch more stuff someday....

 A very long exposer shot of our lake side camp...we learned later that the lake is 400m deep!

 Anton bombing the 3rd Descent of the 50 footer on the Eisoa! Very cool drop...its bigger than it looks in this pic.

 Sweden the man behind the camera running the perfect 30 footer on the Eisoa.

 Some Fossun on the Austbygd...we lapped the crap out of this drop. A fun entry rapid off a perfect 30 footer...Why Not?

Making sure that if the rock feel I would be safe...cool geography is kind of just the norm in Norway.

Gerd Serrseolses having a perfect line off Big Girl...I've known about this drop for a long time now and I was very intimidated by it in person.

A Go Pro freeze of myself on the reconnecter...super pumped that we stepped up to run this guy!!!!

Anton having a sick line off Big Girl!

This was a really cool drop...slide, boof, ferry, DROP! Love the combos...

Gerd scouting a massive Uganda hole on the Dagali's Zambezi Section.

Gerd routing first on another clean clean fallllllllssssssssss!

Mr. Papa Mathias showing us the way on the Skoksoa.

Papa getting twisted on the California section of the Austbygd.

Local paddler Morten running the perfect 30!

Sweden on the first 2 drop of the Homerun Combo.

Then you got 3 & 4 right downstream...super fun set of falls to park and huck.

The Skoksoa stout...it was a bit bumpy...probably a 40-45 footer! 

Sweden doing a brown down some granite that is as smooth as Dinkey creek itself!

Sweden running some nice slides in Telemark...you can see the Minnesota style here.

The tin-ish looking brown water of Telemark reminded me of the East Coast here in the US. 

This shot was taken at 11pm right when we took out on the Skoksoa! So sick to be able to put on a 6 mile class V run at 8pm and feel good about it.

Looking back on my trip to Norway sitting here in the dinning room of my parents house...I couldn't be more stoked! Having had the Norwegian dream for sometime now, I feel fortunate to say that I got to visit Telemark so late in the season. With out realizing how epic is was down there prior to my trip, it wasn't on our agenda...but after tasting the nectar of the goods...Telemark is a MUST when planning a trip to Norway. When I go back to Scandinavia...which I promise won't take me another 23 years ;) May-Aug will be my time frame...I'm doin' the whole season! Get ready for the Norway Teaser which will be coming right after Episode 11 drops in a few days!

Later E.G.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Voss Norway!

There are few places on earth that have caught my eye like the Scandinavian country of Norway. For years I have seen pictures and videos from this amazing country and couldn’t wait until it was my turn to go find myself in the Fjords and rivers of Norway. Basically I have said, “I’m going to Norway this year” for the past 5 years! Finally I made the move and bought a plane ticket to the city of Bergen on the West Coast.

Meeting up with Fred in Amsterdam our European odyssey began! Arriving in the land of whitewater and fjords we were greeted by a long train ride through countless tunnels and right past many of the rivers we would soon run. It took us a while to find the crew in the small village of Voss, but once we did...it was on!

We drove directly to the Brandset River. Greeted by amazing clear water and countless sick slides, holes, and drops this river really delivered a true intro to what we were going to find the next month! What cam next is a blur of amazing kayaking, meeting tons of people, partying all night in the Veko Extreme Week tent, and scaring ourselves daily on the local rivers.

My personal favorite river in the area has to be the Teigdal. It starts off a fairly low volume creek with technical gorged in waterfalls and slides of the tastiest variety...and as it continues down the valley gaining water, the Teigdal climaxes in a orgasmic blend of beauty and raw emotionless power at the Double Drop! A perfect 30 treat layer right off a 30-40 foot step-down church falls! Quite a sight to behold and an even better feeling deep inside the loins!

We were blessed to watch Aniol really push the limits of what is possible in a kayak here, day after day...with fearless motivation Aniol back freewheeled both tiers a few different times. On his last attempt, after already cleaning this moves 3 times prior, he got off line and landed hard on a rock shelf. After a few weeks of Norwegian doctors terribly diagnosing him...we finally found out he fractured his L5 vertebra. Aniol will be back on the charge before we know it! Pssssssssssss Cobra!

Here is the rundown of the days we paddled in Voss:

Day 1- Upper & Lower Brandset River
Day 2- Upper & Lower Brandset (high) + Teigdalselvi Double Drop
Day 3- Teigdalselvi
Day 4- Urdlandselvi
Day 5- Exsingdal 70 footer + Teigdal
Day 6- Jordalselvi
Day 7- Brandset race training
 Day 8- Brandset Race + Team Race
Day 9- Money Drop
Day 10- Double Drop High
Day 11- Day Off
Day 12- Teigdal (Aniol Hurt)
Day 13- Todo Urdland
Day 14- Lower Myrkdalselvi
Day 15- Tysselva + Leave Voss

Here are some photos that I took during my stay in Voss.

Aniol Back Freewheeling the first tier of the Double Drop.

Anton dropping into a high than recommended Lower Myrkdal

Benji Hjort at the top of the massive Tysselva Slide...we had some high water on this beast.

Myself on my first lap down the Double Drop...used the old trusty Jefe Grande for two days before my boat showed up!
Dr. Gnar operating a full cavity search on the Teigdal!

Mr. Dirty Gerd running a big volume slide on the Myrkdal.

This is my personal favorite shot I took. Sam Sutton having the line of the day on the Tysselva Slide!

POV booting the sh*t out of Double Drop!

Bomb Flow strap job!

This is the Nick Turner drop from Valhalla, he named it Lucas Falls after his late bro who passed away on the North Fork years ago...Urdlandselvi!  

Another beautiful Norwegian horizon line! 

Here are some photos that our Swedish friend Mikael took in Voss.

Eric Dugil going very fast in the pink boat and WINNING the Voss Race!

Dialing the lines in on the Brandset race course.

Race Day. Came in 4th place in a field of true racers...not bad for a so called park and hucker ;)

Josh Neilson showing us the lines...very scenic place!

Aniol on the ‘HIGH' day at Double Drop!

Myself launching a massive boof up top! 

Freddy Getting Freaky...look at how much water is going off this puppy. 

Aniol ran it 3 times that day...heavy flow!

High Fives!


Dr. Gnar doing an autopsy...  

They put a sign there just for me!

Aniol on some juicy money drop!

Myself about to go deep in the money sauce!

Gerd getting tight on the first drop of the Urdland...

1st stage of the double...Urdland!

2nd Stage of the double...Urdland!

Anton second boof of the double set!

Gerd running Lucas Falls on the Urdland...right above the confluence with the Raundal.

Sweden doing some work on the Urdland!

Making our way down the Myrk!

This rapid is called Holy Diver!

Gerd Holy Diver!

Anton Holy Diver! Lower Myrk!

Mr. Basso...feeling the fear on the Myrkdal!!!!!!

So Voss is just one of those places...like Hood River, Pucon, Asheville, Etc...It’s got a ton of boating really close to a cool town. So its a win win for kayakers and extreme athletes alike! I feel in love with this place when the sun didn’t set and we were able to paddle 2-3-4 rivers a day! Its all time epicness and we only scratched the surface of what there is! Thanks to everyone who made our stay in Voss so epic. Mathias Fossum, Erik Martinson, Mark Basso, and the local community for putting up with our non-sense!

Later E.G.