The team bus sets of this afternoon, stacked high with brand spanking new demo boats and driven by some of the lovely team Pyranha paddlers, the van will soon be at an event near you so feel free to join us for a paddle, a beer or just some boat geekery…
The Van in all its glory. Photo Chris W Parker
So whats the plan?
20th – 22nd Val Sesia Boater Cross – Val Sesia, Italy
24th Paddle day – Versam, Switzerland
25th – 30th Gene 17 Val Sesia River Fest – Campertogno, Val Sesia, Italy
Tom Parker -Versazca Switzerland. Photo by Sarah Nash
2nd – 3rd Gravita Zero Kayak test day – Monrosa, Val Sesia, Italy
4th – 5th Gravita Zero White Water and Sea Test Day- Milan, Italy
7 – 9th Paddle with the Pros – L’Argentière, France
11th Freestyle Demo Day – Milau, France
18th – 26th June World Freestyle Championships – Plattling, Germany
Bren Orton testing the Carbon Molan – Photo by Rich Taylor
27 th June – 3rd Ekstremsportveko – Voss, Norway
9th Paddle with the Whitewater Warriors – Voss, Norway
11th – 13th Sjoa Fest – Heidal Rafting co, Norway
15th Masters of the Water – Kayaktiv, Dala-floda, Sweden
Paula Volkmer – Vetlefjordan, Norway. Photo Max Bilbow
Some of the lovely boys and girls who will be hanging out round the van…
In France and Germany
Sjoa festival, as well as the awesome parties, boasts a host of races – the Gene 17 Ulla Race, the Sweet Rumble Boater-X and this year, a fun teamÂ race too…
Throughout the week, we headed to the Laagen Canyon, and various sections of the Sjoa including a superb molan playboating session on Jorgen’s wave, which worked for one day before levels rose.
On Thursday the qualifications for the Sweet Rumble were moved to the Slalom section on the Sjoa (including washing machine) because Amot was too high.
On Friday, we all headed up to the barren but beautiful Ulla valley for the Gene 17 steep creeking race. See below for a few pictures of the race course.
The top drop of the race.
The final drop.
An overview of the racecourse.
Max filming at the race course.
The finals of the Sweet Rumble on Saturday were also moved to the Slalom section – with a crowd pleasing final eddy – where the race was won and lost – which led to many interesting final moves.
Team Pyranha memberÂ Andy Phillips puts it all out there for the finish-line throw-bag!
Photos by Amy Simcock, Lucy H and Jan Petersen
The Sjoa festival always kicks of with a bang… the Pimp & Ho party is a social occasion which is not to be missed!! Knowing this, every seasoned Norway-goer brings a pimp & ho outfit with them, or at least knows where the famous “old-man-barn” is, located near Sjoa: a veritable treasure-trove of lots of random junk which can, with some imagination,Â be recycled into a pimp or ho outfit (as appropriate).
Here are a few tasters of the brilliant outfits crafted from junk…. although the huge tophats popular in previous years were nowhere to be seen!
The pimps are in town and contemplating the prices they should be charging for their hos!Â
Is this ironic?
Lucy shows the ladies how to really ho-it-up!
If you want a better idea of the mood on the night, check out the video Max made on the facebook Team Van page.
So we had our fun in Voss, paddled the Lower Myrkdal several times (at various levels) without breaking ourselves, and headed over to Valldal.
On the way we decided – at theÂ recommendationÂ of our friends Julian and Doug – to camp beside some very scenic waterfalls.
Fortunately for me, Paula (above) was keen to go first while I got to work with my video camera.
Then it was my turn to man-up while paula got some great stills.
It was however necessary for Paula to run them again so that I could get some stills of her, for the sake of he vanity (and a slightly bloody thumb on landing )
Photos by Paula Volkmer and Max Bilbow
As the levels drop down and the Upper Myrkdal become lower, it’s a good time to hit the lower section. The lower is a much longer run than the upper, and certainly kept my adrenalin levels up high throughout the run: you get a 5m warm-up before heading straight into the sport, and it doesn’t really let off until you get off.
The first move of the day is a boof under the bridge Paula above and Max below on the same drop seen from different angles.
The river just keeps going in a heart-pounding, sweaty-palmed, continuous fashion, building up until you get to the three big slides.
Max exercised some demons, running these (having lost a boat here filming Means of Production 1 in years past). He certainly looked happy as he successfully (and inexplicably) cleaned his way through the huge meaty hole at the bottom of the third slide.
The river rumbles on and the next point of inspection is the triple drop. A 5m boof-drop followed by two slidey-holey things.
Paula on the top of the triple drop above, and the bottom slidey-holey below.
Above: one of the smaller rapids between the main action.
Max’s signals tended not to give much away… he made a wiggly motion with his hands, followed by a shrug and a thumbs up: usually resulting in me going round the corner and finding a boof into a long slide with some scary looking hole at the bottom. Classic Norway!
This river starts with a bang and definitely doesn’t end with a whimper. The rapid at the take out is something to be reckoned with: Max ran it head dry for the first time (see above), but then relaxed too early and got a funny little rodeo session in on the hole just below it as well (see below).
Photos by: Nick Pearce and Fraenzi Gloor
It was a difficult start for the UK crowd in the BoaterX; they were refused entry for their tardiness and, after some discussion with officials, were all entered into the same heat.
But things went well for our prized stalion (Tim Trew). Way out ahead in the quater finals, he fell over like a gipper, missed the eddy and came last. It’s a good job us Brits are such dignified losers (well we’ve had a lot of experience in across various sportingÂ disciplines).
Paula and the girls battle for the eddy in an attempt to make the awkward poll move that causes good friends to fall out.
Lucy, Britain’s last chance for glory, is encouraged by fans.
Yeah baby! The heavens opened and the Brandseth rose. look how happy I am in the medium Karnali; it matches my helmet!
A classic feature of Voss’ best rivers is the put-in drop. Above: Max boofing the second slide, below: Paula at the top with the first fall in view.
The Brandseth is the definition ‘creek’ with steep technical slides and drops coming out its hypothetical ears.
Below: Tim Trew is happy to be the only Englishman to not to have a swim in Norway this season. But then he only came out for 5 days… bloody tourist!
Stay tuned for updates on the Voss boater X and extreme race, and our epic trip(s) down the Lower Myrkdal!
Photos by Nick Pearce
With Max temporarily out of the country, I managed to lend out every single one of the demo river boats and one molan, so I was feeling pretty smug with myself!
In the morning I hooked up with fellow team member Per Christian Pedersen to head up to the upper Jordalselva.
Its a breathtakingly beautiful valley with loads of cool slides and boofs to keep everyone entertained. Well worth the visit when the levels are high everywhere else!
Me on the first of the slides.
Our Norwegian buddy Richard showing us how it’s done!!
There is a 5 metre waterfall about half way down which is always super fun to boof Â - Me giving it a go here…
Me on one of the numerous small slides – Norway really is heaven in a kayak.
Pyranha Team boater Per Christian Pedersen on the last rapid.
With the high levels, we decided to take a trip down the upper section of my favourite river: the Merkdal.
Up at the top, we bumped into some friendly friends.
Paula doesn’t eat animals… It turns out however, the feeling is not mutual.
The Upper Merkdal is a strange contrast to the lower section; it’s easier even though some of the drops seem to need a bit more scouting. Or maybe I’m just out of practice!
This river is full of fun comedy slides to clumsily follow your friends down; testing out the new headcam.
And at the take-out: The Lower Merkdal. But that’s a story for another day…
Photos by Ben Thompson