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MisoXperience 2023

Standing on top of the podium, I tried to ready myself for the inevitable Sambi shower. I flicked up the hood of my rain jacket, thinking it would protect me from the worst of the spray. Elena, however, had other ideas and aimed her shaken-up bottle straight at my face. Spluttering, eyes stinging, and unable to see a thing, I screamed and tried to defend myself as best as possible, whilst staying on the podium. Given that I was left with half a bottle of Sambi at the end, I clearly didn’t do a very good job!

But how did I get here? Let’s rewind a little bit…

The Pyranha tour bus headed south from Germany to the Oetz Valley for a quick kayaking pit-stop. We then headed through stunning Alpine passes with cold rain finally giving way to blue skies, creating shining rainbows over the vibrant green forests. We emerged from every tunnel amazed by the beauty surrounding us, until we eventually arrived at our destination just outside of the town of Cama in Ticino, Switzerland. This is the location of MisoXperience – a multisport festival in its 3rd year of existence. I loved this event last year and was excited to be able to return. 

Arriving at the start of the week gave us the opportunity to paddle some of the local classics before the festival fully kicked off. We jumped at the opportunity to go to the Verzasca and Tresa rivers and run laps on the festival river – the Moesa. The MisoX campground is right at the break between the upper class 3/4 section and the lower class 2/3 section, which makes it a perfect location for all abilities of kayaker. The river is dam release and the levels are generally best first thing in the morning, or towards the end of the day, which leaves plenty of time during the day to chill out, socialise with friends, or get involved in the bouldering, paragliding, and other festival activities. It is an unbelievably fun river in a half-slice, and soon enough all of the Ripper and Firecracker demos were out and about on the river, filling their occupants with joy on every splat rock and eddy line. 

The festival itself kicks off on Thursday, the start of the long holiday weekend in Switzerland for ascension day. The number of campers quadrupled overnight and even the rain couldn’t dampen everyone’s spirits as they readied themselves for the weekend ahead. The main kayaking activities include beginner and technique clinics, a river clean up, the “friendly race” time trail, a pinball race, and a boater x. There was also a hike to fly paragliding race and bouldering competitions, both on the nearby natural boulders and on a covered bouldering wall built especially for the event (which was great this year given there was quite a bit of rain!). As well as all this, there was an assault course built around the site, a volleyball court and a croquet pitch. However, my favourite activity had to be beer yoga. Before dinner each evening we all gathered together, beer in hand, to stretch out the day’s aches and pains whilst trying to avoid spilling beer all over ourselves. The Swiss know how to throw a party, with bands and DJs providing evening entertainment while the beer flowed at the bar.

The river clean-up was a great success this year, with the participants once again amazed by how much trash can be collected from such a clean-looking river! We filled the trailer with a whole variety of metal, plastic, broken fishing nets, beer cans, buckets and other items of rubbish. It was a great opportunity to do something good for the river, which gives us so much joy.

To make the friendly race inclusive for a wide range of abilities, it starts down a ramp built at the campsite and races for around 3.5 minutes downstream. The top 32 men and 8 women qualify for the Boater X final on Saturday. Not ones to let the name “friendly” kill our competitiveness, Lyndon and I both went all out in the race. We were stoked to put down the fastest times in both categories. Lyndon finished with a time of 3 minutes 14, a whole 7 seconds ahead of 2nd place. I managed 3 minutes 24, the 6th fastest time of the day and 8 seconds ahead of the 2nd fastest woman. However, the most exciting thing for me this year was to see the number of female participants in the race more than double from the previous year – up to 18 racers!

Saturday afternoon saw the return of the ever-popular pinball race. Teams of 3 were drawn out of a hat and given a big yoga ball. The only aim – get both your ball and team down the river (in one piece) as fast as possible. This may sound easy, but once you add in the other 30 competitors who are all out to get you, absolute chaos ensues. The low water levels made things extra spicy this year with boats and balls pinned left, right and centre. It seemed impossible to make a break, but Lyndon’s team managed it somehow and they charged ahead to take the win. My race was slightly less successful when I flipped over on a rock with my arm outstretched. Worried about my shoulder, I chose to end my race there and head back to camp, where I was checked over by Josephine. Despite the pain, I had a reasonable range of movement, which was a massive relief.

Saturday morning, I taped up my shoulder and headed up the river with the rest of the crew for the boater x finals. The course included a start ramp and two upstream gates – one on either side of the slot boof – before a touch banner finish line. The racing was tight, with changes in the leader in the two up gates causing some upsets early on. In the end, Lyndon and I emerged victorious, with Fabian Tandler and Fluorine Fischer in 2nd place, and Tim Redling and Elena Fischer in 3rd.  

And so that is how I found myself on top of the podium, Sambi dripping out of my eyes, ready for a shower and a beer. 

But first was the MisoX auction, to raise money for the future of the event. Lyndon and I donated the Level Six and NRS dry tops that we won back to the auction. However, the main event was a Ripper 2 in the MisoX colours, donated by Pyranha to help support the event. The bidding began, led by Reini from Profiwelt, and quickly two buyers were battling it out to win the boat. In the end, it was sold for 1700 CHF – a great result for the event.

Thanks so much to the organisers for an amazing weekend and for inviting us along again. We hope we can return next year to defend our titles, both on the river and at the party!

Photos by Reini Riedener, XXX, and Claas Pospiech