In March 2011 I spend almost a month on the most beautiful river I‘ve ever paddled, the mighty Futaleufu. Since this river and many others in Chile are threatened by dams, locals and paddlers are organizing a festival for people from all over the world who share the love for the river. It is called the Futa Fest, and is a three day event with lots of action, chill-time, mate-drinking and asados. The first day saw a fun boatercross happening through the rapids called Toro and Mundaca. After winning the first heat, I took my first swim this season, in the Mundaca hole, in front of
150 people watching! woopwoop! Local hero Santiago Carlin took the gold medal home tothe town of Futaleufu. The next day the competitors all teamed up at the start line for the downriver race, the more prestigious competition of the event: A 10 km class 4 big volume run. People were in all sorts of floating crafts: T-canyons,Frankensteins, playboats, creekboats, Kendos, Stuntbats, Dancers and beyond. After a very slow start, I managed to still finish the race as number one, after a bit more than 24 minutes of paddling. Due to more than a few months spent in my kayak this past year, my muscles have gotten accustomed to long days or distances on the water, allowing me to sneak up from behind to pass the leading field a little while before the finishline :) My girlfriend Mariann Saether from Norway won the women‘s category, so all around Happy days...
This is just after the start. I'm still 3rd last...
Val Sesia Sweet Rumble River Festival had it‘s premiere edition the last weekend of May. Around 40
kayakers met up in Campertogno Italy, enjoying a great weekend together. Egua-Freeride Team race and a Boatercross were all being held on Saturday! The Egua-Freeride was a totally new kind of kayak competition. A mix of downriver freestyle moves and extreme race! In the early morning everyone showed up for a one hour freestyle session down the first slide on the Egua river. Straight boof, paddle-spin, free-wheel, back-wheel, kick-flip, some bumm-slides and flying-exit‘s were being shown. The top three moves of everyone counted max 20
points each. Afterwards we cruised down to the last four drops of the creek and raced each other and the clock! The winner got another 20 points, the second 18, 17, 16,.... In the end I won the first edition of Egua-Freeride... woopwoop! Next race up was the Team Race on the Sesia river. Funny enough I pinned between two rocks and went for my second bootie beer of the season: Thanks to Boby Frieser and Jakub Sedivy for rescueing me!
kayakers lined up for the Time-trials of the downriver. Only the top 20 are thus allowed to race on the King of Falls section, one of the most difficult, spectacular and dangerous race sections in the world. After I landed a 6th place in the downriver, I managed to place first in the King of Falls and was really happy about it! The next three disciplines were held on an artificial slalom course in the town of Ivrea. I had less luck with racing here, but at least I did not swim for the third time on the third competition.. ;-)
King of the falls!
Right now, I‘m on my way home from the Extreme sport week in Voss, Norway, an outdoor-multi-sports event. It is the biggest of its kind in the world, and gathers athletes from all over the world for a week of spectacular performance. Base-jumper, paragliders, mountainbikers, longboarders, climbers, parachuters, skiers, rafters, and kayakers competed during the day then went to awesome music concerts organized by the festival at night. The Kayak race on the blue waters of the river Brandseth is also one of the most prestigious worldwide, as it is recognized as a hard course to be fast on, even if it has less consequenses than races like the Green Race and the King of Falls race in Italy. Two runs of around 1‘40 minutes is the name of the game, both counting. On my first run I didn‘t find the good flow down the whole run, but still placed 3rd with a time of 1‘40‘15, two seconds behind Michele Ramazza and just a bit behind Sam Sutton, the current World Champion. My second run went much better, I found the flow through every rapid except one big mistake after the waterfall that cost at least a couple of seconds. My time: 1‘38‘05. Not fast enough. Dag Sandvik snuck up from behind, having the fastest run of the day with 1‘34‘.. and came in 2nd in the end! Congratulations! Michele then claimed the 1st spot, Sam 3rd and me 4th. Mariann won with a 17 seconds lead to the second girl in the womens category after a good first run, with a time of 1‘45, which put her tenth in the Men´s. Though with some mistakes in the second run, she ended up 14th in the men‘s in the end. Congrats!
I‘m surprised how well I did so far in competitions this year. It makes me excited for the rest of them this year... the Sjoa-Festival, the Sickline race and probably the Green race. Bring it on!