"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Monday, 25 June 2007


I can’t be bothered typing at the moment so all yas gets is photos… Enjoy

The first drop and warm-up for the run

Playing chase down a 60ft slide

Eden seems to approve

Slides - a trademark of Norway

The problem with not knowing the run... you have to scout

We finally found a river that looks like the ones we have back home... sweet as

Sunday, 24 June 2007

So That Is What Big Water Is

Morning Glory rapid on the Raundalselvi

Right here they are… the big water photos that no one has been screaming for (or even asking for that matter). But they will inflect them on you never the less. These were taken yesterday on the Raundalselvi in Voss (we are here for the extreme sports festival this week – I sense a party or two) and the river was at about twice the recommended maximum flow in the guide book… perfect.

Rolf at the top of Morning Glory

The bottom of Morning Glory swallowing another kayaker

Thee Eden Sinclair looking classy as always

Rolfy Bear on the last falls of the run

Friday, 22 June 2007

Play Boating Kicks Ass

Did someone say aerial blunt

For the last few days we had been running the (add name here – I forget) which while being a cool read and run creek with some fun moves had one two too many rocks in it. My frustration was quickly growing with each one I hit… time for something different.

I can fly...

Water levels were still too high for some of the harder creeks about so we headed for the easier ones hoping to find water levels above their recommended flows (that should take care of my ‘too many rocks’ problem). And high water levels is what we found on a section of the (add name here… hey I’m not a genius) with plenty of read and run grade 4 big water action for all. Sweet as but I feel I need something more…

Yep pretty happy about that ride

At the local campground there is a super nice play wave – big and bouncy and fast… perfect but we only have our creek boats with us and that won’t do at all. No worries though, a quick phone call to a complete stranger and we were in action with two Bliss-Stick RAD’s… you beauty.

Thee Eden Sinclair going vertical

The play wave was aerial blunt city… I don’t really need to say more. Just check out the photos if you don’t believe me. We were even able to get the start of a helix working (google it if you don’t know what it is)

Attempted Helix... and I do stress attempted

Probably one of the best times I’ve had in a while and Eden certainly agreed… in fact we couldn’t get him to leave as nine o’clock ticked by. Come on Eden we still had our salmon to cook… looks like it is going to be another late one. Good thing we have endless daylight at our disposal.

Our friend who hooked us up with boat's

Camping At Its Best

Our very own tepee

A couple of days ago we bumped into a local raft guide who said that we could camp around the back of their base… sweet as. Fire pit with plenty of fire wood, big tepee to sleep in, and even toilets - what a score.

Bought all by ourselves!

Well because we have a fire pit we though we better find a reason to use it and what better use than to cook our tea on... ah but what to have? Time to be adventures we all though… ok so Rolfy Bear wasn’t to keen but we assured him that we were trained professionals (one of the things we have learnt to say in Norwegian).

One thing that is cheap over here is fish and you can buy whole frozen salmon for only under $10 NZD a kilo. So salmon it is then should be good I reckon. A quick trip to the shops saw us acquire the necessary ingredients and so it was time to go boating while our salmon defrosted in the afternoon sun. Many hours of play boating and a flood run creek should be enough time (see the next post for photos of the action)

In the fire with you

Right all set… fire is of suitable ‘man’ size, fish is gutted and scaled (as well as defrosted – quite an important step not to be forgotten), and the tin foil is at the ready. In the fire she goes.

Looks good au... peau peau

And an hour latter we had probably the best feast that we have cooked to date. Sure beats paste and canned tuna… choice.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Who Brought the Bliss-Stick Boat?

Eden hones his plastic welding skills

Well I guess it was only a matter of time until someone broke their boat over here and true to tradition it was a Bliss-Stick boat that Eden had the plastic welder out for… again. I guessed he wasn’t confident in his boats ability to last the distance when one of his first purchases in Switzerland was a small refillable blowtorch (which can be used to weld plastic together). Luckily it wasn’t a major break and only his seat needed repair… sweet as, good as new. As Shaun would say, “I reckon you could sell that!”
I hear it gets dark in August sometime
(photo taken just after 12 o'clock)

Monday, 18 June 2007

I Like Big Water

Yeah I don't think this singing thing is for us

After a week of boating it was time to head to Lillyhammer for a 40th birthday party of one of Rolf’s family members. Now we had come to kayak so we weren’t exactly prepared for a formal dinner party (at which everybody was dressed up for). If you only knew that three people in the room were kayakers then you could have easily picked out who we were. Although the fact that Eden was wearing bare feet made him pretty obvious and my ‘party’ shirt meant spotting me wasn’t exactly difficult. Rolf was the only one presenting a challenge. When you combined our standard of dress with the fact we were the only three people in the room who didn’t speak Norwegian then we really did feel out of place. Fortunately they made us feel very welcome anyway… good one ya Rolf’s family. And because they feed us so well we were only too happy to do the washing up.

Cheap import labour hard at work

One Norwegian tradition that we weren’t quite prepared for was singing during dinner… that’s right singing… and (you guessed it) in Norwegian. Everybody got a few sheets of paper with the lyrics to the songs that we were to sing. Well we could barely read the sheets let alone sing them, for English speakers pronouncing Norwegian words is not straight forward. I do have a new favourite quote though from one of the songs “Livet er ikke det værste man har, og om litt er kaffen klar”. I’ll let you try and figure out what it means!

Thor god of thunder tagged along for our trip

After saying goodbye to our new friends we headed for Sjoa and the Åmot run. A pleasant little trip down a narrow section with plenty of water… what better way to burn off all the cake we had eaten. And because it was ‘only’ grade 4 we figured we should play follow the leader to spice things up a little. First run down we took it a little easy but for the next two runs it was - plug the middle and get laughed at if you don’t make it… aye Rolf.

Not to be out done by Eden, Rolf found his own hole

Eden stepped it up a notch by intentionally trying to catch the biggest hole on the run… nice work buddy. Shame you missed your loop (and that there was no one ready to take photos). Not to be outdone Rolfy bear got himself a nice working on the last hole of the run… that’s funny Rolf it didn’t look like you were trying to end up in that hole!?! To bad for you the paparazzi were on hand.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Follow Meeeee!!!

Bom?!? Crazy language

The abundance of warm weather meant that water in Telemark was fast disappearing, time for us to leave. Next stop Buskerud. We headed north in search of greener pastures and stumbled across a stretch of river nicked named ‘the Zambezi section”. Zambezi aye… that’s that big volume one in Africa isn’t it… the one with lots of water in it, and huge waves, and massive holes that could eat a bus or three?!? Sounds good… where’s the put-in?
Pump those weights!

Well as we drove across the bridge our cocky banter was abruptly ended. The river looked a little on the high side with what Eden and I guessed was 500-600 cumecs (while Rolf tried to workout what the hell a ‘cumec’ was, he’s American you see). Yep that should form one or two big holes we thought to ourselves as we headed up the road for a little closer. Ahh there’s a big hole… and there goes another one. There’s one over there too… there bloody everywhere!

The run is about 10 km long so before diving into reading and running a Zambezi style river we though that we would do a little more investigation. The guys at the local rafting place told us the river was ‘high’ and the Zambezi section was pretty full on (but doable). The gauge under the bridge, which was under water, confirmed that it was indeed high. Well it was to late in the day for another run so let’s re-look at it in the morning, time to sleep.

Grass on the roof... more grazing for the sheep I guess

Morning time! Let’s go paddling… or not. Rolf had the crazy idea that with everything being high maybe there could be some good boating in one of the tributaries. As Eden and I didn’t like what we had seen on the Zambezi section we were happy to go for a walk and so we set off. Rolf and Eden headed one direction and I the other. We both had nice walks but didn’t find anything to inspire us enough to hike with heavy boats (it was either too easy or too full on). Funny coincidence too, after walking for over three hours in different directions we arrived back at the car within five seconds of each other (crazy aye). Anyway looks there’s nothing for it… we will have to paddle the Zambezi section.

The next day we meet up with some crazy German boaters who had paddled the run a few days earlier and more importantly knew the lines!! Sweet as then we’ll just follow you guys. And that is exactly what we did. Probably the best way to describe the run was like putting Nevis Bluff and Citron back to back for 10 km (with some ‘flattish’ bits thrown in to calm the nerves). The holes in there were huge that’s the only word for it but our crazy German guides saw us right. My favourite quote on the river was “you can stop and look at this one if you like because it is pretty big but there’s no point because you can’t see anything from the bank anyway”. Ok so we’ll just keep following you then…

If you have managed to read this far then good one ya and you have probably noticed that the photos have nothing to do with the text… basically we didn’t get any photos because we were too scared (and playing follow the crazy German).

Rolf 'the bear' Kelly

Have a good one

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Do We Have To Go Kayaking?

Eden running Spånemfossen

With all three of us finally in the same spot and after being well feed and looked after we headed for the Telemark region about two hours drive from Oslo. Water in the area usually only last for a couple of weeks but this season it has already been going for two months! Apparently Norway got heaps more snow than they usually do over winter and they had a colder than normal spring (not that you would know it with temperatures consistently in the thirties). For those who do not speak ‘kayak’ all that translates into plenty of water for us to play in for the season…. booyah

Boating in Norway is a little different to anywhere I have paddled before… all the regular kayak runs are right beside roads (well in Telemark at least). There are established put-ins and take-outs but essentially one can just drive until they think the river is suitably scary enough and then paddle until they are too scarred.

Rolfy Bear's attempt at flight on the Gøyst

The first river we hit up was an upper section of the Austbygdi (note: upper doesn’t equal harder over here). As we all got changed Eden realised that he had managed to leave his helmet in Switzerland!!! “That’s a funny place to keep it… how are you going to kayak here?!?” Oh well looks like Rolf and I have a shuttle driver… and a spectator as Eden was able to stop and check out our form at almost every drop. All was good and finally we had paddled out first river in Norway… live is good (for those of us with helmets). The next day we sampled the delights of the Gøyst (pronounced like just but with g… Norwegian is an interesting language – the only thing I know for sure is that I’m saying it wrong!). It has some very cool slides on it which seem to make up the staple diet of paddling in Telemark. Slides and waterfalls… and so far we have been hiding form the latter.

Our guide Sam on the Home Run section of the Mår

Sam to the rescue… a friend of ours, Sam Hughes, who lives in Oslo saved Eden’s trip when he arrived in Telemark Saturday morning with a shiny new F&A helmet. You who think that Eden would be stoked but not so… Have you not heard that beggars can’t be choosers Eden? Lucky for Eden Sam also had a slightly used full face helmet that he could have. It’s pretty funny though, it makes Eden look like a German (and worst – a German who needs a full face helmet due to lack of paddling grace). Hahaha

The paparazzi our out in force today - Sam runs the smallest drop on Home Run

With Sam in town for the weekend he showed us some of the sweet drops in the area… either that or he tried to scare us, I’m not totally sure. On the Saturday we paddled the Gøyst again from a bit higher and then did a blue angle run (one after the other no stopping), although still not a fast as Sam would have liked. Apparently we weren’t meant to catch any eddies!

Jono on the California section of the Austbygdi

On Sunday things got more interesting however. The day started early (not a problem in Norway you could paddle through the night… if you can even call it night) with a short section on the Mår called Home Run. Sam and some others we camped with had been talking it up the night before so Eden and I were a little wary but Rolf ‘the bear’ Kelly was ready to fire it up and he wasn’t disappointed. The run is only 500 meters long and has only seven drops with the average height of each drop being close to seven meters. Yeah I think Sam is trying to scare us but the kiwis were up for it and Rolfy Bear even had a grin on his face.

With the waterfalls dispensed with we headed for a big slide (just above a waterfall you can’t run without breaking yourself) and another even bigger waterfall, Spånemfossen, which is apparent ‘all good down the middle’. Sweet as

More from the Californian section

Well I’m still typing so all was well and we even found our favourite run to date. The Californian section of the Austbygdi which was more of a river than a waterfall-slide combination. Much closer to what we are use to in New Zealand - nice.

Spot the paddler!!!

Good times…

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Is That All For Us?!?

Rolf with his Aunty Grette Johanne and Uncle Arne

Rolf had told us that Norwegians were generous with his relatives being no exception and he could not have been more correct. After picking up him up from the train station we headed back to his Aunty Grette Johanne and Uncle Arne’s place just out of Oslo. We were instantly treated like one of the family and looked after better than either Eden or I could have hoped for.

They live in an apartment type building but it is built on a hill so everyone gets a balcony without another place directly above them making the place feel like a house… and besides it is about as big anyway… plenty of room for three scumbag kayakers to make themselves feel at home.

Enjoying a meal of fresh salmon

But it even got better… yes better. The food they gave use was amazing. I remember waking up the other morning to and walking out into the living area to find the dinning table full from one end to the other with everything I could possible think that I might want for breakfast. You name it, it was there!!! And best yet they said we could come back… choice.

A huge thank you to Grette Johanne and Arne for looking after us so well.

Cheers guys.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Where's Rolfy Bear?!?

Rolf 'the bear' Kelly

Just one thing left to do before we could hit up the legendary Norwegian white water that we had heard so much about, find our third man - Rolf ‘the bear’ Kelly. Eden and I met Rolf when he was in New Zealand a few years back and he was pretty unstoppable down-under. As we figured we needed someone to fire up the big shit (so I had cool photos to show everyone) we were only too happy to have him tag along with us. Plus we need someone else to hassle when we got sick of telling each other to piss off and who better than an American (I wonder how long before Rolf gets sick of us taking the piss).

As Rolf had to fly with a kayak we were interested to see what issues the wonderful airlines had presented him with. All that we had to do was find him and we would know… Ah yes find him. The plan – Rolf catches a train to Oslo Centre Station and we meat him there. Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

With my co-pilot armed with a ‘not so great’ map of the inner city and me still trying to come to terms with the give way rules in this country (seriously though they make no sense) we headed for the Oslo Centre Station. Well our success at finding our way around on the first day was not repeated… our first wrong turn cost us about 20mins driving in circles, on roads that weren’t on the map none the less and from there things got confusing… don’t you just love big cities! It wasn’t too bad I suppose, after we found where we were on the map my co-pilot kicked into top gear and we were set.

At the train station at last and the trio is complete… with our powers combined we… no wait we are just going kayaking not saving the world. Rolf’s journey was rather uneventful or as my friend Ben would say “it went better than we had hoped” so nothing interesting to report there.

Now to discover the other great side of hanging out with Rolfy Bear… his generous family. Rolf’s mum is from Norway and so Rolf has plenty of relatives around the place which he assures us would love to have some scumbag kayaker’s come and visit. Brilliant

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Norway Here We Come

The view from the restaurant - not bad aye

Well the time has come to say farewell to Switzerland, land of cows, swiss army knives and watches (the place we were staying is a tourist town and they push all the swiss stereotypes, you can buy all cow bells at all the shops!! I guess it is kind of like Queenstown and toy sheep). Anyhow because we were off Fraenzi took us out for tea at quite a nice place way up on top of a hill. Very cool and for some reason unbeknown to us she ordered us an entrée of snails!! What does she think we are ‘French tourists’, apparently they are a traditional dish in Switzerland as well… crazy huh. Turns out that snails are thee shit (not shit but thee shit). Never thought that I would be saying that!!

Snails?!?... But why would you do that Fraenzi

Well with snails dispensed with we headed off for Oslo with only a set of Google Map directions having decided that it would be more entertaining to “see how far we could get before we needed to buy a map”. Turns out that happened to be Norway… hurray, and just a mere two days later.

The first day saw us drive across Germany, place of no speed limits. I have got to hand it to the Germans… limitless highways is the way to go. We were cruising at 140 kph and having people blow by us as if we were standing still!! You have to be really careful pulling out into the fast lane to pass because that car that is 500m behind you now might have caught up to you in the time it takes you to cross lanes. The fastest I got up to was 160 kph but I didn’t want to push it too much with two boats on the roof, we did want to still have kayaks when we arrived.

That night we slept in the car in a pull-off having made it into Denmark. I woke in the morning and asked Eden “what’s the time?” to which he replied “three o’clock in the morning”. So it gets light early here aye, and we where only half way there… what is it going to be like in Norway?!? The other crazy thing is that they don’t check people when you cross borders!! We had stashed a bit of alcohol in or gear so with the hope of sneaking it in to Norway but we though that we might have to at least say we didn’t have anything at the other borders along the way.

One of the many spectacular bridges we crossed

The next day’s travels were about as uneventful as the first. We made it to Norway in good time (with out being checked at the border – we should have had more cheap alcohol with us!). We then set about finding our friends place. After locating an internet cafe we had directions to his house, and due to the good work of my co-pilot we found it with one u‑turn required. Nice work buddy. All that is left now is to pickup our friend Rolf from the airport and then we might even be ready to do some boating!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 2 June 2007

We Have A Car!!

Our very own Escort

Buying a car in Switzerland is no easy feat… the cars are more expensive, insurance is ridiculous (and compulsory), you need to have a local address for all the forms and insurance papers, and they send all the ‘old’ vehicles off to Eastern Europe because the Swiss can’t stand the thought of driving anything that’s not in ‘mint’ condition. To add to that, even after you pay your money for the car, you aren’t allowed to drive your new car away until you get your new plates (after getting insurance; which you need the ownership papers for, and of course.. a swissy address!!)

We bypassed most of our problems with the aid of our super swiss guide – Fraenzi. She let us register the car in her name making the insurance possible as well, otherwise we would have been kicked out in the cold. (or hot… it is summer here when it is not snowing).

Sweet as, now we just have to find a vehicle (re-read the first paragraph if you imagine it is easy). After much searching on the internet and traipsing around car yards we were left with very few options. Then just when all was seemingly lost the guy at the cheapest car yard in Interlaken calls us up to let us know he had a 1992 Ford Escort which we might be interested in…

Choice bro… an Escort with tinted rear windows, black steel rims, complementary different coloured panel, and an 1800 fuel injected beast of an engine complete with front mount radiator and only 126,000 km on the clock… Ah we’ll take it au.

I asked him to put some custom undercoat grey patches on it but that was going to be extra… stink au. Still no worries ay, I’m sure we’ll get some before long.

Anyhow one good thing about buying a car in Switzerland is that it’s illegal to not service your car when required, which gives the buyer a lot more faith that a vehicle has been looked after.

We might even make it too Norway