"Poorly Planned... Badly Executed"

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

The Kayaking Downhill Race

"Oh my god" - "it's...it's... Rolf 'the bear' Kelly!!"

Well you have all heard of the downhill ski racing… now introducing downhill kayaking racing!! As part of the ekstremsportveko competitions they have a kayak down river race on the lower bit of the Brandsetelvi (the closest thing to a skate park for kayaks you could have – see a few posts back for photos) and with 56 competitors going hard it should be a good day.

The waterfall half way down the race course

The competition is run just like a ski race too… they even have the same gate system to start your time and an inferred beam for the finish line. Plus they did a split time half way down the course at the top of the waterfall… yep that’s right waterfall. It's not that high but sloping and therefore easy to go deep on and get slowed by.

More racest day action

The kayak downhill was one of the main events at the ekstremsportveko and so on top of measuring our times to the nearest 100th of a second they had hard core live TV coverage for the race too including having cameras on big arms to get footage from the centre of the river. They even employed Norway’s cutest girls to hold the cameras (well ok it’s Norway – all the girls are cute) good on ya Norway.

It's Dave's dream camera... sorry Dave for some reason I didn't get the whole camera in frame?!?

As far as competing goes we were never really out to compete. Participating was what we were all about, besides entering made the ticket into the main festival tent and concerts cheaper. All in all we didn’t do too badly though. Eden placed eleventh missing out on the top ten by 0.3 seconds (the top ten raced again) and Rolf was thirteenth. I was doing sweet until the final and easiest rapid of the course which I went to far left and ended up in the slot (not a very nice place to go). I didn’t get hurt but instead of flying across the finish line I had to paddle out of the slot against the boil so my time wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been. I ended up twenty-first, six seconds of a top ten finish… bugger.

Allan going hard... but not hard enough and he had to go back to work for the afternoon (the fastest time from the Voss rafting boys got the afternoon off - claimed by Mikey)

This year the water was at a perfect level for racing. Apparently two years ago it was ‘really high’. To cross the finish line you have to enter the final rapid which has a pretty juicy hole at the bottom just waiting to eat tired kayakers. The year it was high just about everybody who made the top ten and raced twice swam in the bottom hole!! One exception however was Allan… who swam at the waterfall and never made it to the finish line… not how’s that for a spectator sport.

Mikey enjoying the podium with third place