A different spring

I made it back to Norway some three weeks ago, and arrived in Bergen buzzing on a five week high from a beautiful Spanish spring with a lot of improvement in my slalom boat and a nice farmer-tan from the sunny catalon spring days. I landed in Bergen to the coldest spring seen in more than 30 years. It really hasn´t stopped raining since, and it has been bitter cold – keeping the levels down. As a matter of fact, they are just rising last night/morning, in due time for when I am flying to London for a week of training in the olympic course of Lee Valley. Phew… chasing water is testing at times..

However, I have trained every day while I have been at home – one session slalom and then another one on whitewater – a pretty sweet combo! It is hard to keep up the training though when I am at home and not surrounded by slalom heads – I dropped from 20 + hours in my slalom boat to about 10 -12 pr. week… Not happy about that, and somehow I gotta figure out how to stay motivated at home as well. If we manage to string a new course, in some more exciting whitewater, I think I will be much better off. Hopefully we can get on this in a week´s time when I am back home.

Shortly after arriving in Voss I caught Money Drop with some juice – I gotta say I still do not like to look down into its throat – it looks ugly but always seems to work out!


Ten days ago I insisted on running Myrkdalen at low flows – it wasn´t coming up anytime soon it seemed like, and I just really wanted to get on one of my favorite rivers in the area. However, I did not remember it being that bony at 14 cumecs – I felt a bit off and got bounced around a lot, having couple of bad rolls that made me overstretch my weak shoulder. In the end, even if that flow permits you to run everything and it is fairly chilled I rather add 10 – 15 cumecs and walk a couple of things. Lesson learned!


Holy Diver on the Myrkdalen – Soon I flip over, overstretch my shoulder on a backdeck roll and roll up to shoulder problems. Again.


After a few days of paddling with pain I went and saw Voss Kiropraktorkontor – my long time friend Pål Lindseth took time for me and my shoulder, and soon enough handed me a sponsor contract! I am not sure if that is a good or a bad thing.. Actually, it is really cool, and with his help I am gonna get this one sorted out, and all the other stuff that probably is wrong with my neck and back after 15 years of running waterfalls.. Stoked!

I had to cancel the competition in Merano, Italy this weekend though – to try and get  as well as possible for this upcoming training week in London. I guess I am getting better at what might be my biggest weakness: To slow down. A small goal I have is to live a bit more after the “less is more”, and not take on everything all the time. That meant meaking a choice for not aggrevating the shoulder with gates and competitions, but rather focus on letting it heal. (I did go and scout Teigdalen yesterday though – with Ibuprofen in my pocket… ) My big goal for the season is the Worlds in London in September – I just simply want to do my best and then I will see where that takes me.


Had to cancel the ICF race in Merano


On that note, it is a real bummer that the Worlds in freestyle is  held just before the slalom worlds – it makes it very hard to try and do a cross-over this time. The Worlds in freestyle will be on Garb – one of my favorite waves in the world and one that I feel very familiar with. We will see – if my training goes well in slalom I might try to pop in to compete, just to get my head away from smashing gates.

I have had some time to ponder this spring, and it has been a tough one. The past 9 months saw four of my friends pass away – all of them amazing spirits that put color and life in the world.

When Juanito passed in November it was a hard slap in the face – he was one of my best friends for years – one of those that you don´t have to stay in touch with every day because when you met again it is as if notthing has changed. His passing left me bewildered – there were/are so many thoughts and emotions to deal with that I really just put them in a closet and walked away. Poco a poco. Little by little.


On the 26th of June we do a celebration float on the Raundalselva – celebrating life and friendship forged by the river.


Then LuLu died on the Kaituna in New Zealand – and I felt my world fall down all around. I am so grateful she came along on our northern Norway trip last year – I got to know her better and the memories we shared make it a little easier to bear. I did 15 years of kayaking without losing any friends to the river – and suddenly it seemed like a craziness hit all around – as if time was running out for so many.


It has left me wondering a lot about my own lucky lines, my own close-calls, what ifs and a lot of why. I know there are no proper answers to any of my questions, and that they are a natural part of being alive and dealing with loss – but that realisation does not make it easier. I wonder about this selfish life I have chosen – that we as kayakers chose all the time.  At times I feel the most at peace on the river doing exactly what my friends loved doing – sometimes I am the most at peace while just sitting outside, in the forest, overlooking the river from under the Lulu-tree or watching the clouds go by thinking about Juanito.


Lulu told me to take care of her kayak and so I will. It might be silly to have it here – under a tree – but it feels comforting when sadness hits.


However, it has never, not once, crossed my mind to stop kayaking whitewater, or even to step back from lines I feel confident with. The river is such a strong calling, it is where I am the most happy and at peace with myself and the world around. What has changed though is that I am realising that I probably will not run class five for ever – so then what else is there? What is the next step?



Feeling at peace on the edge in Iceland


The Norwegian poem Hans Børli is one of my favorite writers. He was a logger all his life and spent his life in the outdoors – and writing about it. I find his words to be clear and honest – he describes what he feels and sees. I think I will end this little blog with his words, which I have freely translated from Norwegian. They seem to stick with me at the moment.


There are moments

when all words are grey

when the sorrow is like a glimpse of fall

a whithering leaf frozen stuck

in the icy creek



Video of Lulu being amazingly great..




The chicas – Lulu, Katrina, myself and Nicole.