Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Zealand to Norway

The last 6 months have been pretty busy for me with a lot of work, a lot of play, quite a bit of global drift, and heaps of good times. I just noticed that I haven't written anything for ages so I thought I'd do a quick update of the last half year of my life.

At home in Rotorua I had one of the best summers ever! It was the hottest driest summer I can remember, super busy on the river which was sweet. We even had a few good days of rain at the end of summer so managed to squeeze in a few days of creeking to finish off the season. I also managed to find time to get my heavy vehicles license, my passenger endorsement, and my grade 5 rafting cert. All in all a very productive season.

Jordie style packing

Jordie and I then packed our bags and with 2 kayaks, 1 mountain bike, 1 longboard, and 3 bags we jumped on a plane headed to California for a 2 week holiday and catch up with our friends.

Cool story about this truck, we hired it in San Francisco to transport us and all our stuff to Coloma, then when we took it back the next day they had lost the paperwork so didn't charge us anything! So much better than previous rental experiences!!! Big ups to Enterprise rentals!!! 

Thanks Harmony and Nick for the hospitality!!!

California was sunshine and fun times as per always and after two weeks of kayaking, rafting, longboarding, shopping, we were ready for the next leg of the journey. Fly to London, get ourselves and our excessive amount of stuff from Heathrow airport on one side of the city to Gatwick on the other side of the city. Thanks Lynne for letting us stay at your house and thanks Sara for getting up at 5am and driving 2 and a half hours across London to pick us up and transport us to the airport!!! 

Cool little open air cafe where we had brunch

Jordie trying to find Big Ben

Probably the most exciting place in London... The M&M Factory!!

Finally after 2 days of traveling we arrived in Bergen and amazingly the entire Voss Rafting Senter crew showed up at the bus station to pick us up! We spent a few hours handing out rafting brochures at the fish market then Froude treated us all to a delicious dinner and beers at a nice restaurant and we all headed to Voss. What a great welcome to Norway!

Now we are in recovery mode after the best Ekstremsportveko yet!!! Probably the most exciting race was the final between the Voss Rafting Senter (VRS) team and team Germany.  Team VRS had won the slalom and it was a battle to the end in the raft cross.  It was a Le Mans running start and Germany got the start perfect. VRS was chasing them the whole way down the river all that was left was the last rapid. Germany went right and VRS went left they had 200 m left till the finish line and Germany got forced into some rocks allowing VRS to take the victory  good work boys!

The riverboard race is always good times, I found a very sticky hole and had probably a 30 second beatdown while getting glimpses of Tabuya throwing me a rope over and over again yelling 'grab the rope Toni, Toni grab the rope'. Finally I flushed out still hanging onto my board and managed to beat the only other girl to the finish line.

I had never competed in the Amazing Raft Race before so this year I decided to give it a go. This race is not so serious as the slalom and raft cross races but definitely more energy expensive. The teams have anywhere between 4 and 7 people of varying abilities, the only prerequisite being that you have rafted down the section once before. The race has a series of clues and challenges, you have to solve the clue to find the next challenge. This year the challenges included taking on the kids high ropes course to find our first clue, some throw bagging target practice, some river swimming, rafting a rapid on the bottom of the upside down raft, and jumping off a bridge, all accompanied by a blow up pool toy.

The Brandseth was pretty low on race day and this ended up with a bit of drama. I quit my first race partway down the course as I saw one of my good friends on the side after just escaping from a pin against an undercut wall. Luckily she managed to drag herself out of her kayak and I arrived in time to help with the evacuation. I was surprised when I got back to find my kayak had been transported back to the race start and I got another chance to race.

1st in Rafting Slalom and Rafter X me in women's and Jordie in men's
1st in Amazing Raft Race with Jordie
1st in Women's River Boarding
3rd in Brandseth Downhill
2nd in Women's Teams Race (but first and last really because we were the only women's team there was a bit of a mix up where a mixed team got awarded first in the women's competition)

VRS team win the rafting race 6000NOK!!!

Next adventure Sjoa River Festival!!!