Sunday, June 29, 2008

Extreme: Like Smoky and the Bandit

Shaving in the State Trooper Dew... (Photo MW)

Over the years my tastes in music, books, hobbies, and movies have changed. One of several constants throughout these fluctuations has been an admiration for Burt Reynolds. Laugh if you will: but whether staring in the ultra classic comedy "Smoky and the Bandit," or playing the rugged survivalist in the academy award nominated film "Deliverance" one thing is certainly true...Burt grows the best mustache.

So despite the laughable nature of having just a mustache, particularly amongst my age group, I decided that there could be no substitute facial hair style for the Ekstremsportveko- Voss' very own Extreme sports festival. For those that are able, have a Banquet Beer for me and the Bandit

Although last year was a great week of paddling and partying, I felt this year topped it. As some of you may know, I placed 10th place in the extreme Kayak race last year, and was on a team that placed 2nd in the rafting competition.

The author on a successful run of the infamous Nosebreaker Drop, Upper Raundalselva. (Photo by Philbert Williams)

This year, I opted out of the rafting, due to time conflicts, and the fact that I guide rafts nearly every day. Instead, I replaced the rafting comp with another kayak competition, the Team Race. Mefford, Greg Dashper (A Canadian friend, from my BC adventures, who now works in Voss), and myself competed and finished 4th. Unfortunately, I did not fare so well in the individual event, and finished 19th. The field was tough this year, and the water was low, making any mistake very costly.

Finishing the Team Race

Considering my dismal finish in the individual race, which was the highlight of my week last year, how is it that I would consider this year better than last? Well the answers are... Lot's of kayaking, new rivers, big waterfalls, good friends, great mustaches, expensive, but bountiful, beer, good music, crazy paragliders, and beautiful women, not to mention my first days off in 22. All this in six quick days of fun, in one of the coolest towns anywhere.

Top Picture- The author racing down the Brandseth (photo Liza D.)

Bottom Picture- The author on the Reimegrend Section of the Raundalselva (photo MW)

One thing is certain about kayaking, is that it is a tight knit and friendly community. As well, once you reach a certain level, you know damn near everyone...even if you are 3000+ miles from home. If you don't know people, they are friends of your friends, and thereby instantly friends of yours. The week in Voss, reconnected me with both types of friends and really reminded me of one of my favorite things about kayaking.

Zach, a newly made friend, met through mutual friends, getting it done on the Upper Raundal

Max, yet another new friend previously known only by reputation, punching a hole with enthusiasm on the Lower Myrkdal

Unfortunately, the week ended all too quickly. Before the team race was even over, it was back to the Salt Mines at Jolster Rafting for more work and less play, but much better pay. Mefford, Liza, and I, made it back to the base just barely in time for an evening rafting trip, and BBQ, which was followed by another crazy busy day of rafting, rappelling, BBQ, and paintball on my Birthday.
Fellow North American Mark Basso, on the Lower Myrkdal

Now that I am back at work, I am eagerly anticipating a visit from my Dad, and hope that we stay plenty busy at work for the rest of the season.

Did I mention it is kind of beautiful here?

To see more pictures-check out the new web gallery by clicking any picture on the blog.

For stories from different perspectives check over on Mefford's Blog,

The Author on the biggest slide on the Brandseth. (Photo by MW)

All Photos by Amos Shuman, unless otherwise noted.

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