Last Wednesday saw the Sjoa river rising to its highest level since 1995. In fact it wasn’t until Friday morning the water began to subside.
The hole at the bottom of the slalom course appears, at the highest flow, to be almost perfect for big air freestyle moves.
That is of course only if one were to brave the wild surges, constant floating debris, and an accidental biblical descent of the Amot Gorge!
Although the wave occasionally surged to form an inviting and icy brown face to surf on, we decided to give it a miss this decade.
The sauna hut, at the top end of the course, had been turned into an island; surrounded by a murky torrent of brown. Some brave heroes still got inside it though and even took a dip in the eddy afterwards.
It’s a good job no one was sleeping in the bottom hut! The hero move, kayaking through the bottom window, was certainly discussed. However it is much harder and more consequential than one would prefer.
Watch out for that hut strainer! shortly after this photo was taken those steps were partially washed away. The hut however still stands on its firm concrete foundation.
So what does this mean for boating in Sjoa I hear you ask…
The levels have finally dropped so that Amot is back down to Terrifyingly High as apposed to Biblically High. The main rapids are washed out but everything else is extremely pushy and crucial; eddies are definitely out!
The Play Run is most fun indeed for those who fancy the big volume boating, and you can no longer hear the rocks moving beneath you. A paddle down the Washing Machine section afterwards is great fun for the brave.
Tom Parker and I have spent the last week running a coaching and guiding trip out here and, despite the amount of water about, have managed to find something appropriate every day. High flatland runs, like the Ulla, don’t seem to catch as much water and run off quick. Lesser run high volume sections, like the lower Jori, become very entertaining indeed.
The forecast for the next week is more rain unfortunately and it’s looking less likely that the Amot boater X will be in. However it’s supposed to be raining now and I’m sitting under a sunny sky; so bets are not off yet. Good times will certainly be had by all. More information and updates: www.sjoariverfestival.no
As anyone will tell you: there are always things to paddle in Norway, you just have to ask around.