Settled in Sjoa

It’s been over two weeks since Nick Horwood and I arrived in Sjoa and we’ve been keeping ourselves busy: Gnarl-boating on various runs that seem a little high, trampolining, playboating on the local spots, perfecting my C1 survival skills, learning to raft guide, and a blast down the Amot Gorge nearly every night!


Ed Cornfield showing us how it’s done.

Big thanks to Ed Cornfield and co. at Sjoa Adventure for an awesome crash course in how to raft guide. An intensive kayaker-specific course had Nick and I feeling more than confident running the meat, surfing, rock spinning and splatting our rafts all over the place.


Never a lazy moment: Trampolining is a classic Norwegian pass-time. Or at least I’m pretty sure it is because every house appears to have one!

Gaute Holthe summasulting at Sjoa Adventure.

Unfortunately there are no pictures of our exciting adventure into the lower Finna canyon. The water was high and Nick and I had to follow several of Sjoa’s best local boaters. They all seemed to know the most fun lines by heart so no need to get out and look, eh? hmm…

Eleven of us reached “The Toaster”: a class V ‘must run’ with a boof middle and a heinous looking slot on the left. Nick, Simon Hansen and I watched as our experienced companions fell one-by-one into The Toaster. The final score: 11 – NIL to The Toaster. Fantastic entertainment for those already below the drop.

A fun day out nonetheless and no real nasty nastinesses worth mentioning.


When we’re not scaring ourselves silly, it’s worth visiting whichever local play spot is working and having a bit of low consequence fun – although I still find running “easy” white water in my undersized C1 playboat reasonably terrifying!

Max Bilbow throwing a loop in the Bubble Machine

The Bubble Machine is our local high water play spot and is just great!


Nick threw a loop in my C1. I think he landed it too; git.

Nick Horwood trying to pull a sensible kayaking face!

Today we took a trip down the Sjoa’s Playrun. A great trip for practicing those Creek boat kick-flips. Also, as I discovered, a great place to get a good old fashioned shoeing in a big hole – if you’re up for it. My Liquid Logic Jefe proved a little harder to surf than the average playboat and the shoeing was inevitable.

Switching boats with Ed, I was able to through a couple of moves before dropping into the meat and receiving a slightly more playful shoeing. Just another chilled out day in Norway!


Kate Donnelly and Ed Cornfield enduring the stressful lifestyle of the Sjoa Valley.

As Ed will tell you himself, life in the valley is very busy indeed. In fact i distinctly remember an evening last week when we didn’t manage to sit down and watch a movie. Hard times.

Tomorrow we’re off to Voss to get in training for the festival and sample some of Norway’s most famous creeks. Chao for now!

Photos by Nick Horwood, Kate Donnelly and Myself.

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