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Since I started kayaking I have seen and heard about the Norwegian kayaking oasis and its unbelievable rivers, but I never thought I would get to paddle here. It is one of the most expensive places to travel, and for a kayaker used to sleeping in the back of a mid-90’s hatchback, this fact was very daunting. This is where our friend and favorite Brazilian TV personality, Pedro Oliva, comes in. For the last two years we have been lucky to work with him on a series of shows called KAIAK, and this season is showcasing the paradisiacal waters of Norway and Greenland!

So here I am, sitting in what is now feeling like a warm day in Norway, looking back at our three weeks here and wondering where it all went. Ben Stookesberry and I left a burning California morning to enter a drizzling Oslo afternoon, and since then we’ve had but three “summer” days here with full arctic sun. Turns out that’s of little concern though, and the whitewater is the real story here. It’s not exactly our typical kind of destination, ie one of the most popular kayaking hotspots in the world, but for that, we knew there would be amazing quality at our fingertips, and probably plenty more to find off the beaten path.

We first made our way to Voss where water levels had dropped to keep us off many of the famous runs and waterfalls, but still left us with enough options to fill our 18+ hours of daylight. The Myrkdal has earned a reputation as a classic Voss river and with its amazing whitewater about 30 minutes from town, it’s easy to see why. From Voss we moved on to another “mecca” of paddling in the Sjoa and Otta valleys where we had the good fortune to get enough rain to bring the super classic Store Ula back to good flows. I’ve seen images of this river since I started paddling and we were all very pleased to get the chance to paddle it.

There is still plenty of exploration to do in Norway, where even in one of the most popular tourist destinations several first descents have been hiding. We arrived in the Kardal valley near Aurlandsfjord just after a Russian mastered the Kardalfossen for the first time but left another big, hidden falls downstream untouched. This big falls was the climax of the trip for me, with a long, fast class IV lead-in to a funneling 22 meter falls into a giant boil. The huge surprise was that hitting the apparently super-soft boil was more like hitting a flat swimming pool! I’ve never felt such an impact and had my helmet, earplugs, elbow pads, and paddle ripped from me. Earplugs, gone!!! I swam, dazed and confused by why the impact had been so catastrophic, then the river gently placed me in the eddy with all my gear swirling in too.

We wrapped up Norway at the Jostelsbreen Glacier where a finger comes down the Austerdalsbreen valley and turns into a fun class 3/4 river with some burly and dangerous class 5+ gorges. There ended our Norway adventure with three days of sun, summer, and the best three weeks we could have wanted.

Chris Korbulic

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