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Here comes the end of 2020, and time for a brief look back on the year. Each year is a new start with 4 seasons, a plan, and what arrives beyond will and imagination. 2020 has been quite a surprise year for everyone with covid-19 pandemic, but also some bigger awareness of humane impact on nature. Here is what has been special for me in my kayaking year in Norway.

The season started in April as ice broke free from the local “itsi bitsy mini White Salmon” that is Sona river. Before that I had a proper winter break after the many kayaking travels of 2019. I enjoyed starting 2020 with tons of skiing and fun pool freestyle practices. That was quite a change from previous Norwegian years where ice-and-snow surrounded kayaking was my secret winter favorite activity. Changes are good as they keep me high spirited and enthusiastic with what I do!

2020 in Norway | Whitewater Kayaking

Through the spring we kept up with the local community good traditions of fun adventures exploring some new rivers around. It is not always you find something good to go when you have only one life. But it is always an exciting adventure. As each spring the other major activity was considering if to go on a local well-known river with the massive water amount was or not a good idea. Well it always is until it isn’t anymore, some gain modesty while others must put their nerves together watching unfortunate scary lines unforgiven in monster-big water without being objectively able to help at all. A lesson for everyone. Big water is very fast and an incredibly beautiful universe, the river is not steep or flat anymore it is just bouncing up and down through or around mountain-likes features.

This year for the first time I saw some tiny birds flying together just above huge wave trains down the river, you may paddle the same river a million times and still you will see something new and enchanting. Luckily confinement was light in Norway and kayaking not forbidden. It was also fun to participate in some live yoga and kayaking coaching events that became bigger during the Corona situation. The biggest thing this spring though was that I got pregnant. I don’t think kayaking is bad for a baby not yet born as long as you know what you are doing and respect your body. Sadly many pregnancy don’t end up in a birth and it is often a taboo that has to be met alone, and among the many natural reasons that are above us to understand it would be too easy to put systematic guilt on “irresponsible actions”. If it was as simple as drinking half a glass of wine or going on an easy kayaking or skiing trip to ensure a natural abort it would be no need for strong social fights for women to get legal abort recognized in the law.

Another highlight of the spring was to go down Nidelva river in Trondheim with very keen colleagues without much (or any) whitewater experience. It is always so inspiring to be with new people who are just so happy to be here and discover how it feels to ride down moving water, one of them said “a feeling of mastery”, that made my day. With large floods this spring the dam had to let pass part of the flow, and that gave us one of the highest flow I ever had on the river during that very trip, around 400 m³/s of maybe 6 degrees cold water. Nevertheless, the crew was fearless and the trip a success, they somehow had unlimited trust in their guides and were too busy loving it to have any negative thoughts.

In the summer some friends from abroad could make it into Norway to work as raft guide or simply enjoy the great Norwegian rivers as tourists. All the competitions were canceled which was also a bit special but gathering of good people brought together by the love of the river still happened. The highlight of the summer, on top of meeting good friends from far away on the water and travel to other regions of Norway was to find ourselves a house by the river. Bua canyon is a sweet 1h class 4 run in middle Norway running on spring and autumn rain, and this year we bought a house at – almost- take out, which means there is a 5 km class 3 section and another 5 km class 2 section with cool wave between canyon and sand beach by the house. This year is probably my record low year in terms of days spent on the water, but I definitely paddle most times on Bua and Gaula than ever before, which was a lot of fun. One big day was a 30 km long trip from Bua to Gaulfossen where we could enjoy the beauty of Gaula all the way down, with some “salmon jumping show” as distraction between rapids and good sun to give us some colors by the end of the day.

As the autumn came it was time to make repetitive trips on the easier section below the canyon that was too low, and discover than even on low flows there is a good wave working on Gaula just after the confluence with Bua. This very place was earlier only known from being a death eddy on the high flow of the spring. The first snow came in October but it still isn’t stable now at the end of December, as we had some records warm temperature in December, up to plus 17 degrees Celsius which is totally insane for Norway. So we could watch ice growing and disappearing alternatively on the river, it never gets boring.

I am now looking forward to the New Year around the corner. I am quite happy for the first year ever to have been through this review before new year is here. I hope in 2021 to have more opportunities to paddle with my 2 Norwegian Jackson Kayak teammate Oddbjørn and Valerie, who has already long experience on kayaking with kids. I am also looking forward to competing again. There is first the Trondelagsrunden competition happening on Bua river in early June and I don’t want to miss it. Then will be the world champ in Voss at the end of the same month. I am quite curious how long after birth I will come back to my best shape. With my colleagues in Sweco we also got involved in the design of the first artificial wave in Norway with Wave Box concept by Surfanywhere, and I am exciting to see it built in Syrtveitfossen close to Kristiansand. I am also looking forward to paddle a lot home, hope to get some visits for extra company down that fun run and hopefully the new Antix makes it soon to Europe to also try it home. To see if the little baby will love water and discover a new universe as a family will surely be huge too.

Thanks for reading, and all the best for the year to come.

Here is the video recap of my 2020 year