On the sunny side of the Alps
I’ve taken quite some time to write a blog post but ending my Indonesian trip wasn’t much of an encouragement. I still haven’t written much about the highlights of that trip, such as the Tambra creek experience but I promise to publish some of the best pictures on this website soon. My way back from Indonesia was an experience of its own though. Travelling on your own with kayaking equipment has some disadvantages like being extremely immobile, clumsy, and not being able to go to the bathroom without worrying something might go missing wile you take a pee. Thankfully I didn’t have to bring a boat with me as well. But being alone and over packed meant I was a funny figure, bound to meet more people than usually. Talking to various people I met on the airplanes, airports, train and in between made my really long travel home a very pleasant memory. From a talkative Indonesian student/professor in Kuala Lumpur, to freaky Canadian emirates pilot at a party in Munich and a German skier on a Train to Ljubljana – I guess people that are most open are also most interesting and friendliest at the same time.
I’m writing this blog on a way to Val d’ Aosta and Val Sesia, a first descent creeking trip since I came from Indonesia. We only did a weekend in Lienz a few weeks back. A cazy Virgen ride and a pressing high water Taurenbach were the highlights of this spring so far. Of course superiority of our homerun Soča cataract goes without saying. But this is a ride we can do every weekend and even though it is impossible to get bored of Soča, it is simply nice to go further away from time to time.
Soča finally started to rise at the end of May. In comparison to past years when we had a lot of water in the early spring we were forced to do some bony rides at the beginning of May. We only had a week or so of high water in April after a rainy weekend. As I had heard, not much snow affected water levels all over the Alps this year.
Sitting in a playboat isn’t what I practice often but I decided to go to Freestyle World Championships in Plattling this year to encourage our national federation to start investing into these disciplines and youth that wants to kayak anything else than slalom and flatwater racing. Me and a bunch of other Slovenians that also almost never playboat thus went to start the Graz freestyle competition, which counted as our selection race. Going into a hole first time this year only one night before didn’t help me and the others at all so needless to say, all the Slovenians were really bad. But at least there was a great after party. Yep, we are going to have to train a bit if we don’t want to make complete fools of ourselves in Plattling.
I’ve noticed that European competitive playboaters became a breed of their own. They travel from small hole to a smaller one just to train and many of them seem to hardly ever run rivers. That is something I cannot really understand. But respect to those guys as they became so good now that it is simply a joy to watch them at any playspot, each one with his/her unique style and charm to win the audience. Bartozs, Jan, Martin, Seppi, Nina and many others seem like they can force areal moves out of any playspot.
I’m not quite sure if I’m looking forward to Plattling but I’m sure that Tacen Extreme competition a week after will be a blast as it always was. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some extra juice out of the hydro plant so both freestyle and kayak cross competitions can take off as they need to. But in any case the big air will be higher as a year before, a kayak test centre will be bigger and of course concert and an after party will be greater. You can check the competition website at http://www.tacenextreme.com/.
My plans are getting bigger and better for the summer and on, so I hope I’ll manage to raise a big enough fond till then. I am going back to teaching kayak after spending two years at a Duem office so if anyone needs or has a friend who needs a kayak teacher in Slovenia, just send me an e-mail. I’m sure we can make a plan that will suite your personal needs best. All skill levels are appreciated.