Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Big Wave Surfing in Norway

Normally if you think about Norway things like big time creeking, waterfalls, slides, drops, big volume rapids you name it come to your mind. Although it was always nice to have the playboat with you for a sweet session on Skjak or on the numerous small waves on the playrun on the Sjoa. But this year on my short Norway trip (I´m trying to make a short wrap up about that next week) I was really surprised when I was told that there might be a huge wave upstream of the Skjak wave on the Otta. Fore sure we had to check it out. So you drive two bridges upstream from Skjak and just before the bridge you turn right into a smaller road. There you park between 100-200m on the left. From there you walk to the river and maybe a little more upstream and you should see it, the mighty Big-Push wave in the Skamsar rapid.
When does it run? It runs when Skjak is too high and washed out.
It´s Charakter: big, trashy, bouncy and fast. Easier on surfers right shoulder. Avoid getting trashed in the middle foam pile!
To cut a long story short, here the pictures:


Enter the wave on the fly from upstream. Paddle quite hard to the middle as the diagonal of the wave above pushes you way to the left and you´ll miss the wave. Best is to hit the foam pile near to the middle.

And the hole in the middle is big!

Ready for take-off:
If you go high you go deep:

If you are lucky you convert the landing into a nice backsurf:

If not, the trashing migh start:

I´m in there really. Actually there were 3 more pics like that where there is no sign of me. But I even got it back in control after several loops and cartwheels under water got back into a frontsurf, showed the victory-sign to the friends on shore, enjoyed the surf for a while and suddenly got swollowed by the wave again. So far so good until I suddenly saw my beachball (my overthruster) surfing in the pile next to me and it suddenly became quite wet. What happened? Well the ball prevented an implosion of the spraydeck but when I was totally swallowed the pressure on the whole boat was apparently so big that the spraydeck exploded and I had to take my first swim since 1999. Let´s see if I can beat the 8 years again ;-)
Anyway, it wasn´t pleasant but I rather swim while playboating than on a creek and it makes you humble as you realize how powerful the water is when you are swimming. A thought not too bad for keeping in mind. (I´ll try to put up a small video clip on the blog about this episode in the next weeks)

Real friends, having a laugh on the shore while you are swimming ;-)
Just kidding, this picture is not in order. They did a great job and big thanks again for the rescue of my boat and the beachball!

After that we decided to make a break, eat something, chill out and get warm again to get ready for the second session. Luckily no other swim in the second session, just huge adrenalin rushs and smiles all over the faces.

all pictures by Ralph Rhein

No comments: