The sun shone, the paddlers came, races were won, fun was had and happy times were made.
This past weekend in Campertogno, northern Italy was Gene17′s second Valsesia River Festival. With over 100 paddlers registered at the festival and more than 60 racing, there was a lot of paddlers enjoying the festival, that had an on and off the water programme for all to enjoy. There were great levels too, and the Sesia, our racing track was at a great level for race day.
Jakub Sedivy, along with Spyros Barbaresos & Dave Carroll, lead a full programme of technique clinics throughout the festival, on the famed Valsesia runs like the Egua and Sermenza. These runs are the main stay of Gene17′s Steep Creeking trips, so there guys were at home delivering day clinics as part of the festival. Paddlers from as far as Holland, Russia, Czech, Ireland and the UK, added to the mix, bringing a lot of fun on the river, with some great added value, fine boof’s and cylinder action too. These clinics offered also at the Sjoa River Festival, the River’s Source Gathering, as well as the Valsesia River Festival, give a great snap shot of what Gene17 does when not running festivals.
On the Saturday, we held the Sesia Alpin Sprint, on the upper section of Sesia down to Mollia. In the morning it was a Team Race, and the afternoon Individuals. The race is run over almost 3km of Class III/IV boulder garden rapids. The Team Race often has a party atmosphere, as great boofs, clean lines and minor mistakes shared with friends, is always fun. We even had some scratch teams, of international flavour that seam to have some of the biggest smiles at the finish. The Individual Race in the afternoon, brought faster times, with the more focused charging for some sub-11 minutes times.
Qualifications for the Sweet Rumble BoaterX were from the Sesia Alpin Sprint Individual race. With the battle set for Campertogno on Saturday evening. Th start ramp built by Exo, proved a great platform to begin the race, equalling out any advantage from an eddy start. The course 200m long also had the addition of a gate in an eddy, which paddlers needed to pass on the left, either from up or down stream. This extra task, proved the undoing of many paddlers including Michele Ramazza, Sesia Alpin Sprint winner in an early heat of the BoaterX. Also in the mens final, Filipo Brunetti, went from zero to hero, heading into the gate last, sweeping passed the others who were caught up with each other, to finish first and take the Sweet Rumble belt.
Dave Carroll lead the Palm Throwbag Olympics, that proved to be a rather popular evening challenge. Some 40+ paddlers lined up for the rescue throw bag assault course, for all paddlers to have a chance of winning one of Palm’s top of the line white water PFDs. Needless to say, it was comical to witness misfired throws from the masses, whilst the more focused or perhaps practised raced ahead to complete the short course in under 5 minutes. Over several evenings of near chaotic scenes, 2 lucky or is that skilful rescue rangers won the new Amp Vest in Green and Luna Vest in Saffron from Palm Equipment. Palm will be running this again at the Sjoa River Festival next month in Norway.
And of course, Ies Fokiwa got the party started, hitting the rock’n'roll sounds, along with DJ sets from Wokka Wokkie and Paul ‘Cheesy’ Robertson. Dancing from all four corners of Europe and beyond was on show, and much merriment was had. In fact so much so, both on and off the water, we’ll do it all again in 2013, 22/26th May, in Valsesia at Campertogno of course.
Lastly, a HUGE thank you to il Gatto e la Volpe for hosting us, Gravita’ Zero & Pyranha Kayaks for supporting the Sesia Alpin Sprint, Palm Equipment for hosting their Throwwbag Olympics & finally Sweet Protection for their great BoaterX, the Sweet Rumble.
See you there next year