The first things you think of when you mention Norway is fjords, beautiful nature, a wealth of wild rivers, friendly people and incredible cold. Located on the Scandinavian peninsula, it is one of the most northerly countries in the world where people live. So this northernmost team will be travelling to one of the most southerly inhabited countries of the world. These brave girls will replace a minus with a plus on the beautiful New Zealand rivers.

Norway1Norway’s team in the 2013 World Championship consists of: Ragne Elise Berre, Gry Bystøl, Gunvor Wæhle, Ella-Camila Dahle, Marit Gjelsvik, Anni Eide Nordli and Ine Skjørten Wilson. All have competed several times before in the World Championships going as far back as to Costa Rica in 1991. Since then Norway also competed in the World’s in -93, -95, -03, -05, -07, -09 and 2011.

Norway achieved it’s best result in the World Rafting Championship in Ecuador in 2005, with a 3rd place in the Head 2 Head.

As with many teams, they struggle to fit in their other obligations with rafting, but the biggest problem for them is the distance between competitors.

Norway4We asked Ine Skjørten Wilson about their team.

“The team that is representing Norway in New Zealand in November, is made up of 3 paddlers from Voss paddling club on the west coast, 1 from Sjoa river valley in the middle of the mountains of the country, 1 from Kongsberg paddle club near Oslo and and 2 from Oslo. It is 6 hours drive between where they live, so the team has chosen to focus on a few weekends training together and then those who live close are to train where and when they can. The last few sessions have been completed as the snow started to cover the ground white and the minus degrees made the rivers freeze up. Most of the team don’t run rivers as their full time occupation anymore, but they all stay fit doing a variety of outdoor sports.”

Voss and Sjoa are rivers on all our bucket lists, to you it’s home ground. But since you have had the opportunity to participate in many international competitions is there some river that has left the deepest impression on you?

Norway2“That is such a difficult question to answer, as there are many incredible rivers. I must say, however, it made an everlasting impression on me when for the first time approaching rapid number 5 on the Zambezi in -95 (together with Sue – IRF Secretary who paddled with us on the practice day as we were still one paddler short). It was huge compared to what we were used to. Another amazing place is the Augrabies Gorge on the Orange River in South Africa. The beauty of a deep gorge set in the desert with the brown / gold / yellow / orange colors, temperatures in the +40 degrees and big volume – I will never forget. Oh… and …. Choruh, Turkey… moving camp day by day… protected by the army… amazing… and Costa Rica in -11… on the Upper Pacuare. Gotta love some good rapids!” Yes, World Championships are great at giving you opportunities to keep paddling the most beautiful rivers with the best teams in the world.

Why are the Norwegian men’s teams not as active as you?

“Norway has been represented before by the men, but unfortunately they could not make it this time. They did maybe start a little late to get organised, but you just wait…. next time they come…. because that team has some strong river runners on the team.” I like to hear that. It will be great to watch these guys in action on the river at a future event.

1-DSC_3531Will we see you in Bosnia at the next European Championships?

“Possibly, we have spoken of going there with two ladies teams. There is a strong and keen next generation from the Sjoa valley up and coming. Cheer them on!” And we will. And that’s also great news you have for us.

Is there something in particular you want to experience in New Zealand?

“New Zealand has a lot to offer, and all on the team do different outdoor sports so we are hoping to do some biking, surfing and kayaking. We are there to compete rafting, so that is first priority, but if there is some time we will make an effort to do some others activities as well.” New Zealand can certainly give them everything they want from sports to try.

Are there sponsors you’d like to thank?

We would like to thank Kari Traa and Sweet Protection

So, good news about the development of rafting in Norway and we look forward to seeing a new team at the Euro Champs and international events. This is a team with plenty of experience behind them, who have paddled the most beautiful rivers of the world and climbed on the WRC podium. And now again they travel to New Zealand to represent their country at the WRC on some great rivers. We wish them good strokes and a good time in New Zealand.

Article by Nada