I was located in a small paradise called Casa Canelo in the magical Pyrenees, above the beautiful river Noguera Pallaresa on which the first EC in Spain was being held. The small village of Rialp was the host of this competition. The R4 category event attracted teams from GBR, NED, SPA and mixed BEL/NED team.
This was my first time at a competition where there were no familiar faces, but all these new faces were smiling throughout the competition, in every discipline, and that is something I’ve never seen before! At all other events – EC, ERC or WRC – teams are serious from the start banner to the finish banner in order to achieve better results. Here results were of secondary importance and the enjoyment of the water and the rafting was of first importance! This competition was, for many, the first experience of its kind.
The little town of Sort, was the place where the Slalom was held, on a course very similar to Solkan (SLO), but superior to it. The day was fantastic until the Slalom start, and then it started to rain. Rain during the slalom in Slovenia, Georgia, Spain…. What’s with the rain and Slalom?! In any case: “The show must go on!”
Slalom Results: 1.Wild Fruits (SPA), 2. Kayak Sort2 (SPA), 3. Rafting CO (SPA).
Praise goes to all of them and their efforts during the race and that amazing smile that they had. I also have to mention the only female team made up with Amaia Fores (captain), Marga Cuestas, Silvia Gallego and Ensi Torremocha, who fought like lionesses throughout the event.
The second day of the event was reserved for Sprint and H2H. We returned to Rialp, the host of this competition. Most competitors are guides and safety kayakers on this river, so that the break between the Sprint and H2H competition was reserved for taking tourists, and then afterwards they jumped back in the boats for the competition. And again these amazing smiles. Unbelievable what enjoyment the competitors had during the competition.
Sprint result: 1.Wild Fruits (SPA), 2. Rafting CO (SPA), 3. Kayak Sort2 (SPA);
H2H result: 1. Rafting CO (SPA), 2. Wilde Fruits (SPA), 3. Kayak Sort (SPA).
During this competition the village of Rialp held a series of events, as well as the local market which had various products and handicrafts of residents of this city. What I liked the most was that one evening all the locals were having dinner together, playing bingo and at the end dancing with music until late at night. So beautifully organised by Rialp.
The last day of the event was reserved for Downriver. Noguera Pallaresa River is beautiful and the most popular rafting destination in Spain. It is also one of the main economic sources for this region.
From the start of the Downriver, after the first rolling waves at the beginning, I knew that the Downriver would be one crazy ride, with more than 3 spots of Class 3/4 and almost all the way is Class 3. “Pall” is very fast with big river drops, technically demanding and the water is crystal clear. Teams followed the safety kayakers and the advice of the safety on the banks due to sections which are technically demanding and with great possibilities of flipping. But because of their experience on the river and since this is a local river for the contestants, we had no problems, and again so many smiles on their faces.
Downriver results: 1.Wild Fruits (SPA), 2. Kayak Sort2 (SPA), 3. Rafting CO (SPA).
Overall results: 1.Wild Fruits (SPA), 2. Rafting CO (SPA), 3. Kayak Sort2 (SPA).
I hope we get to hang out at some other EC competitions, or even at the WRC at the end of the year. As a reward the winners got a beautiful piece of art, I’ve seen a lot of cups in my time, but this one is the most beautiful.
Congratulations to the winners and all participants. You were great!
At the end of the competition we had lunch with the locals of Rialp. Another beautiful moment among others.
EC Noguera Pallarelasa is tucked into the beautiful Pyrenees, the nature is breathtaking, and the river feeds our rafters’ soul for adrenaline. Do not miss the opportunity next year to enjoy this small paradise. Thank you all for your hospitality, especially my hosts Amaia and Xus. See you next year!!! :)