My year kicked off with a first female decent of a rarely run waterfall in my home country, the Rhaeadr Mawdach in Wales UK. The Mawddach is such a fun river to paddle and can get quite full on in high flows. There is one usual portage half way down, an 80ft double drop with a tricky lead in. This time the flows looked perfect and the line achievable so myself and friends David Bain and Bren Orton decided to run the drop. There is an old mine shaft near the bottom of the drop and I’ve been told stories from back in the day when pieces of plywood were used to cover the mine shaft before the drop was paddled- nowadays I assume its been filled in naturally with rocks and the sorts as its no longer an issue!
Winter was long, cold and particularly dry in the UK, so we never made it out onto the rivers more than a handful of times. I made a quick trip to the Alps for a week of snowboarding to break up the winter blues and when Easter came we decided to load up the van and have an impromptu trip to Corsica. I didn’t really know a lot about the country but my friend had told me it was beautiful, so even if we didn’t get the water levels we would have a pretty country to explore and better weather than in the UK! Arriving in Corsica it was soon apparent that we had caught the best water levels the country had seen for the past few years! We got the pick of every river on the island. We started off with a high water Travo run, which was incredible- a quality run and probably my favorite of the trip. After 2 weeks of good paddling in Corsica it was time to head back home, back to work and get ready for the next trip.
At the start of the summer we headed out to Italy to meet up with friends who were there for the Gene 17 River Festival. On arriving in Italy it had been raining super heavy and a lot of the rivers were pretty high and brown! We got some decent runs in including Landwasser drop, middle and lower Sermenza, Egua, Mastallone and Cervo. Levels dropped off by the end of the week in time for the Gene 17 Alpine Sprint and Sweet Rumble. I took the win in the women’s ‘sprint’ event which took over 13 mins to complete! And a furious battle off the start ramp left me second in the sweet rumble!
Next on the list was Norway- Somewhere i’ve wanted to visit for many years, so we packed the van full with as much food and booze as we could and hit the road! After a few days driving we landed on Norwegian shores and headed straight for Voss. Norway is such a beautiful country and the rivers are incredible, every river we passed had whitewater and every river we paddled had amazing rapids and pushed the boundaries of what i’ve paddled in the past with epic slides and drops! We stayed in Voss for the Extreme Week and a few days after, catching the famous Double Drop waterfall at perfect flows before we packed up and headed north for the Valldall region and then onto Sjoa. We paddled the classics along the way and camped at some of the most stunning camp spots in the world! We had to miss the Sjoa fest this year so we could make it back to the UK in time to see my best mates get married.
I spent most the summer training in Nottingham on the Whitewater course, preparing for the Adidas Sickline champs and at the end of September we got back on the road and headed to the Oetzal valley once again for this years event. The rain really had arrived this year and the level was much higher than any of the previous years we had been there- which was great for spectating as there were some intense beatdowns and some reluctant swims from Champions Killer -1! Myself was victim to such a beating in practice which left me with a shoulder injury and subsequently off the water leading up to the event. Unfortunately I couldn’t race to the standard i had hoped and was knocked out of the competition straight off. However the trip wasn’t all wasted as seeing my boy Joe take the win was awesome and made for a sweet party after!
Im back in the UK now, working on getting my shoulder re-habilitated and getting back in my Raptor before I fly to New Zealand for the winter next week.