Friday, March 21, 2008

God Jul from Sweden!!!

This past Christmas I traveled to Sweden (with no plans to go kayaking) to visit my girlfriend and her family in their home town of Orebro, a charming little city about a two hours drive south of the capital of Stockholm.

The Strompis Wave

I was hanging out at local coffee shop next to Orebro's castle along the banks of the Svartan River, and noticed a nice looking wave. I began to wonder if there were any other kayakers in the town, so that night my lovely girlfriend Idamaria got on the internet, found and contacted a local kayaking club, and made plans for me to go paddling the next day with a borrowed Riot Orbit and gear.

The next morning I found my self gearing up next to a castle about to drop into the freezing-ass cold "Strompis Wave" or "Castle Wave" as my non Swedish speaking self called it. It was definitely the coldest weather and water I've ever paddled in. With an air temperature around negative 6 degrees Celsius and the water not too much warmer, every time I flipped I felt like I was going to puke because the brain freeze was so intense. The locals were all laughing at me and seemed unaffected by the cold, but were highly entertained by this southern boy's reactions to it.

McNastying my way to a brain freeze

The wave it self was really good and gave up cartwheels, blunts, and McNasties on both sides, but was a little shallow for loops. The coolest thing about the wave is that it's dam controlled and the club has a key to the dam to adjust the water flow. I'm told there are plans this spring to improve upon the wave by adding an under water ramp that will allow operators to control the size and shape of the wave, and it will also create another feature behind the current one. They hope to have the feature tweaked out enough to host the Euro National Championships sometime in the next couple of years.

Strompis showing how dynamic it can be

Sweden as a whole is a very charming place with nice people, incredible food, good beer, and some of the best espresso I've ever tasted. I highly recommend to people looking for a kayaking location off the beaten path of Europe. A big thanks goes to Dan Lindberg, a very talented professional photographer and president of the Orebro kayaking club and the rest of the highly dedicated club members for lending me a boat and gear and for showing me their local spot. I look forward to going back in the near future!!!

Urban kayaking: European style

For more information on kayaking in Orebro, visit the Orebro kayaking club's website:

*photos are credit of Dan Lindberg

See ya on the water,

-Charlie Mix

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