The Sjoa River Festival is a grassroots event with a laid back feel. In contrast to Ekstremsportveko in Voss, it is more about camping out by the river and paddling with your friends than going crazy dancing on barrels and finding the biggest drops to fire up.
This year super high water levels made for some fun surfing and mass runs down the various sections of the Sjoa river. The camp ground is located at the take out to the Åsengjuvet section on the Sjoa (big water grade 3). This is also the put in for the rafting section which merges into the playrun (grade 3) at Harlaug Bru. If you want to be pushed around a bit more then you can drive fifteen minutes down to the put in for the Åmot section (grade 4+ depending on flow) and run some laps.
The festival is really good value with an entry fee of 500 NOK which covers camping for the week (with showers and toilets), food is included on two nights (on Thursday night there is the most amazing BBQ provided by Strie Strommer(the local kayak shop) where they roast an entire sheep (and the salads and sides are delicious too). There is also the infamous Pimp 'n Ho party on Wednesday night and a live band playing on Saturday night.
There are also awesome prizes! Cash prizes for the winners of the Ula race and the Sweet Rumble and also lots of cool gear prizes from Strie Strommer for the other races. The races include a raft race on Wednesday, a team race on Thursday, The Ula Extreme Race on Friday, and the Sweet Rumble and Palm Throwbag Olympics on Saturday. Also if you didn't managed to win a prize in the races there is a Sweet Scramble at the end where they throw Sweet gear into the crowd and you try to catch something.
Winners of the 2015 Palm Throwbag Olympics Kamilla Sporsheim and Jordie Dorfliger
The Palm Throwbag Olympics is a fun competition to test your throw bag skills and to encourage people to get out their throw bags and actually practice using them. This year the race started with a long throw over a line followed by a series of targets – inside the cockpit of the kayak, hit a life jacket hanging from a sign, deploy the bag over a standing person's arms, then recoil and throw the recoil over the person's arm, repack and hand the bag to Jake first to win.
So in conclusion, if you want to go to an awesome river festival in Norway where there are lots of cool people to hang out with, lots of good rivers to paddle, and cool prizes up for grabs, and you don't want to spend an arm and a leg on entry fees, Sjoa River Festival is the festival for you.
About the author
About the author
Hopping back and forth between Rotorua (New Zealand) and Voss (Norway) is Toni’s way of following the summer and the water to where the boating is best. After graduating with a degree in Biological Science, she boarded a plane, then a kayak, and found that nothing else is quite as good as being on the river.