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Kungsbacka River
lördag, augusti 16, 2008, 11:58
Filed under: General Blogging

So, now I’ve completed Kungsbacka River. According to the official website, it’s the largest kayak/canoe contest in Sweden! Not sure if that’s true, but there sure were plenty of contestants!

We participated with two of our inflatable kayaks. My sister and I in one, our parents in the other. We called ourselves ”The Inflatables”, for obvious reasons 😛

The fact that our kayaks are inflatable caused some weird looks even before we’d parked the car. A guy working at the starting location told us where we could park, and then he asked ”are your kayaks already here?” We responded with the truth: ”No, they’re in the back.” At first he thought we were joking.

Well at the starting location, we inflated our ”rides”. People must have thought we were crazy! But then again, others were dressed up as funny characters, and one pair even had a homemade log-canoe, so we were by far not the weirdest ones. The only difference was that we were serious while the others were just joking around.

In the water, ready for start. A horn was blown and everyone went mad. Imagine a large group of canoes and kayaks, and even more people occupying them, all cluttered up in the water under a bridge, fighting for a spot near the front of the starting line. They all knew where to go once they heard the horn, but they all want to get there before everyone else. Madness is an understatement in this scenario.

The racecourse can be divided into several parts. First, there were two smaller lakes you had to cross. After the first lake, there was a ”lift” where you had to carry or pull your chosen means of transportation on wheels for a couple of hundred meters.

Then there was the fun part: Rolfsån. A small river with several rapids, making out a large part of the race as a whole. Unfortunately, you had to walk past the most fun part (the wildest part), but then again, that’s understandable as most canoes would roll over several times if they attempted to pass that area. Our stable kayaks can handle it easily, though.

After the river part you got out to the sea. More wind, less fun stuff. And harder to paddle. Here you had to make your way around a flag placed in the middle of the water, and then go towards the town of Kungsbacka itself. A calmer stream, and on it the finish line!

My sister and I finished second last in our group (K2: kayaks with two people in them). Guess who finished last 😛 But then again, comparing our inflatable kayaks to ”real” ones is unfair. The real ones are a lot faster. Throughout the entire race, we held a speed about the same as the canoes. And if you compare to the group ”C2” (Canoes with two people), we did okay. We finished somewhere in the middle.

On the funny side, besides all the fancy dress-ups and the log-canoe, several canoes tipped over. On the wildest part of Rolfsån still part of the race a very large crowd had gathered. They probably knew from previous years it was a funny spot to be in. As we came to this area, we could see the guys ahead of us had already in over. They were desperately trying to empty their canoe.

We, on the other hand, passed safely in our steady kayaks. The crowd booed at us, having been cheated on the very entertaining sight of two people falling into the water. They soon got their thrill, though, as the canoe right behind us failed to keep their balance.

Our parents also saw one canoe getting stuck up a pillar of a bridge. Apparently the canoe was filled with water, and the current was so strong it was impossible to get the canoe loose. Several people pulled and pushed, but it was unmovable. Eventually, they had to call a fire truck to help drag them loose. Later on we saw their canoe after they finally finished the race and it was quite messed up.

During the race we also had some nice duels. Every now and then you’d end up close to another canoe, and you’d battle to get ahead of one another. Sometimes we succeeded, sometimes we didn’t. In total, excluding the two lifts, we (my sister and I) passed 13 canoes. A lot more got away already from the start, though, and many of those we passed were among the ”unserious” ones dressed up in funny ways.

The most interesting duel, however, started just before we went out to the sea, by the end of Rolfsån. Two guys, maybe ten years older than me, were caught up by us. But they didn’t give in easily! For the entire sea part as well as the final part towards Kungsbacka, we battled closely for the lead. Most of the time, we were a few meters ahead of them. Every time they tried to make a pass, we would speed up getting further ahead of them. Then they’d slowly approach us to make another attempt, and again we’d speed up. This went on for a long time, and it started to wear us out.

Just before the finish line they were still with us. We simply couldn’t get far enough ahead of them! The crowd was cheering on from the top of a bridge, under which the actual finish line was. At this point, the guys in the canoe made a final, very strong attempt. By now, we were very exhausted having repelled their previous attacks. But they failed yet again. Trying to pass us, they accidentally hit our rear, causing our kayak to turn into some reeds. Unfortunately for them, they were caught on the inside, going further into the reeds than we did. That allowed us to get out quicker and make a stand towards the finish line. They finished five seconds after us.

Having crossed the finish line, we were greeted by a number of men from the military who were present both during the start and finish of the race to help out. Their job here was to get people’s canoes/kayaks out of the water while the participants could sit down and rest in the grass. We also got something to eat and drink, and a nice little ”Kungsbacka River” metal plate.

The entire race, for us, took 3 hours, 28 minutes and a few seconds. We finished about an hour and a half after the ones who first crossed the finish line. And still, we had plenty of others behind us.

At three o’clock (the race started at 10), prizes were given to the winners. Especially a few people from England stood out, mainly because of the language differences, but also because their team got two prizes (first and third in one of the groups, if I remember correctly). Prizes were also handed out to those in the best dresses.

A final prize was to be given to the guys in the log-canoe, but even at this time, they had yet to finish the race. Last word heard was that they had managed to get all the way to the sea! Still a bit left, but at least they were past the hard part. Most of us hadn’t believed they would make it, but apparently they did.

I had great fun on this day, and despite the poor time in our group, it was well worth the effort. To sum up this post: I’ll be participating in this race again next year, even if it means a new place at the bottom ranks! Perhaps I’ll see you on the course?

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[…] texter, som den som ville kunde få ta med hem och använda sig av. En av dessa texter handlade om Kungsbacka River, och jag blev genast urlycklig! Den skulle jag ta, för det var ju ett kul ämne som jag känner […]

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[…] på sidan) av “Källa: Jozii”. Inlägg från mina bloggar, helt enkelt. Bland annat om Kungsbacka River och Geocacher i Kungsbacka (Det sistnämnda är förresten inte ett vanligt inlägg, utan en fast […]

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