Ambassador [Exclusive] VOSS, Norway By Patrick Switzer
After the three years in a row at Maryhill FOS it was time for a change. In Norway, the mountainous scenic terrain, lack of night time darkness, one of the world’s largest extreme sports festivals and some hidden surprises called to be discovered.
Jackson Shapiera was the champion of VOSS last year with Louis Pilloni taking consi finals. They made the journey to Norway in 2010 to find some of the most amazing hills yet, in one of the most expensive countries in the world.The longboard race at VOSS Extreme Sports Week is in it’s 6th year running with no signs of slowing down. The location hosts one of the most beautiful race landscapes with four 180 degree hairpins, steep rock walls and a towering waterfall. This year was the largest rider turn out, with 130 standup competitors from around the world. The event also increased from two days to four, with three free-ride days and one timed qualifying round. Organization became better day by day as we were plagued with the worst rain in the area in the past ten years. Adrian Paulsen, the main organizer had a bit of a scare with a heart problem the day before the race, but was released from the hospital before the event began. “The show must go on!”
The first day’s free-ride was cut short due to a fatal car accident on the detour road. Since we found ourselves in a play land of hills we went to try our luck at the one way downhill road better known as “18%” in the rain. What in actual fact made the road most interesting, was that bus tours begin at the top of the road and have deformed the fresh pavement creating deep ruts down to the old pavement. The oil dumped from the buses made riding that extra touch sketchier.
On race day the skies opened and after three days of soaking wet free riding, the course was dry. Actually, no it wasn’t. The tires used instead of hay bails to protect the course were leaking water every time they were crashed into. We had spectators shaking water out of tires and the traffic between rounds drying the course. This is a perfect example of the rough around the edges type of event VOSS is. The organizers even allowed Jackson and I to wear our racer bibs indecently.
The vibe was pumping with beats at the start line and the amount of water on the course changed each run. Jackson and I crashed separately during the semi-finals which set us to battle for consi-finals. Torbjørn Sunde one of Norway’s best riders and a regular at IGSA world cup events took first place. He’s been in the final heat at VOSS for the past four years and this year took the prize. Jackson and I took 5 and 6th respectively. Take that Aussie!
I’m now off touring in the Swiss Alps with some of the best in the world doing something longboarding has not seen yet. Call it a natural progression through the eyes of the riders.
Next stop is the Kozakov IGSA World Cup in Czech Republic, my favourite event of the 2011 Euro series. The Orangatang team of 9 riders will be beginning our own Euro tour and making stops in Munich, Hamburg, Koln, Zurich, Lucerne, Venice and some secret locations to on-site epic mountain passes along the way. Aweh!