2021 European Packrafting Meet-up
Hard to believe that this is already the 4th Annual European Packrafting Meet-up! We are so grateful that this year we could head back to beautiful Soca River and that the borders opened in time for the Meet-up!
We started the event with an arrival day on Tuesday and also Whitewater Rescue courses. The weather was fantastic pretty much all the way through the roundup and the flows were high too, what better conditions could we ask for :-)
On Wednesday, Pro Kayaker, Red Bull Athlete (and part time packrafter ;-) Nouria Newman came for a quick visit to test the new Alpacka Valkyrie. It was pretty amazing to watch her paddling. Be sure to look out for the short videos to be released soon of Nouria packrafting the new Alpacka Valkyrie!
The European Packrafting Meetup has always focused on 2 main elements: Safety & River Conservation. This year is was great to really see #CultureOfSafety on and off the river. It is rewarding to see the progress of many packrafters over time and the use of proven safety and communication techniques on the river. It was also perfect timing with the launch of Luc Mehls new book, "The Packrafting Handbook".
The main workshops concentrated on Thursday and Friday, and ranged from repair workshops, training the use of throwbags, self rescue and team rescue techniques to basic and advanced whitewater swimming.
With Covid making travel still a bit more complicated than usual, we were less people at the Meet-up this year, making it a very familiar event. It was actually really nice to get a chance to talk to everybody and spend time with old and new friends!
Remi, who has been almost on all Meet-ups even decided to celebrate his 50th birthday with us!
On Friday and Saturday, people formed groups to paddle different sections of the Soca. Depending on skill level and flows, Soca and Koritnica have good sections for everybody :-)
Less people made it also easier to do more walking and less shuttling and it was a pleasure to enjoy the nice trails along the rivers right from the campground!
One day, both Remi with his family and us with our family went for an easy kids paddle! It is great to see the next generation of paddlers enjoying the stoke.
Thanks to all participants for a great time and of course for the donations to river protection projects! It is always a surprise to see just how much money this event raises to help protect the rivers we all love. The event is 100% volunteer run and all monies raised go directly to the "Save the Blue Heart of Europe" Campaign and "Balkan River Defence". These Non-Profits are fighting hard to protect what little wild and freeflowing rivers remain in Europe. We are extremely gratefull for the work they do and are humbled by the support from the packrafting community. A huge thanks to everyone for supporting the protection of our rivers!
Thanks also to all of the volunteers for sharing their knowledge in workshops on and off the river and for helping to set up and take down infrastructure. You know who you are and we truly appreciate all your work to help make this event happen.
Thanks as well to the Packraft Explorers Tom & Laura for helping with the organisation and the great photos!
If you have missed this meet-up or want to go paddling together soon again, here are a few events you might be interested in:
- The Durance Festival in France (July 30 - Aug 1).
- We are preparing another come together at the Austrian Isel river during the Take it Isel Kayak & Packraft Festival from August 25-29! Stay tuned and maybe see you soon again!
- Packraft Summit of the Packraft Explorers on Saalach river (October 14-17)
Happy paddling in the meanwhile and looking forward seeing you on the river soon again!
Seon & Michaela Crockford-Laserer
Founders Packraft Europe
Here some more photos!
Nice photos take some work, thanks to Laura from the Packraft Explorers :-)