New Zealand kayaker Mike Dawson warms up for the Voss Extreme festival on the Myrkdal River in Norway this week. Photo by Ciarán Heurteau/12 Productions www.facebook.com/ciaranheurteau
Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson will take a break from the white water slalom world cup circuit this weekend and dive headlong into some of Norway’s heaviest rapids.
The 27-year-old Tauranga paddler joins a large group of New Zealand paddlers at the Extreme Sport Week in Voss, one of the largest extreme events in the world, competing in head-to-head, downriver and teams competitions.
Dawson won the downriver race the last time he competed, in 2008, and is delighted to be back at a festival he loves.
“It’s been a big month of slalom paddling with some high-pressure races on the world cup circuit,” Dawson said. “The pressure hasn’t dropped much, it’s just shifted – any mistakes up here in Norway won’t cost you a 2sec penalty for missing a gate but they could cost you a long, scary swim and a close encounter with a rock. I’m loving the experience of being back in Norway after six years though and hopefully the huge Kiwi contingent can bring home some results.”
Other Kiwis include Rotorua brothers Jamie and Sam Sutton, Tim Pickering, Brendan Bayly, Cole O’Connor-Stratton and top female paddler Toni George.
Dawson has come off a hectic schedule of world cups, qualifying for the semifinals in London and Slovenia and picking up his best-ever finish at the latter event, finishing ninth in the final.