"I love kayaking in most of its forms, and that is why I also do canoe slalom along with whitewater kayaking. I have been a part of the Sweet Protection family since 1999 where I got the first prototype helmet!”
- Mariann Sæther
Mariann started whitewater kayaking in 1995 and loved it from the first strokes she took in
the Sjoa river, Norway. Since then she has travelled the world for two decades, running rivers in remote
corners such as Tibet and southern Patagonia, leading first descents on most continents and surfing big
waves in Quebec and Uganda.
"I really look forward to spending lots of time on the rivers of Norway this summer, both
in Voss and in the north – and I will be heading to the Zambezi for the fall, along with competing at the
World Championships Sickline in Austria and World Championships in canoe slalom in France.
I used to do synchronized swimming and baton twirling in a marching band as a youngster!
Sweet Strutter and the Rocker – the combo makes me feel safe and cool every day on the water! I choose the Strutter for the easy going days on the water, and the Rocker when we go in search of more serious whitewater.
To fill my life with as much fun as possible, as often as possible! I also have a drive for continuing a purposeful journey all the way through life. It has always been important to me to continue the search for happiness and purpose in life as I grow older – and I find it rather funny every time somebody asks me when I will stop kayaking, as the answer is obvious: When it is not fun anymore, so that probably means never!
I have spent 25 years on the river so far, and plan on spending at least another 25 years out there. I like to share my journey with others in form of public talks and speeches, or through informal conversations around campfires, where my main message is that the journey changes, but it doesn’t stop just because I get older. Even if I run less and less class 5, I by no means stop challenging myself on the water.
In my twenties I globetrotted with my kayak and pushed the limits on the water non-stop, in my 30s I let other parts of life take up a bit more space, such as education, work and family, and now in my 40s the journey is about sharing the water with my little family, still pushing my own limits on the perfect days, but also refining all the reasons why I started kayaking in the first place: They joy of being outside in pure nature, sharing river journeys with friends, and pushing my limits when it feels like the right thing to do, but also stepping back for whatever reason without regret nor self-criticism.
It is hard to pick one, but in my young years what stands out is the first descent in 2006 of Rio Bravo in southern Patagonia, an epic journey with great friends, involving float planes, maps from 1956 and amazingly great whitewater – we found and established a classic.
In later years we had a high-water trip to Russia´s Altai region, and the Mazhoy gorge at high water on the Chuya river still resonates with me. To take part of, and win the World Championship title at the North Fork Championships in Banks, Idaho in 2019 was also really cool – it is an epic event with an even more epic river section to back up the title.
I would love to be a falcon, hawk or eagle and soar the sky! As it is I once in a while I get my paraglider up in the air, but I am definitely not a master of the air.
There could be a hole behind every wave so paddle accordingly!
I recently read “Mengele Zoo” from Gert Nygårdshaug, and a lot in this book and the rest in the series resonated with me. It made me look up and into our future and ponder some important questions about where we are heading. And no, I did not find answers, but sometimes the most important thing to do is to ask the questions.