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Where does it go with the European Scene?

Well, has it ever been a scene? Most of the people mentioned never met, let alone paddled together. To say the truth, they hardly interact. The scene updates are a display of individuals. It is a virtual community hold together by platforms, at its best. But even those are not very active. How come? In an initial post about one year ago we questioned "Packrafting - a European scene?". Has there been any change since? Sure, there is more people packrafting ever. We hope partly by showing examples of trips and what is possible in general.

But still, there is no real community. Why is that?

One reason is language. For a linguistically divers place like Europe, communication in English always is like talking in front of a curtain. You are never sure what is getting through. Somehow it feels unreal.

That is why Silvio just recently announced a new Packrafting Forum in German language, still a potentially large community put Germany together with Austria and parts of Switzerland and Denmark. Yet, there have been complains about spitting up the EU Scene, well, what to split up see above. And besides, such addition (not separation!) can enhance a scene. There is sure a lot of folks who are put off by plain English for good and only consider to participate in there native language respectively feel comfortable in. Silvio will have an official announcement coming soon, in German of course.

Another reason for less group bonding is that packrafters are no "boaters", they are hiker, paddler, climber, biker, skier and all together. Packrafting is mulitsport, la combinaison total. The boat is simply means for travel, not a worship. This shall not be overcome.

The main reason however is lack of local activity. It makes no sense to talk, if you don't share the experience together. So I 'd go even further than Silvio. Have your own local (sub)forum, FB group, mailing list or what ever. Invite kayaker, rafter and canoeists, hikers and friends, and go out.

I have very good experience with my local paddling forums for example. It is very regional (eastern Saxony, Dresden at its core), very small (maybe 10-20 active members, about 40-60 readers), yet it is very functional. You organize trips, share information (current water levels!), make insider jokes. If you are not part of it, this is a boring place to click. I can imagine the same in Southern Finland, Austria, Munich and southern Germany or central Scotland. At least it seems to form some active subgroups already.

Picture taken in Prag from my local paddling buddies

It is a natural process of larger groups to split up. But no worries, we will try to hold Europe together nevertheless. Isn't that what politics battle on a larger scale? ;) As such we continue to display some individuals:

The embedded video by Gerhard from Austria shows his Packrafting classic, the Karwendel round in Austria. I can't imagine a better illustration for a version of "Alpine ski touring in summer":

Chris has been very active this summer in Scotland. It is hard to choose single reports from him. I am better off to reference his whole blog. You will find first attempts (and reflections) on bikerafting as well as boating in very strong wind. All things around his favorite place of Suilvan mountain.

David continues to apply the idea of bigger trips (Coast to Coast this time) at his door step (Taynuilt to Spey Bay) and complements it by a comprehensive report.

Joni is a likewise weekend warrior from Finland, getting wet does not put him off.

Louis-Philippe shares a funny trailer of his Poland Trek, the journey from (Tatra) Summit to (the Baltic) Sea.

Xavier returned from Norway, but felt like home there.

Don went to Sweden's Sarek like Joery two years ago ( he has a fresh report nevertheless) 

Jaakko seems to like the new packrafting toys.

Steve and Katrijn are back and forth within their gap year. They just finished 4 months northern Scandinavia, off they are to the Himalaya. Glad it was time to sum rainy days

Finally, I like to share the lovely picture story from Alexandra. Who said packraft's aren't fun on bigger streams? They went from the Czech border to Hamburg ob the river Elbe. This is over 600km flat water, hiking the big bends. I only had hope, they would have stopped at my doorstep ;) 

Talking about diversification of the group above, is specialization also the way for the product itself?