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‘The Flow State is being so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter: Every action, movement and thought flows inevitably from the previous one. Your whole being is involved, you're using your skills to the utmost and the result is a feeling of spontaneous joy.’ - Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Live2Flow is the concept of a man trapped in an unfulfilling career who decided to pursue a life of Flow.  This blog is documents the activities of a man who swapped a desk for the great outdoors, dedicating himself to better his personal performance in his chosen sports and to pursue his passion of coaching and training others; the objective is to literally Live2Flow.  This is not a selfish obsession, Live2Flow aims to take these experiences to others and through passionate coaching and guiding help them experience Flow for themselves.

The Emerald River - Whitewater Paddling in Slovenia

Some great grade 3 on the run down to Trnovo 1
Some great grade 3 on the run down to Trnovo 1 The second half of the upper gorge A view down the grade 4 on the slalom site Looking down on the slalom site from the bridge above the start

Live2Flow ran its first paddling trip to Slovenia this year and the only question remaining at the end of a great week was why on earth hadn’t I been here before and when can I come back…

Slovenia is not a new destination for paddlers but it remains pretty much unspoilt.  The country extends a warm, friendly welcome to tourists and along with the stunning scenery and crystal clear waters comes, surprisingly, superb infrastructure; campsites are well placed, trails and paths are properly waymarked and mapped and river access and egress points are mostly signed from the road, many of which have toilet facilities.

All of this comes at a small price.  Once you have made the fairly epic journey out there (if driving – 13hrs from Dunkirk) living costs are cheap and although there is a small river license fee to pay, there are no parking charges anywhere.  It is rare to find yourself truly welcomed by all as a paddler but this is one of those places.

All the whitewater is predominantly on one river, but what a river it is!  Beautiful clear emerald water flows in the Soca, which runs through most of the summer.  In my first couple of days on the water I produced this short video which should give you a feel for the place.  The footage is taken from runs of Boka to Trnovo 2 and Zmuklica to Cezsoca (see below to make sense of this!) on grade 2/3+ sections.

However, there is no guidebook for this river and I found detailed information on paddling in the area quite hard to come by and somewhat inconsistent.  For this reason I resolved to produce this blog to provide some guidance for any paddler thinking about heading to Slovenia and wondering what to expect.

Clearly rivers change and flow levels adjust the character of sections so this cannot be definitive and should only serve as a rough guide of what to expect.  However, we were there in late May with water levels that were described as 'upper medium’ (the gauge at Kobarid was at 60) and a description of what we found is below.  All place names are consistent with the river map handed out by the tourist information centers in the area, and found online here.


Bunkerji to Krsovec - Starts at a red suspension bridge with a fairly technical continuous Gd 3-3+ section leading into a more mellow G2 with a couple of less technical, shorter Gd 3 rapids.  Get out river right after the road bridge if you want to exit here, carry on to a rocky beach on river left to portage/inspect the gorge.

Krsovec to Zmuklica (The Upper Gorge) – A sweet little scenic gorge, not particularly technical but fairly committing with confused water; a swim anywhere in the gorge is a swim to the end of the gorge.  At the levels we experienced the entrance rapid pushed you onto the gorge wall on river left and the chicane 2/3 of the way down required a bit of boat control - here is another short edit showing this section.

Zmuklica to Sotocja – Follow the steep path down to get in just after the gorge.  A friendly, scenic section of river that is mostly G2+ and never gets above G3.  A good intro to the Soca and I found Zmuklica to Cezsoca as an ideal first paddle in the area and good coaching run.

Sotocja to Cezsoca – Unless you are staying at the campsite I see no reason why you would get out at Sotocja rather than continue to Cezsoca, but included as a separate section for completeness.  The river widens after the confluence with the Koritnica but remains at or below G3 and includes a few nice rapids and play waves.  Get out river left under the road bridge

Cezsoca to Boka – This section never gets above G2 but one of its most difficult rapids comes shortly after the put in so if you have some beginners in the group be on guard!  Very scenic run for those new to whitewater or simply prefer to take things easy.  Get out river right on the beach before the large road bridge.

Boka to Srpenica 1 – Very similar to the above.  Get out on a large beach river right, worth scouting if you do not want to continue onto the next section.

Srpenica 1 to Srpenica 2 – The Soca is now a very different river to the upper sections; it is wider, deeper and more powerful.  As a section itself this is a great G3 introduction to the increased power and speed and could be used as a follow on to the previous section as an alternative first day on the Soca.  Equally, it is a good warm up for the following 2 sections.  The Srpenica 2 take out is river right in a big eddy formed as the river takes a sharp left turn and heads over a horizon line.  Scout the get out if you don’t want to head into the next section.

Srpenica 2 to Trnovo 1 – I would recommend that this section be completed as a follow on from the previous; it is a long carry down to the water at Srpenica 2 and the last section is a great warm up.  Either way, the river moves up a gear heading over the horizon line mentioned above; the gradient increases and there are G4 rapids.  It is not continuous G4 but rarely drops below G3 and is a therefore an engaging and fun section.  As you approach the footbridge marking the start of the slalom course there is a beach river right to get out and inspect/egress.

Trnovo 1 to Trnovo 2 (Slalom Site) – An excellent challenging, continuous G4 alpine river section.  Powerful and fast, it contains multiple line choices and is a joy to run when you are on your game.  However, if in doubt make sure you have safety cover to prevent an accident spilling over into the G5/6 section directly below this (section not mentioned here as rarely paddled).  Considering there is a warning about the upcoming G5/6 gorge at the top of the slalom site you would be forgiven for expecting an obvious get out and further warning before the gorge but it isn’t clear and is worth inspecting the narrow cobbled ramp that constitutes the egress.

Otona to Napoleonov Most – In my opinion, the section most misrepresented by the existing river information.  At the levels we encountered in late May this was a fairly continuous G4 section, rarely dropping below G3 until the final 500m or so.  At 60 on the gauge in Kobarid this is high quality G4, powerful whitewater with drops, boulder gardens and a gorged in feel throughout and a great section (if you are expecting this!!!).  I have heard it becomes easier in lower water but be careful not to underestimate it.  Bear in mind it is a long steep walk down to the get in.  There are various take-outs for the Kobarid campsites but the main egress is below the final gorge and road bridge on a rocky beach on river left.


Kluze to Sotocja – A real gem!  Possibly the most scenic run in the area, this section has a bit of everything; a very narrow mini gorge, fun winding G3 rapids, fabulous alpine scenery, a wider more technical lower gorge and finishes with the most technical rapid just above the Sotocja.  Has a long steep walk down to the get in and after putting in so much effort I would always recommend continuing down the Soca to Cezsoca unless you are camping by the Sotocja egress.

Most river runners will want to group the sections together to create a more substantial paddle.  For example, we did sections such as Bunkerji to Cezsoca, Boka to Srpenica 2 and Srpenica 1 to Trnovo 2, each taking 2-4 hours depending on the ability of the group and how many incidents there were to deal with!  Repeating sections is no hardship and sections can change radically with varying water levels, so most people will find there is plenty of whitewater to fill your days, enough for at least a week of excellent boating.

Live2Flow will almost certainly be going back to Slovenia next year and running a couple of whitewater holidays in late May, keep an eye on Facebook and the website if you are interested.

If you have any comments or an opinion to add please use the comments section below.
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Created on 15-Jun-2014 at 14:11