Even with a reduced turnout for the eighth annual Arendal Poker Run in Norway last weekend, organizers were pleased to report that the participants who were able to attend the popular event that is organized by the Neptun PowerBoatClub and takes place at Arendal Harbour had a great time and were treated to what was possibly the best weather day in the event’s history.
With 35 boats and close to 200 participants on hand last weekend, the eighth annual Arendal Poker Run in Norway was a success. Photos by Bjørn Øyvind Hoff
As of three weeks ago, promoters of the poker run were expecting a record-breaking fleet with more than 80 registered boats. Unfortunately that number was reduced to a total of 35 boats after the Norwegian government put several restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those restrictions led to several challenges for the organizers as participants were required to keep three feet distance between each other and only a maximum of 200 participants were allowed to attend the event.
As usual, the poker run kicked off with a Friday night gathering where several exotic cars were on display. Along with an excellent local seafood spread, the welcome party included the event’s exclusive ice-cold beer, which is always a hit amongst participants. With well-known brands such as Nor-Tech Hi-Performance Boats, Fountain Powerboats, Predator Performance Boats and more well represented in this year’s run, the Arendal Harbour—located in what’s known as the Pollen area—was packed with spectacular powerboats.
According to one of the run’s organizers, Nicolay Rylander, Saturday morning started with excellent weather similar to Friday. With temperatures close to 30 degrees Celsius (or 86 degrees Fahrenheit), he said many people where asking if they were in Florida or Arendal—referring to their experiences with the usually fantastic weather at the Key West Poker Run in November.
Check out the slideshow above for more images of the boats on hand for this year’s Arendal Poker Run.
Thanks to the terrific weather, the scene was set for a fantastic day on the water as the boats left the marina in a convoy out the Tromoy fjord toward the stunning Lyngor Island. With relatively flat water, the boats enjoyed some real speed on the water at full throttle for most of the day.
Because of the government restrictions, at the lunch stop, the Neptun PowerBoatClub arranged for food deliveries to the docks in contrast to the fantastic lounge area that was set up for the 2019 event. And even though people were in a great mood, a Norwegian artist showed up in a 1959 Chevelle with a guitar in hand and kicked the party up a notch.
The boating wrapped up with a convoy to what is arguably the most pleasant place in Arendal—the Nidelva river. Amongst the 35 boats on hand, a brand-new Predator 337R (right) was delivered to the owner just in time for the Arendal Poker Run. The Predator brand, which is made in Arendal, is in full production with five boats soon to be delivered to customers both in Europe and the United States.
Back at the docks in the Pollen area, the warm weather kept the boaters partying in their boats for a few hours. The day ended with dinner and the poker card distribution.
One of the coolest things about the Arendal Poker Run is that organizers award the top three hands along with the worst poker hand. Per event rules, the “winner” of the worst hand must donate the money to a nonprofit organization. This year, both the best and worst hand winners donated their prize money to the rescue service in Arendal—the Redningsselskapet.
“Luckily for me I was riding in a Goldfish M12 that had a sunroof/sunscreen, which was unquestionably essential to survive the warm sunrays,” said Rylander, who added that the Goldfish (right), which is owned by Abe Abrahamsen, who also has a 52-foot MTI he keeps in Miami, is the only boat certified for a helicopter drop. “With the party continuing well into the next morning, I think many people had a rough Sunday morning. But that’s just how a great weekend should end, right?
“We now look forward to the next event next year, more specifically June 25-27, and we anticipate a record-attending fleet with more than 80 boats,” he continued. “We are hopeful to have Stu Jones, the president of the Florida Powerboat Club, and Jason Johnson from speedonthewater.com with us. And for any American powerboaters who are thinking of shipping a boat from the U.S. to Norway to attend, be quick to register, the spots sell out quickly.”
Editor’s note: If you’re interested in attending the 2021 event, contact Nicolay Rylander via Facebook for registration information and/or help with shipping a boat.