In memory of Knut Syrstad

Knut and I having a laugh in San Fran

Knut Syrstad was one of the most amazing men I have ever had the privilege of meeting. Knut has a twin brother Trond, together they ran, and Trond still does a fishing school in Norway. These men were born to cast and fish two handed rods. Their physical stature is what I pictured the famous Vikings of old lore to look like. Tall men with propitiate mass, very impressive specimens indeed.

I first met Knut in 2009 in San Francisco at the world famous SOR (Spey-O-Rama). Even then he had already been diagnosed with testicular cancer. That first year you would not have noticed it. The Viking launching cast after cast into the far pond was impressive even then. He was quiet and had a very soft demeanor. Nice and kind he seemed to be more focused than almost all the other caster. Not knowing at the time that his mind may have been other places. In the finals he seemed to let his nerves get to him, now being there and not even close to the caster at that time I just stood in amazement of all the casters. Knut and Gordon, Andrew, Gerard, Rauri, these boys seemed un-touchable compared to anything I had ever seen.

Water at his knees is at my waist, and such power!!!

Knut stayed steady and quiet. That year was a learning experience for me but even the vets folded under the pressure, Knut ended up 5th. Only after the fact did I finally understand the medical situation that Knut was going through. Year in and year out, he kept casting. I crawled through the Internet looking for scores and info from the other Spey comps in the world. Knut’s name kept coming up always right there in the hunt. This big Viking was relentless in his pursuit of the perfect cast and a championship finish.

The 5 years now of competitive Spey casting have gone by in the blink of an eye for me. I can say that I remember more about the people and the situations than that of any particular casts. Knut’s was a very funny guy light hearted. I can remember cracking jokes with him on the cat walk between the ponds at the Golden Gate Ponds. I can remember him giving me small bits of confidence when I really did not know what direction to go.

Knut’s inspiration goes much further than that. I believe that Spey casting kept him alive over the past couple years, his love of two-handed casting. Never being able to have the chance to cast at 100%, or even 75% he was still able to compete with the best casters in the world. Knuts was able to rise to the challenges at hand, even under the pressure of having brain cancer. If I or any other caster or person I know had the determination or fortitude, we would never fail. I can say I saw him as a winner for being there, let alone stepping to the plate and making casts in his condition.

The fun side of a miraculous human being.

I hardly slept the night I found out about his death. We have lost more than part of our casting or fishing community; we have lost a hero and an inspiration. I write this with the utmost respect and, am humbled by one of the greatest men I have ever met, Knut Syrstad.