Basic Kayak Instructions

What is most important to know as a new paddler? I haven’t given any kayak classes for a long while and my girlfriend Gabriella is fairly new to kayaking. So it is time to resume my old skills. Today we paddled to Eskilsholmen in the Archipelago west of Göteborg. Previously, we have only paddled short distances, about three times, without any special instructions or exercises. I have just given basic kayak instructions such as forward paddling strokes and reverse paddlings strokes. Gabriella have felt some uncertainty about being able to evacuate from the cockpit and what her reaction will be when she hits the water. I have good experiences to practice wet drills and evacuation from the cockpit early on to increase the development of paddling technique. Early exercises makes the paddler feel secure and increase the confidence.

Gabriella is paddling the Qanik in the harbour of Hinsholmen.

Summer is coming to an end and the boats have decreased in number in the archipelago.

On Eskilsholmen, we had a really good time with good drinks and food. Besides eating and drinking we practiced on basic under water exercises, wet evacuation and basic rescue techniques. Gabriella enjoyed the excercises and was eager to learn more. On the way back home I noticed a big difference in the attitude of pushing the limits in edging the kayak and also the paddling strokes were more powerful and distinct.

Gabriella doesn’t look to unhappy about the kayak drill. 🙂

On the way back was Gabriella’s paddling strokes more powerful.

We have another week off. Hopefully with good weather and some more kayaking.

Long distance paddlers

It is all about kayaking and rowing adventures at the moment. Two days ago I wrote about Fylkir Sævarsson’s record attempt in circumnavigation Denmark. Now I have been told about more ongoing or planned long kayaking adventures or rowing adventures undertaken by experienced paddlers.

Chris Duff, the first person to circumnavigate Great Britain alone in 1986 has just started a rowing trip from Scotland to Iceland via Orkney, Shetland and Faeroe Islands. He has a custom-built row boat called the “Northern Reach”.

Three experienced paddlers, Patrick Winterton, Mick Berwick and Olly Hicks will start a kayak trip from the Shetland Islands to Norway in a couple of days. It will take at least 4 days and three nights to do the crossing. The major concern  is ensuring to stay together during the nights as well as the cold, injury, sea sickness and shipping.

The British kayaking instructor and adventurer Simon Osborne will take part in a rowing  together with Marin Medak and Nikkie Brown, across the Atlantic, Atlantic Row 2012. Simon Osborne is running Sea kayaking Cornwall together with Jeff Allen.  Simon is an experienced kayaker and has circumnavigated both Ireland and England. This will be different and requires a different approach and preperations. Sleep deprivation, salt sores and fatigue must be some concerns for the team.

Paddling instructions

Today the Göteborg Kayak Association had an organized paddle training with Anders Svensson, sprint specialist and member of Swedish national team and Tomas Norrman. About 30 members from our club came to the event. In addition to individual advice, also theoretical instructions were given.

It was a great mix of both exprienced and fairly new paddlers The variety of kayaks was also great. From fold up kayaks to surfskis and racing kayaks.

“How to paddle” instructions were given on land from Tomas and Anders

Janne Bengtsson

Jonas Fors in his Feathercraft

Sara Laine

Patric in a Zedtech Griffin

Anders Svensson in a Zedtech, racing kayak.

Johan Linder has also a Zedtech Griffin

Tomas Norrman has a Zedtech aswell

Ewa Westh in her Clapotis Sea Kayak

Kayak incident

Valöträffen 2011 was really nice but this year, I am most happy that everyone came home alive. During the sunday a kayak incident occurred that could have ended very badly. Thanks to a very good initiative and resolute action, particularly from Jonas Forkander, it all ended well.

Johan reaches the man in right time to save him. About 1 km from Valö.

On Valö there was an older gentleman who we didn’t know that well  has been paddling for many years. He decided to paddle home alone on Sunday morning. The conditions were modest winds, estimated at about 8 m/s, and small waves. He had packed his kayak with the cargo on deck. His start was wobbly and it was with concern that we saw him paddle away. No one intervened or tried to stop him from paddling straight away which afterwards had been the best option. Instead, just after a few minutes, Johan Forkander jumped into his kayak and started to paddle after the man. Just when Johan reached the man,  about 1 km from Valö, the old man capsized. He could not evacuate from the kayak, probably due to stress but somehow he managed to got hold of the bow of Johan’s kayak.

Johan is coming back with some of the cargo that was carried on deck. The weight of this bag was about 10 kg.

Shortly afterwards, Johan got assistance from Jörgen and four other paddlers. Everything ended happily, and we helped the man to re-pack his kayak and he had a rest on land before heading home. After re-packing the kayak was much more stable and everything went much better.

Jörgen heading out to assist Johan in the rescue. Later on Anders, Margareta, Mona and AnnMarie helped them as well. Good job!

We discussed afterwards how the situation could have been avoided. It is difficult to take decisions against the free will of man. Not that many of us really knew the man. He wanted to paddle home and obviously he had managed to paddle to Valö in similar conditions. We got us a real eye-opener.  In retrospect, we should have stopped him and re-packed his kayak straight away.

Valöträffen 2011

The first weekend in July is special for the paddlers in the Göteborg region. That is when the annual kayak gathering at Valö is held. There is no official program, just spontaneous activities such as day trips and technique training. It is a relaxed gathering for paddlers from all over the region. About 55 paddlers came to Valö this year. Valö is located in the south part of the Göteborg Archipelago, about a 2 hour paddling from the west part of Göteborg, where the most paddlers have their kayaks. This year was really nice, as usual, but there was a kayak incident that could have turned the weekend into a disaster. Luckily everything turned out well.

A small light house and my Qanik on the way to Valö

Aase is waiting for other paddlers to show up

I have had a week with heaps of things to do so I didn’t follow my plan with an early start on friday evening. Instead I had a late start Saturday afternoon. With a nice tailwind it was a very pleasant paddling. When I arrived at Valö some kayakers were launching for an afternoon trip. Some others were already out on a day trip so it felt good just to chill out and have a good time. After a couple of hours most paddlers came back from their day and afternoon trips and heaps of friendly faces showed up. During the night a nice smell from the barbecues were mixed with laughter and stories from the latest paddling trips.

It is an excellent option to try different kayaks during these gatherings. Sara is testing an Arrow.

Smiling kayakers keeps the spirit up! 🙂

The sunday became really soft and relaxed as well. The winds were about 8 m/s head wind during the morning and according to the forecast the winds were about to decrease during the day so we decided to have a long soft day before starting the trip back home.

Camilla in her Tahe kayak outside Styrsö

Patric passing the beautiful cliffs of Kössö.

More photos from the Valöträffen 2011

Upcoming kayak events

Kayak orienteering

Kayak orienteering is an annual event and will take place on the 4 June in the archipelago outside Fjällbacka, Grebbestad and Hamburgsund in Sweden. The track will have a length of 20 km. It will consist of three to four orienterring routes, with control markers on land. Route choice between control markers is free and the idea is that participants will be brought to navigation and routing problems. I have been kayaking in Fjällbacka archipelago several times and it is beautiful.

Paddle for the planet

A world wide challenge to unite the paddlers around the world for a one day relay in effort to raise environmental awareness. It’s a great initiative from Dawid Mocke. The magazine Paddling is organizing a paddling event on the 5 june.

Seamasters 2011

Seamasters will take place on the 27 August in Arkösund/Oxelösund, Swedish east coast, Baltic sea and is a 25 km long Ocean race open for Surf ski, Outrigger, Stand Up and Sea kayak paddlers. I’ve never been in the area before, so it might be a trip to the East coast in August. More information will be found at but is not updated but you will find information about last years race. You will find more information at and

More events 2011


The Season – Five lives

Here are some inspiration for sea kayakers. The Season is a new web television project following five athletes through the course of a single season in the Pacific Northwest. One of them is a young sea kayaker, Paul Kuthe, with a troubled past sets out to reinvent his sport. You can download and watch all episodes at the SeasonTV website. Really nice footage.

The Season Episode 8 from Fitz Cahall and Bryan Smith on Vimeo.

Malmö 24 Hour Kayak Challenge

24 hours of paddling. – How far can you paddle in 24 hours? Urban Wedberg finished at first place in The Malmö 24 Hour Kayak Challenge (M24KC). During 24 hours he paddled more than 190 km (118 miles) in the men’s race. Annika Nielsen won the women’s race with more than 120 km (75 miles). The competition was held last weekend in the channels in the city of Malmö, Sweden.

Ewa Westh from Göteborg finished at second place. She took some photos during the competition. Her result was also impressive, 100 km (62 miles).

Sunrise during the competition

Early morning i Malmö

I have heard rumors that some paddlers used dangerous amounts of sugar to keep alert and strong…