Short stops in Vesterålen

Im attending the Arctic Sea Kayak Race in Vesterålen, Norway. My friends Patric and Maria took the car and drove nonstop from Göteborg in Sweden to Vesterålen in 24 hours last friday. We are now doing a route called the long ramble with 35 participants. The surroundings are stunning and I really love this place.

We are having a lunch break in Vesterålen

Henrik from Denmark is paddling his Silhouette. The water is crystal clear but not as warm as it looks…

ASKR – bun paddling?

Arctic Sea Kayak Race (ASKR) is held every year at Vesteralen, Norway. It is far up north, above the arctic circle. It is an event for five days ending in a kayak race.  ASKR are approved for the second time as ICF Surfski World Series Event. It takes lot of preparation to join a race like this and I have hardly done anything so I’m planning to missionary our philosophy to the rush paddlers – bun paddling! Dawid Mocke, Sean Rice and Joep van Bakel are among the participants in the race. I hope they will enjoy the buns! We are leaving tomorrow and will stay in Norway for 2 weeks. 🙂

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Buns from Pågen (Gifflar) are perfect for picnic paddling.


View Vesterålen in a larger map

The area of ASKR is held north of the Arctic circle at the islands of Vesterålen. It is just a 24 hour drive from Göteborg.

New tents from Hilleberg

Hilleberg the tentmaker introduces 3 season tents for 2012. Hilleberg has always been uncompromising about their tents to stand all four seasons. Now they introduce two new 3 season models. Both models are really light. Anjan is a tunnel tent and comes in two sizes (for 2 and 3 person), with minimum weights of 1.7 kg and 1.9 kg. The Rogen is a dome model inspired by the Allak and has a minimum weight of 2.0 kg.

They are still very solid. The biggest advantage besides low weight is ventilation. The outer tent stretches nearly, but not completely, to the ground allowing a large volume of air flow in all weathers. This will increase the ventilation. Espcially the Anjan seems great and might be a tent I will consider next year.

(The new Hilleberg Rogen. Used by permisson from Hilleberg)

More about Hilleberg tents:

Read my review of the Allak.

Read my review of the Akto.

Press release from Hilleberg about 3 season tent.

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.

New record in circumnavigation Denmark?

The 44 year old icelandic paddler Fylkir Þorgeir Sævarsson, who lives in Denmark, have started a kayak trip a couple of days ago. Fylkir is attempting to beat the old record in circumnavigation Denmark, in a kayak, which is 1200 km (746 mi) in 23 days. What I think is most remarkable is that Fylkir have not paddled much until last year. He attended a beginner’s course in paddlin 2006 but he didn’t began to paddle more seriously until 2009. In 2009 he paddled 300 km (186 mi) and in 2010 he paddled 2000 km (1242 mi). But he seems to be a good athlete. He has a history as a member of the Icelandic National team in Open Water Swimming and has also done some impressive mountainbike races.

  • Read more about his progress around Denmark here. Unfortunately it is in Danish but translate with Google.
  • Here is a link to google maps were you can follow him on the map. At the moment he has just left Klitmoller.

It will be fun to see if he will beat the record. 🙂

 

 

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

Paddling to Eskilsholmen

Eskilsholmen is a small island, just 30 min paddling. That is a perfect way to spend an evening together with some good friends. This was the first time that Gabriella tried the Qanik. She is not an regular paddler but she enjoyed it. She discovered that the course stability was quite different comepared to the Silhouette. I used my old Silhouette for the first time. That was also nice.

Gabriella in the Qanik for the first time

Good friends at Eskilsholmen, discussing life in general, paddling and having a great time.

Patric in his Zedtech Griffin.

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