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