Surfski Adventures in Sweden

on Oct 23 in Downwind, Stew O'Regan, Sweden, Think, Uncategorized, Uno Max by

Sweden 640 x 360 2

 

Sweden. The country of long summer days, early closing winter nights, Volvos, Ikea, meat balls, snow, ice, filmjölk milk, archipelago and water, lots of the stuff. And what better way to spend your time in Sweden then surfski paddling?

Those who know me know I love Sweden, and it’s always a pleasure to get back there. In late July I landed for a few weeks and headed to the west coast, around Smorgen. In previous visits I had sailed and boated around the archipelago surrounding Stockholm, and enjoyed some K1 paddling in the various lakes and canals surrounding the city. A morning paddle on the absolute flat water in Stockholm is one of the best things a paddling frother can do. It’s just beautiful. I had heard great things about the west coast, so I was really keen to get over there and see how it was.

Arriving, the first thing you notice is how few trees are along the coast line. In fact, the area has quite a barren feel to it, being exposed to the North Sea. Think Kayak has seen some terrific expansion in Europe recently, and I was fortunate enough to link up with James Vennimore from Kajaktiv, who was kind enough to give me an Uno Max for my stay. It’s pretty awesome to see the sport being adopted so well in Scandinavia, and surfski paddling is getting a big following in the region.

My first paddle was a short 10km to get me back into the grove after a few weeks off since the Canadian Surfski Championships. It was a nice paddle, but I noticed that I had to be really aware of where I was going, or finding my way home could be a problem. The whole area is dotted with tiny islands which you weave in and out of, and without a good landmark, getting back to the car could prove a challenge.

 

Sweden Overhead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I had worked out the logistics of staying safe on the water, it was time to do some training/exploring. Paddling off different beaches or pontoons each day made this an adventure. Every single paddle was totally different. The small islands split up the long straights, also make paddling out into the wind, and the ocean, quite an easy task, ducking and weaving behind islands for shelter, before turning and enjoying some runs back. While lots of the islands are quite big, some smaller ones sit there like large fat whales, so you need to be watching for those or risk a crash. If you don’t hit some rock, there are always some boats with Norwegian or Swedish flags in the area to keep you on your toes, and give you some wake to surf. The big thing I noticed was that if you paddle in one direction, don’t expect to turn around and paddle straight back in familiar water. It all looks totally different when you turn! Lucky enough the environmentally conscious Swedes have several wind turbines in the area, which are ideal for working out the route back to base.

I have to say, paddling on the west coast was a blast. I was fortunate enough to get a few days with enough wind to create some great surfing runs. I can’t wait to do it again. Hopefully I can run it in with a race in the area and meet up with some other surfski paddlers and see how the buzz for the sport is going for them. In terms of clothing, the weather during Summer in Sweden is normally so good that shorts and a thermal are usually enough. I’ve been told that paddling in Winter is a totally different story indeed.

 

Sweden 640 x 360 shop

 

A big thanks for Hans for helping me with the logistics of getting the ski around, and to James and his team at Kajaktiv for the use of the Uno Max. Its so cool to be able to rock over to the other side of the globe, pick up a beautiful Uno Max and go exploring some new waterways.

I’m off to smash a few meat balls, and then for a paddle to burn them off!

 

Stewart O’Regan

Think Kayak Australia

Mob:     0404 236 638
Web:     www.thinkkayak.com.au
Skype:  stewieor