Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kattegat x2

Time for a long due update. The last month I got back into some old school sea kayaking again in the sea of Kattegat.

View Kattegat 2010 in a larger map

On the first trip my training mate Morten and I borrowed a sea kayak K2(Tahe Marine Reval Duo) from a local club. Using a trolley we got the kayak and gear on the ferry to Varberg. Arriving in Sweden at 5 in the morning, we launched at a nearby beach in cold, misty and calm conditions.

This was quite a different sea kayak trip. Our entire setup concerning clothing, gear and speed was not very sea kayak'ish but more like the first day of the Tour de Gudenaa race. That is full speed ahead and only short breaks. Pauses had to be short anyway as we would start getting cold otherwise wearing but thin training outfits.

We got to Anholt fast though we were cold and hungry at arrival. My K1 sprayskirt leaked like a sieve resulting in 25 l of water in the boat - calm conditions notwithstanding.

The next day the wind had increased and we decided to use the ferry back to Denmark. For once I had to quit a trip because of lack of gear.

In hindsight this was clearly a rather ill-prepared trip. We had never used the kayak before or even paddled a sea-K2. I was too tall for the kayak so the mounted backband dug into my lower back resulting in some nasty wounds. We only had one proper sea kayak sprayskirt, no pump, wore clothings fit for racing at a sheltered lake and not for the ocean, the food was a mess stored in random places and so on.

Still we had good fun and will definitely have another go at one point.
Arriving at the lighthouse of Anholt

The second trip was done further north in partly quite windy conditions along with a very good friend of mine. This was an entirely different setup with proper tested gear, lots of experience and better preparations.

Launching from Frederikshavn, we paddled to the island Læsø on the first day. While this was my first kayak trip to Læsø it will certainly not be my last. Great beaches and only few houses on the northern coast.

The next day we did the 40 km crossing to Sweden in a force 6 following wind and sunny weather. Big waves but too chaotic for good surfing. We first reached the small rock Hallands Svarteskär some kilometers of the mainland. It was quite the sight watching the big waves smashing the rocks in the sunshine.

The reward of the crossing was the wonderful archipelago south of Gothenburg. The next day we made our way to the north and to the ferry berth where we caught our transportation back to Frederikshavn.

Halfway between Læsø and Sweden.

Two very different but super nice trips in the sea of Kattegat. It was great going with strong and positive thinking paddlers and it was good to be reminded that I still love sea kayaking and that my usual K1 paddling builds a nice foundation for other kayak disciplines.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Surf Symposium 2009

Once again in context of the Danish Canoe Federation I was part of the team organizing the danish surf symposium during the last weekend of September. With 70 paddlers we beat last year's record for a danish kayak surf event. Check the video for some surf action and interviews[in danish].

As for 2010 I hope we'll get some part of the EPP surf education running. Likewise I'd like to see danish paddlers taking on waveski paddling and ofcause run an even bigger surf symposium.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Surfing and Paddles

Friday I was out surfing at the west coast of Jutland. The prologue took place at a fully exposed beach with a nasty shore-break and ended by me flying and landing head first in the gravel. While I'm sure the beachwalkers found the incident amusing, I was happy for my helmet.

The surfing continued at the Fish Factory where we had one super surf session. For once I found I was really able to control the my surf kayak, changing direction at will and getting some super long parallel runs.

Engines running - lift-off (photo: Casper Gyldenberg)

Last summer I got hold of a second-hand Lendal Kinetik Wing paddle and I've been using it ever since for surfing. As you might know the Kinetik is of a hybrid flat/wing design. It is supposed to be usable for the wing stroke and steering strokes. Before I give my verdict I have to shorten the paddle. One thing for sure - it lacks the bite and grip of my normal wing.

Speaking wing paddles, I recently switched my Bracsa IV with a Lettmann Warp. First I planned to only use the Warp for sea kayaking but after 3 minutes in my Supersonic I was sold. I'll write an entry on the paddle after this year's Tour de Gudenå (4 weeks now)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Belt Sea Trip #10

About a month ago in context of the canoe federation I organized another Belt Sea trip. This was the 10th year in row I've been making this trip for experienced sea paddlers.

During the years along with various groups of paddlers we've covered most interesting crossings in the Belt Sea in all kinds of weather conditions.

View Belt Sea 2000-2009 in a larger map

The group this year was good - in fact it was the best "large" (7) group of sea paddlers I've ever paddled with. No problems whatsoever and all able to maintain an good speed. To state the obvious - being a trip leader for such a group is the the worlds easiest job.

Markell from German joined with his Sibir Interceptor. The Interceptor looked rather sweet in following wind and waves with apparently no tendency to broaching. Markell was really able to move the thing.

beltsea_aebeloeTowards Æbelø[Apple Island]. Photo Thomas Kittner

View Belt Sea 2000-2009 in a larger map

More photos here and a proper trip report by Bjørn Amundsen in danish here.

This concludes a nice string of Belt Sea trips. I'm working on a final article in danish on lessons learned and the like.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sipre Katabatic Master joins the Fleet

Two weeks ago I picked up a second hand Katabatic Master. Actually is was the very same kayak I paddled earlier this year.

Now what changed my mind? The color! No not really though I do like my kayaks to be red and white. No I got the kayak for a good price, which means I dare to rearrange/rebuild the deck around the cockpit. Watch out for the Katabatic rolling machine! Considering I've got zero handyman skills, this promise is bordering on hubris.

I did consistently forward/forward style roll the Katabatic last week but I want a ultra low rear cockpit coaming(1.5 cm freeboard) to allow a sculling roll.

The Katabatic's Myspace Angle

Not quite as cool from this angle....

Katabatic Master

Not your average K1 rudder.

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Escaping Planet Harbour

Onshore wind was back in force today which helped breaking up the ice in the harbour. The ice floes are currently around 1cm thick and I don't want to risk the kayak by smashing my way out.

I launched the Escape Pod and soon faced a heavy and confused sea at the harbour entrance with the jetty being washed in spray. As for my balance I was going to the limit. In my pre-Moskito days I wouldn't have had a chance staying upright in this boat in such a sea. Slowly and super concentrated I worked my way towards the coast and soon faced a more regular sea. Then I could relax and power on down the coast. No swim today.

It's March, it's bitter cold and I've taken a liking to paddle in mostly the same gear I use when running. Not sure what I'll do in case I capsize. Most likely I'll just run for the club - since I'm wearing the running tights already..

The Escape Pod performed admirable. Sure the bow was sometimes deeply buried in the waves - more so than with Miss M. - but I don't feel this had a noticeable slowing effect. The rudder worked like a charm. The tiller control is way better tuned than those in the Inuk and Moskito.

The onshore wind may continue - the pod and I are ready.
Escape Rudder

Escape Pod understern rudder

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Escape Pod Arrives


Spaceship One

Monday afternoon I took Miss Moskito on a short paddle in a lazy swell. I was able to enjoy the delicate balance act while still paddling agressively. When doing a stroke in one side I tilt the kayak ever so slightly to the other side. It might just be my imagination, but I think I'm able to feel a tiny resistance at one point. This is the Miss' way of telling me that from here on I'm on my own. If I keep tilting her I'll either have to convert my forward stroke into a brace and lose speed(bad) or take a swim(exceedingly bad in march). At just the right moment I must finish the stroke and slightly shift my weight to other site. This tilting/swaying motion in the forward stroke is a thing of beauty. This is when paddling the Moskito is at it's best.

Tuesday I bought a new kayak...

Truth is my balance for paddling the Moskito in real waves isn't there yet. Way too often I'm restricted to staying inside the harbour doing lanes which is getting on my nerves. It has become a running joke in my kayak club, that we've had onshore winds ever since I got my Moskito.

Now I could switch to my cheerfull little Inuk for wave paddling and that would be fine. But I've become somewhat spoiled by Miss M. I'm addicted to the speed , acceleration and balance game. Sure in nasty conditions or going ofshore I'll be back the Inuk in a second. But for regular fitness paddling I don't want a 4WD.

Introducing the Escape. Two years ago I got to test paddle an Escape. It's a K1-Trainer designed by Danish Bjørn Johansen and is currently build by German Neumann for the Scandinavian market. At that time I thought it was both highly unstable and one of the most beautyful kayaks I'd seen yet. I started fantasizing about an Escape which could be rolled.

Tuesday I found a second hand kevlar Escape for sale and I didn't hesitate for long.


Spaceship Two - Escape - 12kg - 520x51cm

While the Moskito is a sharp and mean looking kayak which barely accepts anyone rides her in waves - the Escape is a softer and more rounded K1-Trainer designed for waves. I love the shape, which looks like it was out of some Sci-Fi flick. It's my Escape Pod that'll take me out of the harbour. This thing is going to take some poundings in the waves!

I had three trips already and found it super stable compared to Miss M. Much easier to turn. Build in an ocean sized cockpit and I'm ready to take it to the open sea. For now I'll just be tracking the coast. As for speed I still have to do some trials. The Moskito should be faster(it better be!).

At any rate - my goal to be able to master Miss M in real waves haven't changed. If anything the Escape is going to accelerate that process.

Escape Pod with passenger in icy water


View at the futuristic bow design


Inside view at the tillerbar rudder control