Monday, July 2, 2007

Training for my next trip: Kayaking in Spitsbergen

To celebrate my 40th birthday in August, my wife Elvira has given me a trip to Spitsbergen (Svalbard) where we will be kayaking for a week at 7o° N latitude! I am pretty psyched by the prospect of kayaking in the icy waters among lots of interesting wildlife. On one side I also hope to see polar bears, but not too close to my kayak of course!

We both have some experience with kayaking and canoing, but thought that we should get to a higher level before engaging in such a wild trip.
This weekend we thus met with my climbing friend Martin Ploug, who is one of Denmark's highest accredited kayak instructors. One of the main purposes of the weekend endeavors was to enter and exit the kayak under all kind of conditions.
We were thus taught partner rescue and self rescue using a paddle float (which is what Martins demonstrates with Elvira watching on the picture on the right).
Most importantly, we also trained how to stay in the kayak whenever possible by either making quick moves with the paddle - or by the reputed kayak rolls.
Much to my surprise, I was able to make a 180° C to C roll on my second attempt. Finally, just before we stopped the training I tried to pull a 360° Eskimo roll - and succeeded! Wow - I could hardly believe my own eyes when I came to a stop on top of the water after rolling all the way under the kayak. Elvira shot a short video of Martin (in front) and myself (in the back) making Eskimo rolls, which you can download in iPod format by clicking here.
Very cool weekend - and now I cannot wait for the trip to Spitsbergen!

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