That Sinking Feeling...

Sunday, 01 February 2009 03:00 | Written by 
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Erik Wallgren wanted some photos to illustrate the challenges of surfski paddling in Sweden and contacted his friend and fellow paddler Erik Wildenstam who was willing to use his ski as an ice breaker...


The photo session took place near the Baltic Sea Archipelago on January 18, 2009.

 Now you see him...

The idea was to have Wallgren standing on ice skates on the ice while Wildenstam paddled close by in the frigid water...  It almost turned out that way!

{mosimage} you don't!

However, just as Wallgren was making his way to the right spot, the ice gave way with a nasty cracking sound and he found himself bobbing up and down in the freezing water!  Fortunately he'd taken the precaution to wear a dry suit under his clothes and was pulled out unharmed, if a little chilly.



"We really envy you guys with your warm seas down in South Africa," he said.  "If you fell into this water unprotected your hands would be useless after 3-5 minutes and you'd be dead in another 10!"

It's not always this extreme;  in summer the water temperature varies from 15-25 Celsius.

Swedish Surfski Paddling

 Despite the challenging conditions, surfski paddling is taking off in Sweden and a growing fleet of enthusiasts is taking to the water - Nomado Kayak (the local Epic distributor) ran the first Swedish Surfski Champs last year.


"Last year I arranged the second surfski champs," said Erik. "This year there will be a series of 3 competitions in Sweden including my race. We think surfski is a great concept for cold conditions and is the safest way to paddle in winter.

 "There are now about 50 surfski paddlers in Sweden.  I think surfski will have its breakthrough this year. A lot of people saw adventure racers from team FJS use surfskis in all competitions last year - even in the wild rivers in the competition Åre Extreme held yearly."

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