Thursday, 24 September 2009

Arctic Paddling, with Ola Løftingsmo

I've been in contact with Ola Løftingsmo, a sea kayaker from the frigid coast of Norway, where he is an active member of the Harstad Paddle Club. He describes the paddling in his home country:
"We only have about 6-8C air temp right now, and its still early autumn. Last days have been quite windy with much rain so winter is coming soon with minus degrees and snow. But - being out at sea during the winter is also beautiful. You just have to put on enough clothes. We have 6 months with winter, about 1.5 months without the sun. We used to say that the rest of the year we have no winter, only bad ski conditions. Just joking, we also have summer, although a short one. Sending you a few shots from my part of the world. As you can see on one of the pictures the salt water has frozen to ice on my tuiliq.I have several boats but mostly I use my Greenland, and the SOF. My SOF is named Freya after Freya H, and she really liked the design and finish when she did rolling classes up here last year.Coldest trip I had last winter in my new Tahe Greenland was minus 19 degrees celcius and 10 m/s wind. In conditions like that I use either a Tuiliq (Brooks neoprene) or a drysuit (Typhoon) to keep the heat. On that trip the body was 100% OK but I hade some small frost injures in my face on the parts where the Tuiliq didn`t give any protection.
I had a layer of frozen seawater on my chest and arms, but it is actually not a problem to paddle on days like that. The big challange is to keep the feet warm. Body and hands are no problem. Imagine what they had to struggle with on Greenland to survive......"
Hand up all the Aussies out there who feel like sooks for not paddling over our terrible winters!

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