Understatement alert: I used to paddle a lot. There were some years where I paddled kayaks over 3000km, and many where I paddled over 2000km. I did my first race in 1992 and raced flatwater kayaks at different levels until 2006.
In 2002 I started racing dragonboat and in 2007 took up rowing and outrigger, so I have been doing at least a bit of boat racing every year until the present. I might have missed this year, but I actually got to race in April when I went back to Canada for a visit so technically I can check 2011 off as well.
All that to say it is a bit of a contrast to barely paddle since coming to Sweden. It has been nice to take a break and nice to take up skiing, but when the weather is nice and the water is sparkling I do think about getting out on the river -or even better- out to the sea.
This weekend was a long weekend in Sweden, with Ascension on Thursday and National day on Monday, so I took advantage of the long-weekend kayak rental price at the local kayak shop. The weather has been fantastic so far and I have been out every day. Today I went a bit farther afield with friends Vinn and Mattie, and we had a picnic at Engeltofta. There was a tremendous offshore wind heading out, enough to make me nervous about coming back since Vinn and Mattie are a bit newer to paddling and Mattie still recovering from breaking his arm a few months ago.
I worried about that in between waves though – it was blowing so hard that even my 40lb plastic tub of a boat caught 7-second rides on waves that I could just lean back and steer through. It was awesome! I did not expect to have such surf today since it had been calm the last couple of days and also the time we took the boat to Limön. We recuperated with sandwiches and coffee at Engeltofta and did some people watching at the beach, then steeled our selves for the headwind.
Luckily the wind died down a bit for the way home and we made it back without our arms falling off. I can still feel a bit of up and down in my head when I stay still, but I am already looking forward to going out again tomorrow!