Sea kayaking in Hasle harbour, Paddle Bornholm
10-12 metres wind per second don’t really rhyme with sea kayaking, but as we were a stubborn and, some might say, foolhardy bunch, we stuck to the plan for the day: sea kayaking in Hasle.
Some of the locals had told us that if the weather is too windy on the one side of Bornholm, you could just go to the other side (approximately 30 kilometres, so if you have a car, you’ll be there in no time). That’s why we weren’t too worried as we woke up to the sound of crashing waves and something resembling a hurricane – or at least a very strong wind. Because the schedule of the day said sea kayaking in Hasle, which is in the western part of Bornholm and almost exactly opposite where we stayed at Hotel Nordlandet.
So off we went. Had a brief introduction by very skilled Anne Mette Hansen, the woman behind Paddle Bornholm. Dressed up to the nines in the latest kayaking fashion – wetsuit, an absolute wind tight orange coverall (also known as a drysuit, I’m told), life jacket, gloves and hats. And then out into sea. Four of us decided to brave the waves, and Anne Mette took us out, equipped with a co-instructor and heaps of ropes, so that we ‘wouldn’t drift out to sea’. Comforting. #not
I have tried sea kayaking before and can even boast about having an IPP1 license. Not that it did me any good in Hasle, because I may have paddled before, but not in that strong a headwind. Luckily, all of us reached smooth waters after what felt like hours paddling for dear life, and in the inner harbour we were taught how to turn and generally keep our kayak in some sort of control. Anne Mette also showed us how to roll, but none of us were really up for ducking in the freezing water.
Even though I know – and that we were just told – that kayaking doesn’t have anything to do with using your arms, but has everything to do with your lower body, my arms were put to the test in the strong wind. It’s funny how your body reacts instinctively, when you’re afraid of falling into the water or, worse, drifting out to sea. Paddle, paddle, paddle! With my arms!
I love sea kayaking and I have regretted for at long time that I don’t go any more than I do. And therefore I have decided to do something about it. I’ve just become a member of a local kayaking club (situated literally across from where I live) and last weekend I got my IPP2 license. 16 hours of paddling, self-rescuing, paddling some more, swearing and cursing (do you know how hard it is to pull yourself up into the kayak wearing a life jacket?!), paddling and generally enjoying myself thoroughly! With an IPP2 license I can safely go out to sea – preferably with a kayak buddy. Even if you are very skilled, it’s safer to be more than one – and being a member of a club I can use their equipment any time I like. Maybe I’ll get my own kayak one day – after all I live right by the water – but until then I’m more than happy using those of the club.
Now I just need a wetsuit that doesn’t make me look like a biker chick from the 80’es. I panicked the day before the IPP2 and bought a cheap second-hand wetsuit. It did the job perfectly, but I’ll definitely not win any fashion awards while wearing it. (Or at any other time, come to think of it …)
What to wear
Depends on the water temperature. A wetsuit is a good idea, however. Always dress for immersion.
Don’t go out by yourself unless you’re a skilled kayaker, and that you’re able to rescue yourself if you should fall overboard. If you fall into the water, remember to stay calm, breathe and trust you kayaking partner(s) to help you.