Archive for June, 2011

Adventures in Europe – Part 1

One of the things that I always find fascinating when visiting Europe, is the incredible sense of history that grabs a person as they walk down the old brick lanes. Castles and impressive churches are plentiful in many areas, and statues line the roads.

Sweden.

On June 12 I arrived in Europe for a month long teaching tour. I had the chance to rest and get acquainted with the time zone, and so spent the day exploring Lund, Sweden with my wonderful host Christer. The following day I instructed in Malmo, Sweden, a seaside town with an impressive “twisted” building looming above the white sand beach. An enthusiastic group of paddlers showed up to work on their rolls for the afternoon.

One of the displays at a museum in Lund.

Mats von Wowern of Tillsätt Bara Vatten!! (Just Add Water).

The following morning I was picked up by Freek and Andre, a couple of active paddlers from Holland. We went on a fun road/ferry trip through several countries and ended up at a wonderful campground in Holland where I taught four classes over the next two days. The location was unlike any that I’d instructed at before, as I felt like I was teaching in a water park. The spot was complete with water playgrounds, waterslides, moving platforms that served as bridges and playful water spouts that sprayed out of the lake creating tempting spots to play in a kayak.

Freek and crew set up the tent faster than I'd ever seen one set up.

Fun place for classes.

My last evening in Holland was spent exploring the canals of Amsterdam by kayak with Mariette. Seeing the city by kayak was both a unique and magical experience for me, and Mariette was a ton of fun!

Paddling in Amsterdam

Next I hopped on a plane to fly to Lofoten, Norway, a set of islands just above the Arctic Circle. Lofoten is spectacular, with steep and breathtaking snow covered mountain peaks looming over incredibly clear water and charming houses…not to mention the incredible local seafood and desserts. Over two days I taught six classes for Jann Engstad, owner of Lofoten Kajakk.

Lofoten.

Then I jumped on one more plane to Copenhagen for a couple of days of rest and relaxation with Mark. We explored the city by foot, got sucked into the impressive display of Greenland kayaks and traditional gear in the Natural History Museum and even rode the roller coaster in Tivoli. And now I’m on a train making my way to Kalmar, Sweden, where Johan Wirsen and I will be teaching classes together tomorrow.

Tivoli.

Playing in Copenhagen.

Pieces of Summer

Last week I was chased by an elk and a sea lion within a period of just a couple of days. Although it may seem strange, this makes me smile because, in a way, these moments symbolize to me the start of a very exciting summer season.

Highlights in June so far have included leaving my “day job” for the season and a visit from Mark Tozer. We had time to go sight seeing, walking in the redwoods and playing in Humboldt Bay, Trinidad and Stone Lagoon, as well as visiting Kokatat who Mark is a UK Ambassador for.

A walk through Fern Canyon.

Trinidad.

Wild Elk.

We also headed to Redding, California to conduct three rolling clinics for the kayaking Club, Just Kayak More. This was the second year that I’ve instructed for this enthusiastic Club, and it was great to see how much they’d progressed throughout the last year.

A little tandem rolling.

Last Thursday added another piece of summer when I headed up to Washington for the South Sound Traditional Inuit Kayak Symposium (SSTIKS). SSTIKS is a special event for me, because it is where I was first introduced to the wonderful world of traditional kayaking. This is a family friendly kayaking event filled with instruction in traditional skills (including rolling and harpoons), games, races, presentations and all around fun.

Harpoons anyone?

Rolling class.

After SSTIKS I hopped on a plane to Denmark, and now I am in Sweden, on a month long teaching tour throughout Europe. Classes start this afternoon, and I’m looking forward to an exciting month and more highlights!

Sweden!

Photos by Helen Wilson, Mark Tozer and Michael Morris.

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