In the next two weeks four time ISA SUP World Champion Casper Steinfath will attempt to cross the Skagerrak, that is a 120 km ocean straight that separates Denmark fom Norway. Cold Hawaii local Casper will be re-attempting the crossing that he tried to complete last year, but had to withdraw just just 12km from the end. Casper Steinfath who is best known in the SUP World for his fierce sprint racing skills and constant determination to prove to the world that underdog nations like Denmark should not be discounted. Casper takes time out to speak to TotalSUP about the legendary “Skagerrak” or the viking Crossing.
Hi Casper, What is the Skagerrak?
The legendary “Skagerrak” or the “viking crossing” is an ocean straight between Denmark and Norway, known for its treacherous currents and wild weather. From my hometown of Klitmøller in Cold Hawaii, I will seek to step in the footsteps of my Viking forefathers and I will be the first person on a SUP to paddle 120 km across the “Skagerrak” to the Norwegian town of Kristiansand. A journey that will test my skills and push me to my very limits both physically and mentally.
This will be my second attempt at crossing the “Skagerrak”. Last year, under wild circumstances, I was forced to withdraw from my crossing attempt just 12 km before my destination, this is after paddling for nearly 17 hours in freezing conditions. A combination of a building storm and strong currents pushing me away from land broke me.
I am really excited to be able to give the Viking Crossing a second shot. I have learned a lot from my mistakes last year and I have put my heart and soul into the preparations this time. Crossing the “Skagerrak” is an extreme challenge and childhood dream of mine. What really excites me is the added challenge of paddling for many hours in rough ocean, deep darkness and in freezing temperatures. For me crossing the “Skagerrak” is the ultimate culmination of dreams, passion and skills learned during my lifetime.
How have you prepared for the crossing?
This year I have spent the entire winter at home in Denmark training in the freezing cold and darkness. I have spent hundreds of hours analyzing my mistakes from last year and I really have my gaze fixed on setting foot on Norwegian soil. I have really focused on my preparations and I have a strong support team around me, I believe that I have found what it will take to match Mother Nature, She is my ultimate challenge.
Photo Credit: Mark Wengler
Though I believe they key is not to actually beat Mother Nature with brute force, but instead be patient until she presents me the right moment and hopefully allows me a chance to pass through the chaos. This year I have focused a lot on improving my night paddling skills to prevent seasickness. I have also spent many hours reading and learning about the complex current systems out there as well as stepping up my navigational game. I hope all these elements will help give me safe passage across Skagerrak.
What is the plan of attack?
Currently my crew and I are on standby awaiting the right oceanic and weather conditions to undertake this journey. We are constantly monitoring weather forecasts and when the right window presents itself 48 hours out we will hit the “Go Button” and prepare for take off!
Photo Credit: Fredrik Clement
The expected distance I will cover is 120 km from Klitmøller (Denmark) to Kristanssand (Norway), it will take about 20-24 hours to cross. I ll paddle my 14′ x 26” Naish Maliko 2018, and my trusted paddle the V-Drive 91 Quickblade. Due to the weather I will need to use my 5/3 hooded Mystic Legend and at all times I will have a safety boat tracking my paddle.
We wish the Viking, good paddle and we hope the Viking gods are with you!