At 01:00 AM Sunday morning March 18th Casper Steinfath will hit the cold waters of Skagerrak with his Naish Maliko and take the first paddlestrokes on his crossing towards the town of Kristianssand in Norway. The four time ISA World Champion aims to become the first person ever to cross treacherous Skagerrak, The paddle is expected to take between 18-24 hours all depending on wind, current and waves.
After being on standby for nearly a month, the stars have finally aligned on Sunday 18th March for 24-year-old Danish Viking Casper Steinfath to embark on his Viking Crossing 2.0, a crossing that will put him to the ultimate test in the attempt of being the first person ever to complete the 130 km voyage over the legendary Skagerrak straight.
During the first five hours until sunrise on Sunday, Casper will be paddling in deep darkness with only the comfort of his headlamp. Last year the heavy darkness and unruly ocean forced seasickness upon the Danish Viking, so this winter season he has spent many hours training at night to prepare his body for these extreme conditions with low visibility.
The darkness and the temperatures reaching down to -5 degrees Celcius (23 Fahrenheit) are part of the reasons why the 4-time ISA SUP World Champion is attempting to cross the Skagerrak now – and not during summer when the days are longer and the temperatures more pleasant.
“It is a great challenge and a wild childhood dream of mine to cross the Skagerrak. What really motivates me about paddling in winter is the added challenge of paddling many hours in the darkness with freezing temperatures. Crossing Skagerrak is the ultimate culmination of my dreams, passion and skills”, explains a very excited Casper Steinfath
This is the second time that he will be trying to cross the waters between Denmark and Norway. Last year, after 17 hours of paddling, Steinfath was forced to withdraw from his attempt just 12 km from Norway’s coastline as strong currents and gale force winds were pushing him back out to sea. He was so close that he could litterally touch the lighthouse marking the entrance to the Kristiansand fjord. A very bitter moment for the Danish World Champ.
Casper is super motivated to make it all the way to Norway on Sunday, he told TotalSUP “This year I have spent most of the winter at home in the cold waters and deep darkness in Cold Hawaii, Denmark. I have spent hundreds of hours analyzing my mistakes from last year and now I have set my gaze firmly on setting foot on Norwegian ground. Through very calculated preparations and a strong support team, I believe I have found out how to dance with Mother Nature, without getting fully run over”.
This time the weather might also be with him. Clear skies and frosty air will greet Casper during the first hours of his journey. Light wind and favorable currents will be pushing him along most of the way, but when night falls again for the final hours of the journey anything can happen.
Viking Crossing 2.0 will be covered by camera crews filming for live Danish TV as well as a documentary by Peter Alsted. The entire journey will be tracked live, click here to follow Casper’s paddle challenge!