After 54 days and 1,450 kilometres around Denmark, the Danish SUP World Champion, Casper Steinfath, finally set his feet on the beach in his hometown Klitmøller aka Cold Hawaii Wednesday night. The 28-year-old is the first ever person to circumnavigate Denmark on a SUP board. He started on April 2nd in picture-perfect conditions with sun […]
The one-and-only Red Bull Midsummer took place last weekend on June 18/19 in Copenhagen, Denmark under tough Viking conditions!
Mr TotalSUP (i.e. me) had the privilege to have a front-row seat as a media partner and I loved every bit of this very special event. What I cherish most about this concept is its primary focus on teams, all of a sudden turning a very individual sport, and sometimes a very lonely one, into a group effort in which camaraderie and team spirit are the keys. Relay racing is not new but has never been the main center of attention at any event. It’s usually the odd B-side category with hardly enough teams on the grid to make a full podium. It doesn’t seem much but approaching SUP racing from this angle makes an enormous difference and suddenly EVERYTHING SEEMS POSSIBLE: traveling far away from home, paddling for 24 hours, paddling in the cold and rain… logistics, motivation, helpful hands, cheering and support, smiles, blankets, coffee… all the things you don’t usually have when you are on your own and which make you sometimes go: “why do I bother??”.
At Red Bull Midsummer Vikings, you bother because your teammates bother for you, because the pain becomes fun, because the rain turns into a joke, and because no matter how hard it is, you are going to leave Copenhagen with a big smile on your face and plenty of souvenirs in your head!
Facebook Live Feed Replay – Intro + Start of the 24 hour race
TotalSUP Instagram Stories of the Red Bull Midsummer Vikings are available here:
A really fun event but NOT A JUST FOR FUN only event
I have always loved Stand Up Paddling in a team form, from training in groups to the growing trend of SUP tandems, but also big SUPs or the 4-man dragon world championships. I remember paddling SUP 11 City Tour a few years ago and thinking that adding a team element Tour-de-France-style to this 5-day race would add so much spice! For this reason, I believe that Casper Steinfath’s event is a pioneer and unique one which should grow as much more than the “just for fun” event I thought I was invited to initially. The Red Bull Midsummer Vikings should be hailed as the world’s ultimate SUP team competition whether you want to do it very competitively, for fun or BOTH! All the right ingredients are there : a very accessible 5km lap i.e. which any paddler in the world can do, a variety of conditions over 24 hours on the same course, going from very flat to upwind, sidewind, and bump-riding on a whole 2km section, strategies (who starts, who finishes, do we swap paddlers at every lap, etc..), resting and food management etc. And the team trackers allow to follow those battles in real-time!
400 paddlers – 82 teams – 21 nationalities – 8.565 km
8.565 km is the distance covered by the 400 participants of this year’s Red Bull Midsummer Vikings.
After a great sunny day Saturday, the weather changed Sunday. In this 3rd edition, 400 paddlers in 80 teams from 21 countries battled through wind and heavy rain and also had to endure a 2-hour halt of the race due to safety reasons as thunder and lightning were looming in the area.
“I’m absolutely stoked and speechless that so many happy faces created a great atmosphere here at the 3rd edition of the Red Bull Midsummer Vikings. We had a great start to the race with great weather but unfortunately had to stop the race for safety reasons and restart it Sunday morning due to bad weather with the risk of thunder and lightning. All the participants were great about it and took on the conditions as true vikings. We had a blast this weekend,” Casper Steinfath says.
Charity Project: SMILfonden (the SMILE Foundation)
All Red Bull Midsummer Vikings teams were supporting the Danish charity SMILfonder, the SMILE Foundation which helps chronically ill kids and teenagers to have a better life. The SMILE Foundation arranges summer camps and activities at the hospital – and some of the kids visited the Red Bull Midsummer Vikings at the start where they were out paddling with Casper Steinfath. A total of 71.614 DKK (9.627 euros) were collected by the participants and presented to SMILfonden
The big midsummer festival took place at the Amager Beach Park in Copenhagen on a 5 km loop with both shallow waters in the inlet and by the sea, Øresund, with a peek over to Sweden on the other side of the .
The paddlers started at 14.00 (2pm) Saturday afternoon and reached the finish Sunday at 14.00.
First and final lap
The Grand Départ (first lap) is for all 400 paddlers. Like at the Tour de France, all paddlers paddle the first 500 meters together before the actual launch of the 1st lap competitors.
The final lap, called the Champagne Lap, turned this year into a SUP drawing event with 400 paddlers gathering on the water to form a smiling face in honor of the SMILE Foundation.
The Naish Super Sprint at the Social Friday
A new event this year was the Social Friday where teams on Naish mega SUP boards battled on a 200 meter course around the lagoon, a nice BBQ
The course is a simple 200-meter dash down the official runway with a few obstacles on the way. Five people per team. It’s going to be a ton of fun! It’s free, and no booking is needed. You just show up and put you and your team on the list.