Klitmøller, Cold Hawaii, February 1, 2017 – Before daybreak, Three-time ISA SUP World Champion, Casper Steinfath, stepped on to his Naish Maliko Carbon Elite from the shores of Klitmøller, Denmark and embarked on the mission of his life. Since Casper was a young boy, he had a dream to step in the footsteps of the ancient Vikings. A dream that has grown bigger and bigger, but also a dream that developed into a personal challenge between himself and the ocean – the ocean which the 23-year-old World Champion loves and lives for.
The dream presented itself as a challenge of crossing the Skagerrak Strait from his hometown Klitmøller (Cold Hawaii) to Kristiansand in the southern part of Norway. Casper would embark on this challenging mission, in the cold and dark Scandinavian winter, and set out to become the first stand up paddleboarder to navigate the 130 km long route across the legendary Skagerrak Strait—a mission called the “Viking Crossing”.
Both a historic and important route, which the Vikings used to trade and to sail goods back and forth between Denmark and Norway – hence came the idea to name the mission “Viking Crossing”. With several years of preparations up to the “Viking Crossing”, the young Viking carefully studied the route and weather conditions together with his team. Casper engaged in energy and diet plans, as well as carefully planning the entire safety operation, which was on standby during the mission.
The “Viking Crossing” occurred on Wednesday February 1st with a departure from the shores of Klitmøller, Denmark, at 05:20 AM. Although it meant paddling in the dark with a headlamp, perfect wind and weather conditions sent Casper Steinfath well off with a strong tailwind and some lively bumps, which let him hold a solid pace.
During the first 12 hours, everything went as planned, but as darkness approached in the evening, the weather conditions changed rapidly, which made it difficult for Casper and his crew to keep on course. The changing winds grew stronger and a treacherous current combined with darkness and freezing temperatures made it too dangerous for Casper to continue his mission.
After paddling a distance of 116 km for 16 hours and 20 minutes, and the lights of Norway within sight, Casper had to decide, that today was not the day. His dream to cross the Skagerrak Strait on the historic Viking route would have to wait for another day. With a heavy heart, Casper safely boarded the support boat and sailed ashore in Kristiansand, Norway.
Although Casper was forced by Mother Nature to forfeit at the doorstep of his destination, the “Viking Crossing” mission has only given the young Viking even more bloodthirst and motivation. Casper is already in the process of evaluating and preparing another attempt to cross the wild Skagerrak in the nearest future. Summing up the experience, the current ISA World Champion and Danish Viking Casper Steinfath remarked:
“My attempt to cross the Skagerrak Strait has been a great experience. It has given me more energy and desire to make another attempt. I have a lot of experience from this trip, which hopefully will help me to realize this dream.
I feel positive and motivated to make a new attempt in the near future, but still under the same conditions – it must be winter, dark and cold. I see it as both a thrilling battle against myself, to see how far I can push myself, but also as a battle with Mother Nature. Like the Vikings said, sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war!
The sea is a large playground, which can give you many fantastic experiences when you know how to act. I want to bring more attention to the SUP sport in general, but also highlight the preparation and safety we surfers have every time we go on the water.”
Watch the full video production from Casper’s “Viking Crossing” for free here:
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