Eskimo turn and international canoeing marathon in Estonia. Making dreams happen

Kayaking: The long way to dreams happenin’

In 2013 I started studies on hiking management. At first it was only to get some theoretical knowledge to back me up when walking in Ibiza and doing hiking tours there. Since the theoretical studies also included alpinism (!) and water hikes, including kayaking, I got more deep into those activities. One thing that blew me away and looked really awesome, was Eskimo turn (also called Eskimo roll). That is what you need to do when you flip over and sit in a kayak upside down, in the water, have a look at examples of Eskimo rolls. Aren’t they cool?

I have tried kayaking a bit before, mainly in Norway and on a calm lake. Last time I kayaked was in Ibiza (If you go there, I suggest Ibiza Mundo Activo). I was really bad in it, getting tired in my hands very fast because I held myself wrong. And in the salty water, I didn’t really want to try Eskimo turn either. But the idea to learn to kayak better and to do the Eskimo turn got its start last year and I was wondering how and where I should learn it. Until I got back to Estonia.

Safety first: Learn to fall

In sports it is usual that you learn how to fall and get up again. Like in Karate, for example, we constantly learned and practiced falling in different ways. Why is “falling” and “failure” so taboo in business? Ok, but that’s a different story for a different blog, you can see a short picture-blogpost I made recently about success vs failure. BACK TO KAYAKING.

kayaking IbizaWhen kayaking, it is really easy to fall. I guess when you are on the tourist boats, they are wider and it is less likely to flip over, but when you are on a rougher lake, narrower kayak or on a river, chances are you end up up-side down. Doesn’t seem like a lot of fun? Guess what, IT IS! When you know what to expect.

Eskimo turn, here I come

So I mentioned I have wanted to learn more kayaking for a while now. On my last walk in Estonia in 2013 I had a luck to meet a trainer in kayaking, he owns and does different hiking trips and events and kayaking and … And he has a regular training sessions in the pool to learn kayaking tricks and also – ESKIMO TURNS! Yeah!

And today was the day when I tried (not succeeded fully) my first Eskimo turn. Unfortunately no pictures nor videos yet, but when I accomplish it, you will get something to watch. I practiced kayaking with a smaller and wider boat that reacted to every movement very fast, at first. After an hour, when my nerves could not handle it anymore, I just had to try the turn before I changed my mind. I saw other guys, guys who are professionals or had kayaked for years do the turn. It seemed as cool as in the videos but difficult even for them (only a bit and only with some special ways or boats, I suppose).

sea kayak

So, I started the training. And it was not as scary as I thought! I was surprised how calm I could stay underwater. Yet, let’s be honest, I lost orientation and coordination. Try after try I got calmer, got the hip movement, then failed completely, then got the movement and direction. Then failed COMPLETELY and fought when trainer tried to help :). Then got the movement really well, but only with a little direction of the paddle by the trainer.

The boat I tried Eskimo turn looked a lot like the one in this picture on the right.

Want to be part and test yourself in a canoeing marathon?

Võhandu marathonMy kayaking trainer Hillar has also started and is the organizer of one of the toughest and beautiful 100 km marathon of kayaking, canoeing or rafting on river Võhandu in Estonia. It will take place on 19th of April and is a one-day-long event for different types of boats. Since Estonia is magnificent when it comes to nature, it’s definitely worth a visit.  There is already 152 boats registered, including people all over Europe, and the registration has only started! Let’s see if I am fit to take part, if not, I will run around anyway.

Read more about the event and register for the Võhandu Canoeing Marathon.

And here’s an Eskimo roll training video to see how cool it is and how easy it is (yeah … )

Book your calendars

19th of April 2014 for Võhandu Canoeing Marathon in Estonia
25th of May in 2014 7 mountain hike in Norway

Have a question to me? Call +372 52 70 534 or write liisitoom(at), follow me on Twitter.

About the Author


Performance coach, blogger and activist.

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