For the third time, fom June 10 to 12, the beautiful island Sommarøy off Tromsø was the site of the Arctic Women’s Playground, an all female kayak symposium that adresses the challenges of cold water kayaking. Coaches are flown in from all over Europe, and this year Jannie Heegaard and Paulette Topsøe-Jensen arrived from Denmark, Tatiana Cappucci came from Italy, and Mia Kandstad from Tromsø and I represented the Norwegian female coaches. The symposium offers workshops on a large range of topic, catering to both beginners and more advanced kayakers, however all participants must be able to do both a buddy-rescue and some sort of a self rescue to be qualified for the symposium.
This year the coaches and the crew met on Wednesday June 8th to get to know each other and the area, to do a test run of the workshops, exchange ideas and learn from each other.
The first evening of the event is dedicated to getting used to the cold water, and to rescues. As the women were swimming around in the crystal clear waters to test their drysuits, the helicopter from Luftambulansen (the airborne ambulance) arrived to practice rescues from a kayak with us, and five lucky women got to be rescued by a handsome rescuer and airlifted onto the beach.
Here is Ingrid Berthinussen’s account of day one:
On Saturday I coached an all day workshop on leadership and group dynamics for a group where most of the participants were already instructors. This was a great chance to discuss and test methods for quickly creating an environment that induces learning and makes the group function as a single unit, for discussing and the differences between coaching and leadership. This enthusiastic group went all in, so we had an absolutely amazing workshop.
On the water we practiced advanced rescues, like “Hand of God”; where an unconscious kayaker is turned around by the rescuer, and also methods for rescuing unconscious kayakers floating in the water.
Here is a link to one of the participants, Ingrid Bertiniussen’s movie from the workshop:
On day 2 I coached an introduction to surfing workshop, and here are some pictures:
Here is Ingrid Berthinussen’s account of day 3: