Sunday, October 21, 2018

Kayak building class, new video and classes for 2019

7 students from 4 different countries, ages 27-72... all finished in style with 7 different kayak projects. Each kayak tailored specifically to each person's body and personal needs.

This class was a really special one. Having so many skilled and resourceful persons around me fills me with energy and love. A huge thanks and good luck to each and every one of you - Roberto, Markku, Eirik, Hans Olav, Olav, Burghard and Ingolf. I sincerely hope to see you again soon!

Having finished the last big project this year, I immediately started planning some activities for next year. I'm very happy to announce next year's classes on my main web site. There will be two kayak building classes in Vestfossen and one in the US. Check out dates here:

Finally, a very nice surprise came up - video by my good friend Peter Gengler from this year's great Kayaking event in the US. Peter wasn't even there this year, but put together all other peoples movie clips to what has become a beautiful and inspiring video. Proud to see my daughter Sissel's smiling face in many of the sequences :) Enjoy!

Delmarva Paddler's Retreat 2018 from Peter Gengler on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Qajaq USA event and qajaq building class Vestfossen

Delmarva Paddlers Retreat - the big 30
 I've been so lucky to attend this wonderful Qajaq USA event for four times now and it just gets more and more fun to attend because you get to know people there so well. This year was the 30th ever Delmarva and number 18th of being a traditional Qajaq event only. There is a number of other Qajaq USA events and rumor has it that we are going to visit a hole new event next year.

Last year Jannie came with me, and this year we were lucky to be able to share it with my kids also. We got to stay two days in New York with Melanie and Milton before heading south, which was a great little adventure. At Delmarva Åsmund did a little mentoring and both Solveig and Sissel did some new rolls. And most important: we all got our seal of approval! 

Jannie had qajaq padding and strokes workshops and I did my first ever paddle making class in USA combined with a discussion panel and builders talking. This year the focus was on maker workshops and one could make mittens, seasocks, harpoons, floatbags or fit your qajaq/kayak or make paddles. 

Last my old mentor Svend Ulstrup attended also which gave me the chance to see him again. Svend build a new qajaq for the Qajaq USA fleet and everyone enjoyed and benefited from his large experience and number of good stories. 

Back home again I jumped right into a new building class. The last one in 2018. Seven handy people are working hard in this moment, to build a bunch of lovely skin on frames that should be finished at the end of this week.

Today the weather was very nice and warm for a fall day here in Norway So we decided to take a little break to give a short introduction to rolling and rescues in SOF Qajaqs.

Ooops... I almost forgot... there is a new paddle in the shop, Arnaq - a women's paddle. More on that one later. It deserves it's own blog post :)!

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Museum visit Poland

My good friend Alex recently went to Poland for a short vacation. He visited the Polish Maritime museum in Gdansk and sent me a few pictures. All showed the museum collection "boats of the world", but mainly one object - a Greenland style skin kayak.

They did a really nice job displaying this kayak and it's hunting equipment.

..I still remember how sore my hands were after sewing all that thick seal skin together back in year 1999 or so. And I remember the smell in my workshop. Still have some bits of that seal skin lying around.

This was a hard and frustrating job, and I learned a lot from it. I got the biggest respect for Greenlandic women and their sewing skills. A real eye-opener it was!

Alex posing with "my" kayak - Thanks for the pictures, Alex :)

Friday, August 17, 2018

An Aleut paddle around Scandinavia

Today there were visitors in the chapel. Erling had returned from his long trip around Scandinavia and came by to order a new paddle and say hello. His old paddle will be hung on his wall. The new one is for more kayaking. To those who want to know more, I will recommend the outstanding blog Stein and Erling wrote on their planned 7000 km. sea kayak journey:

Ering wrote to me during the expedition that he loved his 220 Aleut paddle that I made for him. He think he has the paddle to thank for effortless paddling without injuries, and that he might not have made the trip without this paddle. 

What surprised me the most was how little wear this light spruce paddle had taken after such a long journey! It barely needed maintenance. Edges of the blade were a bit dry, shaft too, and some epoxy was worn off the ends. I hope to soon offer an evening show here in Vestfossen with Erling and Stein telling stories and showing pictures from their trip around Sweden, Finland, Russia and Norway.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Outstanding students - last kayak building class this summer.

So the last kayak building class this summer comes to an end. The cars are loaded with brand new skin on frame kayaks - tiny Greenland style kayaks, tailored to their owner's measurements, and two beautiful Iqyax (baidarkas) with hatches, made for distance sea kayak touring.

They are on their way to their new homes as I write, going to Bologna, Copenhagen, Sicily and various Norwegian towns and cities.

Unfortunately, I had a few cancellations in the very last minute before the class started, last Saturday. That left me with a class of only 6 people. All showed up to be very skilled with their hands and got to finish their kayaks in good style a whole day ahead of schedule.
That left us with some extra time to make very fancy sea socks, paddles and start on the little details that are normally considered “homework” after class.

A huge thanks to all who made this a class to remember. Happy paddling everyone J

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Rolling instructor class

Having too little time to give rolling classes, Jannie and I started working on training of rolling instructors to meet the demand for rolling classes around here.

This weekend we scheduled a class that was signed up by 7 people with different skill levels from different clubs. They had in common that they all wanted to be better at teaching people how to roll a kayak.

Jannie did a great job sharing her huge knowledge and experience as a rolling instructor.

Theory class :)

Theory and practice...

...and lots of practice...
We had 5 people who wanted to learn different rolls come out, so that the new instructors had someone to practice on. 

Weather was as warm and beautiful as it could possibly be. The feedback from the great people attending was very good. I'm sure we will continue this class soon, and also schedule some new classes in the near future.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

May, so far...

After a kayak building class, I usually need to rest and do nothing for a couple of days. Luckily we had some guests from oversea just after the class.

Vernon Doucett and Ben Fuller came all the way from Nova Scotia and Maine, just to check out us, my beautiful chapel, Norway and a couple of museums. They are boat-building-kayak nerds as nerdy as they come. What a treat to have them here. Fortunately we will see them again at Delmarva this fall.

Did a little work on a new, far from finished kayak project - The plywood hull/fabric deck Greenland style kayak. Jannie helps with the project - seems I have a new apprentice here.

Still wondering if we should call it plyaq? unfinished kayak seat tested.

It obviously performed well. With Jannie in it, it performed perfectly in the water. No sound, no bow wave, fast and stable... 

It also rolled well. The rollability test for me is to do a forward ending handroll. It worked well on first try. Water temperature didn't permit a lot of rolling though.

As Vernon and Ben went off to Bergen for a couple of days, Jannie and I went kayaking. In the meantime, spring has really come fast, and we experienced summer like temperatures on the local waters.

Applying for membership in the old men's club....

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Kayak building class

I have seldom laughed so much for so many days :) 

We did the year's first kayak building class this week. As usual, people from different countries and different parts of Norway gathered for 8 days to build each their own kayak. 

Thank you again, Rune, Cormac, Ina, Bjørn, Bjørn, Petter and Jannie :) 

By the way, great kayaks also :)

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Paddling again

About time to get out paddling again? Well, the local waters are all frozen. I crossed my nearest lake the other day on skis.Temperatures are still below -10 at night, and during daytime they crawl up around zero :)

However, The sun has been shining for a few days now, and I took the rare opportunity to paddle a bit in the near Vestfold archipelago. Put together a few living images:

Winter paddling from anders thygesen on Vimeo.

Here I paddle my newest ixyaq (baidarka) It is only 48 cm. wide and 5,5 meters long. It is still very stable and I don't feel the least uncomfortable, even in big breaking waves (which didn't happen this day).

It's fast, no need to say that... and it weights only 14 kilo. I made it very light on purpose, so that it wouldn't stress my stressed out lower back when lifting it up and down and around..

New project on the move in the shop.... stay tuned :)

Monday, March 19, 2018

More work in the shop

There has been a lot of work to do lately, and I'm slowly doing progress on several projects.
There are paddles to make, Kayaks to build and classes to be held. It's all good, and the best part is that the days are getting still longer. Even though the temperature is keeping a constant level of below -10 degrees C and the snow is still piled up 2 meters above the ground outside, I can feel how nature is preparing for spring. Birds are singing and there are short periods of sunlight now and then.

Paddles for Italy

Finishing an Ixyaq for a British guy

Sewing tools

Preparing paddle making classes

Finishing this great class with Oslo kayak club..

Happy paddling :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Back in the shop

It feels like such a long time since I last had on my work clothes. First I've had this pain in my back, which has been pretty disabling. Then certain machines and tools needed repair and maintenance. Then there was the trip to Japan, and then the cold.... There has been a long period now with average temperatures of -15 c. and my electric heating can't make the workshop comfortable in such conditions.

Today the temperature was only -5 and I got started on a few practical work projects.. finally!

This beautiful Ixyaq is right now being tailor made for a customer. I finished the hull and started working on the deck.

...and found this little plane that i bought in Japan to be the perfect tool for trimming the stringers that form the hull to perfect shape!

This is a qajaq I built years ago. I started removing the old canvas. This is so tough work. The plan is to re-skin it for the owner, and make a fancy new sea sock "Klepper" style.

Skin came off nicely and it seems the frame doesn't need any kind of repair.

My new refrigerator magnet "Maneki-neko" along a message from my Italian friend. They fit nicely together. The text says "Don't forget to be happy". I'll try to keep that in mind :)