Matt, a Bluefin paddler and ‘Campervan man’ has written the below blog on his paddling experience in Lofoten, Norway. His vivid description alongside the amazing pictures has got us looking at the first flight out…
Every sport has its iconic arena. Football has Wembley, tennis has Wimbledon and basketball has The Madison Square Gardens. Even two thousand years ago gladiators had the Colosseum and now Mario Kart has that crazy rainbow road. If there had to be an unbeatable paddle boarding playground then it would be hard to look past the Lofoten Islands. This small archipelago which is magically strewn out of northern Norway has everything you could desire for the ultimate cruise out on the water. Beautiful blue waters? Of course. Monstrous mountains rising from the coast? Absolutely. Viking legends and myths of Dragons? Unquestionably. Sure, the Nordic tales aren’t on everyone’s checklist for a casual paddle, but it does excitingly galvanise what is possibly the most beautiful coastline in the world. Flying, fire-spewing beasts may only be around on our television screens nowadays, but this miraculous wonder is still rich in spectacles that will take your normal unignited breath away and leave you marvelling at the natural phenomenon’s surrounding you.
The wildlife is still incredible, albeit less likely to win you the Iron Throne. The seas surrounding Lofoten are rich with fish shimmering along beneath the surface whilst on the water’s edge reindeer can be seen rustling around the rich foliage. In summer there is a stirring possibility that you may catch a glimpse of a Humpback or Sperm whale breaching the surface and crashing back down into the dark depths and even Orcas have been spotted in the area. Whilst keeping an eye out for all this awe-inspiring activity, also remain watchful for Jellyfish. These creepy, brainless blobs of pain are prone to appearing out of the blue, only for you to notice as you glide over an armada of the venomous invertebrates. At this point, which is a crucial one, it is of paramount importance to not completely panic and tumble into a frenzied state of trepidation whilst wobbling in dismay over the flock of gelatinous immortals. Which I definitely did not do. If the hard, weathered locals of the remote fishing villages are not already questioning your sanity as you shakily stand atop the arctic waters in just a skimpy pair of trunks they certainly will be if you begin wildly flapping and squawking like a petrified pigeon out at sea. Instead of hysterically trying to take flight, relax yourself with reason and remember that these senseless sacks of water cannot attack and are easily dealt with by dipping a well-placed paddle into the water to calmly cruise away to safety.
The idyllic harbour of Reine is where my skirmish of the seas occurred but if you can avoid apprehensively glaring down into the water and look around what you will gaze upon is the charmingly remote fishing village which is the last settlement before reaching the end of the archipelago. This small corner of civilization is a great place to get out on the water to explore the relatively busy waterfront and to gain a different perspective of the town. You can drift under the bending bridges that make the islands connect or paddle up to a traditional red waterside hut on a remote outlay, or you can simply just admire the towering mountains which sprout out from the sea.
The best place to appreciatively gaze at the hair-raising landscape has to be Haukland Beach. In my brief existence, this is the most spectacular place I have ever been and the hardest one to drive away from. The white sand wouldn’t look out of place on the finest Australian beach whilst the clear blue water looks Caribbean (it still feels arctic though). Scenic mountains form the most amazing bay and the cliffs provide a perfect place to perch for the sunset. There are plenty of inlets and hidden coves to explore on the calm waters and it’s rare you’ll encounter anyone to distract you from the magical environment. If a more active and challenging place to paddle is desired, on the same island is Unstad beach, home to the most northernly surf school in the world. Similar in jaw-dropping beauty, this stretch of sand brings bigger waves and the chance to really test your balance as you paddle with them, back towards the smattering of small boulders which frequent the shore. Frankly, any beach or body of water in Lofoten will deliver a unique and marvellous chance for an unforgettable adventure on your paddleboard, just watch out for jellyfish. And Dragons.
Wow. A huge thank you to Matt, firstly, for this awesome blog contribution. If you’d like to hear more about his camper-van adventures, you can check out his Instagram here. Secondly, if you’d like to buy Matt’s board click here. Finally, if you want to get involved with our blog and have something to say then email us here.