Polarbears and Paddleboards

First published on Sidetracked online.


Ideas for unique adventures to embark on are becoming increasingly difficult to unearth. However, we think we’ve come across such a one. A team of ten will attempt to Stand Up Paddleboard up the Sermilik Fjord in Greenland to reach the towering Helheim Glacier. A 100km journey that has never been attempted before. Sidetracked caught up with team member Phil Sayers to find out how they intend to pull off this feat.

Sidetracked: So how did you get involved in all of this?

Phil Sayers: Paul Hyman and Justin Miles originally came up with the concept of taking Paddleboarding to an extreme and remote location like the Arctic to prove how safe and accessible Stand Up Paddleboarding is. The idea for the project evolved over the following months and once they mentioned the project to me I knew that this was an adventure of a lifetime and immediately said that I would love to be a part of it. The expedition is an opportunity to visit one of the most stunning landscapes on the planet; the project also has the potential to help change lives through the charities we are supporting and introduce new people to this exciting new water sport that we are all so passionate about.

Have you been trying to replicate the conditions of Greenland in your training? E.g. going out on your board in speedos so you can get used to the cold?

The UK weather has come up trumps over the last few months for providing conditions similar to what we are expecting to find in Greenland. We anticipate the water temperature in August to be around freezing and the air temperature to be between 5-10 degrees, so the extended winter conditions have been ideal.

SUP is quite an exposed way of travelling, what gear will you be wearing in case you fall in to the water?

We are currently testing a variety of clothing and equipment to take on the expedition including; dry suits, base layers, wetsuits, wetsuit socks, dry boots and various gloves and mitts. The main factors that we need to consider are: keeping our feet warm as these will be in contact with the water for the majority of time; and selecting clothing that will prevent us becoming too hot while paddling, but at the same time ensuring we are protected in case we fall into the freezing water. The training and expedition will give us the opportunity to find out what water sports kit works well in cold conditions and if there is a need for developing new clothing and equipment to ensure people are able to paddle all year round. We will be working closely with manufacturers to help develop equipment specifically for the SUP market.

Read the full interview on Sidetracked’s website here.


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