Day 2: Suuri Pisi – Majasaari – Kuutsalo

2nd day if the coastal paddle trip

The paddling and route taken was affected by the strong north winds. The day stated out sunny but was chilly from the get go. Temperatures didn’t get much better once it got cloudy and random rainshowers


crossed our paths! Winds were roughly 6-8 m/s but during the rain showers I suspect gust peaks were 12-14 m/s.

The 3 hours we paddled in above described headwinds. After reaching the northern tip of Kuorsalo we turned westward and had a sidewind. In a couple crossings the waveheights were in the 40-60 cm range. Quite manageable but tiring and tense paddling as the waves coming in came from two different directions.

I had a chance to use my SeaDog Commander sail for about 8 Kms.I had it reefed the whole time due to the sudden gusts that kept bombarding us at rabdom moments. The sail worked nicely even when reefed and especially in the above mentioned conditions! On one occasion when we were passing thru a narrow straight between two Islands, with a gusting tailwind the kayak was cruising along @ 7 km/h with no aid of paddle! ( kayak fully loaded + sailed reefed!) . However in the afternoon I took down the sail due to the strengthing of the gusts + waves from the side that were approx 60cm high.

At one point Marko’s kayak hit some underwater obstacle with a LOUD bang! Inspection, revealed a two fair sized gouges in the forward area of the hull about the size of a 50 eurocent coins. One gouge was center keel on the kevlar and the second one was approx 12 cm next to the first one. Both exactly where the forward bulkhead is located!!! Guessing on how the gelcoat was gone and the laminates had turned white, I would wager that the hull would have been holed, had the impact hit anywhere else than where the forward bulkhead was located.

Quick assesment was made and due to the cold weather we decided to wash, dry and patch up the dings with gorillatape and continue onwards. It was too cold to mess about with epoxy anyways.. some 13 C.


The day passed by quickly and passing thru the straights between Kuutsalo and Kirkkomaa we realized the cold the wind and the waves had tired us considerably. It was time to call it a day. We found a decent campsite on the southern shore of Kuutsalo.


Day 1: Virojoki-Hurppu-Suuri Pisi

First day of the Finnish coastal paddle

First day on the water. First time in medium wind and waves with a fully loaded Beaufort! Not bad. After some getting used to the whims of the Beaufort the going was easy and fast.


The wind was blowing from the north around 6 m/s with gusts maybe upto 10+m/s. Fortunately for us thus meant an easygoing tail wind with some opportunities for short surfs! According to my gps top speed in a surf todaywas 11.2 km/h( no sail!!) ! With a fully loaded kayak as well!



Camp @ Suuri Pisi. A wonderful isle with nice views on the westely beach. Only minus was the ten trillion mozzies that were blood frenzy thirsty… It hasnt been this bad in a long while.


The weather forecast for the next two days is a strengthening North wind, so we will probably first head north to hug the coast as we start a trudge towards the west.

Modifying my Helinox camp chair

The Helinox camp chair is a brilliant piece of deluxe camping equipment that one cannot be without.. but for one little detail: use in sandy terrain! The spindly legs arent very good in soft/sandy conditions! They sink into the sand!

Enter the fyzzy yeller ball!  Drill a hole into the ball, insert ball in leg. Voila! El problemo solved!

Thanks Eiver!

Making a spare paddle

I’d been so busy making paddles for others that I’d forgotten my own needs completely!

My new Beaufort being the shortest kayak I own has as a result a shorter fore-deck than the others. Normally I have a spare paddle stowed on the fore deck for quick and easyish access, in case of sudden need. My preferred spare paddles have been Greenland Paddles (GP) normally about 206-210 cm long, blade width of some 90mm and a loom length (on a shouldered blade) of about 50cm.

My normal GP’s were a bit too wide and a tad too long to fit the fore deck of the Beaufort WITH sail installed. So I needed make a slightly smaller stick.

I would need the spare paddle for the upcoming coastal paddle which was to start off in about 2½ weeks so I would be busy yet.

After some head scratching and dry fitting I deiced to make a simple shoulderless GP 200cm long, loom = 40 cm and blade width 88mm.

I found a ready made paddle blank I’d made some years back. It was made from two strips of nordic pine (pinus sylvestris)  sapwood, with a touch of sapwood at one end. While heavier, approx 540 kg/m3 @ 18%, than the much raved Western Red Cedar (WRC) the benefit of the nordic pine is that it is easily available, cheap and alot stronger  AND harder wearing than WRC. Perfect choice for a spare paddle which will get its fair share of bangs and misuse.

Paddle outline cut and planed.
Paddle outline cut and planed.
After the outline is ready the side outline is pencilled in.
After the outline is ready the side outline is penciled in.
Then its just alot of ole elbow grease! Despite all the hype out there, my smartphone was of no help at this stage!! ;)
Then its just a lot of ole elbow grease to thin the paddle blades! Despite all the hype out there, my smartphone, internet or wifi was of no help at this stage!! 😉
The blade width is 88mm and the staright portion is 400mm long. Blade thickness at tip is approx 10mm
The blade width is 88mm and the straight portion is 400mm long. Blade thickness at tip is approx 10mm
A minor disaster struck! A pitch pocket! right at the tip of the blade! Since this is a backup for meself, and I’m kinda in a rush and am not too picky.. I decided to continue…
.. I scraped and whittled out the excess pitch, then I made a batch of epoxy, tinted it into a reddish orange, kinda like what pitch looks like, and filled the pocket with said concoction.
After final shaping and sanding the paddle it was time to make required markings with pyrography pen . In addition to year of make and initials, I also like to burn the paddle dimensions. In this case: 200 (cm overall length) x 40 (cm loom length) x 88 (mm blade max width)
Here the paddle has a coat of wood oil and maybe 1 or 2 layers of Le Tonkinois Varnish.. still 2-3 more to go
Not the prettiest paddle out there, but it will make do, I’ve used worse and lived.

Since you’ve read this far its only fair to give some prize for the perseverance! 🙂

Paddle details:
  • length: 200 cm
  • blade max width: 88mm
  • loom length: 40 cm
  • Blade edge thickness 5mm
  • blade tip thickness 10mm
  • loom cross section = oval; width 28mm, thickness 32mm
  • Final weight: 1036 g


SUP paddle part II

Part II, continuation for blog post A new prototype: SUP paddle part I

To finally finish the SUP paddle pair I started building way back when.. I needed to do the most annoying bit: sanding and varnishing !!! Basicly its a simple chore, so simple that its easy to botch and then the end result looks cheap… so much for all that painstaking woodwork! 😉

So its time to confess. I’m probably a laziest sander I know and my varnishing skills are pretty poor, but in my defence I only make things that get banged up, scratched, misused, and usually at some point broken… so if the varnishing isn’t top-notch I suppose it doesnt matter much in the end? 😉

So the sanding. Yes, its booring. I won’t go into that other than despite its tediousness.. Its actually an important part of the process!! Don’t skip it! I start out usually with grit 80 -> 120-> 180-> 240 after that its time to varnish! Sometimes I start varnishing after 180. Sanding between every 2-3varnish layers I use 3m scotchbrite pads (or similar).

For the past 5 years or so I’ve mainly used the following method for varnishing my wooden paddles:

  1. Pre-impregnation with Hempel Wood Impreg oil
  2.  4-7 layers of varnish, Le Tonkinois Brand. Light sanding between every 2-3 layers
  3.  redo varnishing as needed, usually after each season
Varnish: Le Tonkinois. Impregnation oil : Hempel Wood impreg. Here pictured is an old can (leftovers) of Wood Impreg1 which has been discontinued and replaced by “Wood Impreg”.. Not sure what the difference is between the two.. probably the new version is “less toxic” or some such thing…?

This cocktail seems to work nicely. Le Tonkinois seems to hold on better than urethane-alkyd varnishes out there! ‘Le Tonk’ is more expensive, but on wooden paddles you don’t need that much! Varnishing approx 6 paddles with 4 coats I use slightly less than 0.5 liters of varnish!  One of the greatest things about ‘Le Tonk’ is that the paddle shaft doesnt feel slippery when wet, when it has been varnished with ‘Le Tonk’!

‘Le Tonk’ is an natural wood oil varnish.  Consists of linseed oil, Tung oil and some other ‘natural’ ingredients. It doesnt require hazmat suits, its quite easy to apply with brush, is durable, has  nice UV protection. Works nicely on paddles! It is my “go to” choice!

Le Tonkinois Varnish brings out the wood grains quite nicely! Here is the wallhange paddle with Walnut blade.
Le Tonkinois Varnish brings out the wood grains quite nicely! Here is the wallhange paddle with Walnut blade.
The handle of the lighter paddle, pine version
Pine paddle handle- sideview
The two paddles varnished x 4 layers : Pine paddle (on left) is 190 cm long and final weight is 966g. Probably slightly heavy, but hopefully usable? Walnut paddle (on right) is 180 cm long weight: 1105g = wallhanger.. well maybe I'll try it out after I built meself a SUP board? ;)
The two paddles varnished x 4 layers : Pine paddle (on left) is 190 cm long and final weight is 966g. Probably slightly heavy, but hopefully usable? Walnut paddle (on right) is 180 cm long weight: 1105g = wallhanger.. well maybe I’ll try it out after I build meself a SUP board? 😉