Olivia’s top tips for kayaking

Olivia Idh

Olivia enjoys discovering both the nature and city of Kalmar from the kayak.

The sea and the water have always been vital parts of life for Olivia Idh. When she suddenly found a used, quality kayak online, she just went for it immediately. Since that day, she has spent many hours paddling in and around Kalmar. Below are some of her top tips for anyone eager to head out themselves.

Olivia grew up in Västerås, and the summers of her childhood were filled with sailing, paddling and other watersports. After graduation she spent a couple of years abroad, and tried her hand at surfing and diving. Olivia came to Kalmar in 2018, to study at the Linnaeus University.

Once she had finished her studies, she was temporarily hired as a tourism communicator at Destination Kalmar, where she provides tips to visitors about exciting things to do in and around Kalmar. In her spare time, she enjoys making her own trips and outings, so the kayak she bought sees a lot of use.

– Kalmar is perfect for paddling. The entire city is built on islands, and there is a long coastline to explore. And there are so many nice little bays and canals, which are really great if you do not want to paddle on the open sea, she says.

What’s the best thing about paddling?

– The freedom, the peace, and being so close to nature – mixed with the excitement of discovering places that you would not reach otherwise. For me, it’s the perfect thing to do when I need to clear my head and recharge.

What’s your preferred time of year to go paddling?

– I have to say I do prefer paddling in the summers, when the sun is nice and warm, and the sea breeze is mild. In colder weather, paddling becomes a lot more about exercise. On a warm summer’s day, though, it’s just pure delight!

– So far I have mostly been out in the summer, and in the early autumn. It’s more comfortable, and at that, less dangerous in case you fall in. Even if you are an experienced paddler, I feel it’s wise to really think things through before you go out in colder, rougher conditions.

It is a good feeling to pull the kayak onto a beach for some morning coffee and a snack, says Olivia.

And what time of day is your favourite time to go out?

– I love heading out there early in the morning. Ideally, there should be a light mist on the water, fading as the sun rises and the heat intensifies. Once the sun has risen properly, there is nothing better than pulling the kayak onto a beach to have some morning coffee and a bite to eat.

Do you have a really nice kayaking memory you’d like to share with us?

– Oh, there are just so many! One of my top three is when I went night paddling with the Kalmar Kajak group last year. It was truly something special to glide through a dark and silent Kalmar at night, with just our headlamps and a few distant streetlights to guide us.

– I also have a very compelling memory of a childhood incident, when I was paddling through some rapids with my father, and accidentally hit a rock, which made my canoe tip over. All our things were washed away by the river, and it took a long time before we found the last few things floating in the lake a bit further ahead. We were soaking wet by then, from head to toe. A bit dramatic, but so much fun!

The best thing with kayaking is the freedom, the peace, and being so close to nature – mixed with the excitement of discovering places that you would not reach otherwise.

Olivia Idh

In Kalmar, what are your favourite paddling spots?

– If you want some lovely outdoor scenery, I think you should paddle around Stensö, and all the little islands of Västra sjön. If you start at the city centre, you will also go past Kalmar Castle on your way there, as well as the beautiful coastline along the Kalmarsund park and Långviken.

– Another very scenic route is the waterway toward Svinö and Bergavik. If the wind permits, you can take the opportunity to paddle beneath the Öland bridge. It’s pretty spectacular to feel as small as that makes you.

– There’s also the option of paddling in a more urban setting, and get a chance to check out a few of the city’s landmarks. For one thing, I enjoy paddling around the moat of Kalmar Castle, through the canal at Västerport, and around the water at Kattrumpan and Varvsholmen. If you paddle between Varvsholmen and Ängö, you will see some very modern houses on one side, and these really idyllic fishermen’s cottages on the other. That’s really a place to experience the stark and exciting contrasts between the old and the new that you find in Kalmar.

Olivia's hints

  1. Preferably, don’t paddle alone. If you do, tell someone where you will be, just in case something does go wrong.
  2. Bring plenty of water and something to eat. You will get dehydrated faster than you think, and you might need to top up your energy. Stopping for a coffee break is really nice, too.
  3. Keep a close eye on the weather report, and don’t take any unnecessary risks. It’s important that you are always able to make it home in a safe manner.
  4. It’s better to stay close to the shore. In case you fall into the water and can’t make it back to the kayak, it’s best if you are able to quickly swim ashore.
  5. Last but not least: make sure you sit back every now and then, to take in all the beauty that surrounds you!
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Page published by: Destination Kalmar