Icicles on the pogies. A frozen map. Cool and stiff cheeks. A chilly wind from the North but also a divine steaming hot tub, fresh seafood and great company. Our TV project about paddling on the Swedish west coast took us to the fishing villages of Grebbestad and Fjällbacka at the end of last week and we were rewarded with exactly the conditions we were hoping for.
Facing Waves is a TV series about all types of paddling: sea kayaking, lakes, rivers, whitewater, open canoeing and paddleboarding. We have been commissioned to film an episode for this TV series in cooperation with the West Sweden Tourist Board and the Canadian production company Heliconia. During the course of one year, with me as the TV host (I have no idea how THAT happened), I will meet up with people with strong local connections in different parts along the coast in Bohuslän, West Sweden. All of them are in one way or another involved in the tourist industry and the majority of them have some kind of paddling connection.
The idea with this project is to highlight the enormous variety of paddling experiences you can get in this part of Sweden and also to showcase paddling at different times of the year. Summer paddling in July is obviously wonderful (most of the time at least) but what holds you back from kayaking in the archipelago in October? Or March? Of course, you need experience and knowledge about how the different seasons affect you from a safety perspective, but if you are unsure, there are lots of skilled and trained guides and competent kayaking centers to choose from. Visit the Tourist Board’s paddling website for more inspiration.
I really got excited when we had a GO on this project. Having paddled and lived in Bohuslän for almost sixteen years, it is such a pleasure to showcase this paddlers paradise for millions of people around the world who are watching Facing Waves. I have paddled in quite a few places on this planet and also done a solo expedition along the whole of Sweden’s coastline but I can easily say that this area is my all time favourite paddling place. Nowhere are the islands more beautiful, the sun more magical and the smells of nature more intense.
During this project, Bohuslän has really shown all its different sides to us. During the summer session we had stunning weather with clear blue skies and a big fat sun in the sky. It was t-shirt weather and we had lovely days on the water. Well, at least ON the water. IN the water it was still a bit cool, I have to admit. Especially when we were going to shoot underwater footage from the snorkel trail at island of Sydkoster. After forty minutes of X number of retakes I was stiff like an icicle and would have loved to have a sauna at hand. At least the footage came out alright, Lukasz said.
Nowadays, we don’t really get any long, snowy winters here on the Swedish west coast. So when we woke up one morning in December and saw that the garden was plastered with snow, we had to be quick to write a script and make a decision to go filmning. Mr Lucky was really on our side and we got some amazing footage of a winter wonder paddling landscape.
The island of Tjörn was wearing her finest winter dress and there and then we once again realised that we have an amazing adventure office. It’s easy to forget sometimes when the editing stress creeps up on us, the camera isn’t playing game, the weather is going ballistic and the computer decides not to wake up in the morning. But being in the outdoors while working is a real bliss and I wouldn’t want to change it for anything else.
So slowly but surely we are ticking the boxes in the project and last week we had some lovely (but cool days) up in Grebbestad and Fjällbacka. We had the luxury to sleep indoors at Everts Sjöbod and we spent time on the water with Torbjörn, Kathrine and Bosse from Nautopp Kayak Center Grebbestad. If you want to get to know more about the wonderful people we met during the filming sessions, keep an eye on the Facing Waves website. The episode is planned to air sometime during autumn/winter later this year.
I can’t wait to get out in my kayak again but first I need to focus on Halvvasan, which is a 45 km Nordic ski race that is coming up in two weeks time. Better get those skis waxed and hit the ski tracks I think.