One of my uber sea kayaking heroes once again earns the kudos. Last Saturday, Rowland Woollven coach and guide in Oban, Scotland completed his circumnavigation of Great Britain by sea kayak. Rowland is the 19th person to have made the journey, but the real stand out for me is that he’s the first person to complete the circumnavigation using a “traditional” or Greenland Paddle. It was not long ago that people were saying that Greenland paddles were not sufficient or ideal for such adventures. Well, we all knew better, didn’t we?!
It’s impossible to express the challenge of sea kayaking around Great Britain. It’s 2118 nautical miles of some of the most unforgiving ocean & rugged coastline that the planet has to offer. Rowland, who began this attempt in 2008 was hit with his share of delays and disappointments, but just wouldn’t let go of the dream. In the end his strength of will and character brought him through to an amazing personal victory.
On a personal note, I remember the first time I met Rowland some years ago while at a symposium in Bodega Bay, California. I’d seen him once before in a video by Justine Curgenven and was totally star-struck.. (That happens sometimes!) Next thing I know he’s in the water and I’m supposed to rescue him in foamy, sloppy water as he was slowly being carried up toward some menacing rocks. Being from Wisconsin, I had only learned one rescue style and was stuck in a mental box, trying to accomplish it the only way I knew how. What’s more, I was processing at the speed of a Coleco, simply because I had never been in a kayak on the sea before, and not in any sort of choppy conditions. Next thing I know Rowland, who was bobbing in the waves shouts “What the hell are you doing?” That woke me up! Yeah, that’s why I like this guy! LOL!
Congratulations Dude! I’m so happy for you! Oh, and maybe you could shave now..
* photos provided by Rowland Woollven. Use by permission. Thank you!.