I write this blog primarily for my friends and paddle colleagues, but maybe it can be of interest for other seakayakers in Switzerland and abroad – and perhaps also for people with mobility impairments, who enjoy nature, roaming outdoors and water sports, just as I do.  And of course especially for other handicapped paddlers – I would like to get in contact.

Juli 2011

Baden, Schwimmen, Tauchen – im Wasser fuehle ich mich, seit meiner Kindheit, kaum behindert – und richtig wohl.

Frueher mal, waehrend weniger Jahre, mit Begeisterung auf Wildwasser gepaddelt, auch (ein paar) Slalom- und Abfahrtsrennen auf (leichterem) Wildwasser gefahren. Ans Wildwasser kaeme ich jedoch, im Rollstuhl oder mit den Krücken, heute (noch) weniger gut als frueher – zudem gehoere ich seit kurzem auch schon zu den Seniorinnen. Trotzdem: Traeume soll man leben, bevor es zu spaet wird. Statt auf Wildwasser koennte ich ja auf Seen und einfachen Fluessen paddeln. Mit einem Wildwasserboot kommt  man  jedoch nicht besonders schnell vorwaerts, das duerfte langweilig werden. Vielleicht waer ein Seekajak was fuer mich …? Immerhin wohne ich in der Nähe des Zuerichsees. Ausserdem gaebe es mit einem solchen Boot auch noch die Moeglichkeit,  auf dem Meer zu paddeln!

Nach zahlreichen Recherchen im Internet und bei Seekajakanbietern (leicht, wendig aber dennoch stabil sollte das Boot sein)  einen Pilgrim NDK aus UK bestellt – und gespannt gewartet (drei Monate). Dann ging es jedoch erst richtig los:  wie kann das neue Boot so eingerichtet werden, dass ich einigermassen stabil sitze und das Boot auch im bewegten Wasser führen  kann?? Zum Glueck bin ich bei der Suche auf Matthias Fausch von Orthomodul gestossen!

Mit meinem Pilgrim war ich von Ende April bis Mitte Juli 2011:

am  Obersee (Zuerichsee), auf dem Zugersee, auf dem Rhein (von Stein am Rhein bis Schaffhausen), am Walensee, am Luganersee, und am Bodensee


*  Silvaplana- und Silsersee, im Engadin (mit TiKayaK)

*  Ausfluege im Meer vor Elba (seakayak Italy)

*  Parco di Portofino (TiKayak) – wo ich zu Fuss oder im Rollstuhl nie hinkaeme…

Auf diesem Blog werde ich immer mal wieder von meine Erlebnissen beim und mit dem Kajaken berichten. Dank einem laengeren Urlaub, den ich im September 2011 nehmen darf, habe ich die (ziemlich einmalige) Gelegenheit, ausserhalb der Schulferien während dreier Wochen am Meer paddeln zu koennen.

Ich habs auch mit verschiedenen anderen Sportarten versucht, durchaus mit Freude, siehe Bild unten beim Rollstuhltennis (vor inzwischen bald 6 Jahren), aber es hat mich immer wieder zum Wasser zurückgezogen:

playing wheelchairtennis (summer 2006)

I’ll try to translate the informations in this blog (to some extent), for those who don’t understand german. Having beeing handicapped since birth, I really love watersports, as in water I feel much less handicapped.  I went whitewater kayaking, with passion, despite my limitations. For several reasons (family, work) there has been a very long interruption of my kayak activities. I tried other sports, for example wheelchair tennis (see the picture above), but over the last years I noticed how much I was longing to paddle again. I was much aware that paddling again would need  a lot of time and effort.  Last September I took my old whitewater boat on the lake Zuerich a few times. Little by little I started thinking about a new kayak, a seakayak. For one, with a seakayak you can reach a higher speed on lakes, but more important was another reason: access to lakes (and even the sea) is, for someone in wheelchair,  easier than the access to most whitewater rivers. Knowing I always will have to rely on some help  from others (to carry my boat and for loading it on my car) I had to do a lot of planning and research, contacting clubs and shops around Switzerland – and virtually on the Web (hours and hours). Some people may consider all these efforts a little crazy, at my age, but when you take into consideration that I’m much more free to move on the water than an ground, perhaps you can understand my commitment…

I already met a lot of helpful people, and so, in the few months since april till july, I’ve  been on some of the many lakes in Switzerland (Lake Zug, Walensee, Lake Constance etc.) and also on the river Rhine. By kayak I can get in places where I could never go by wheelchair. So even if I – not beeing really young anymore – will  not be able to paddle for many years to come, it is worth it…

My next projects: the Engadine lakes (with TiKayak) – and the sea around Elba (with Seakayak Italy).

I would really like to make progress again with my paddling – and yes, there are a few special problems for someone like me. The challenge for a disabled kayaker is however not the paddling, but first and foremost getting to the water, the transport of the boat  – and all that stuff. There are not many disabled kayakers around – but there are a few who are trying to “go ahead”. I would like to get in touch with them – even if you don’t live nearby. Exchanging about our experiences could be interesting.

Click on the link to see me during a slalom race, approximately thirty years ago (probably around 1982):

kayak slalom Bremgarten (Reuss)

6 Responses to “About”

  1. 1 Tatiana C. 16/10/2012 at 19:15

    Ciao Denyse, I’m very happy to “know” you through your blog!
    Hope to paddle with you, sooner or later!
    Kisses from Italy

    • 2 esyned 16/10/2012 at 19:30

      Ciao Tatiana, ho visto le belle foto della vostra settimana in Sicilia (con un po’ di invidia)! Grazie del commento – spero proprio di poterti incontrare sull’acqua ben presto! Baci, De

  2. 3 gnarlydog 16/07/2012 at 01:11

    Interesting blog (I only have read parts of it so far) and your approach to paddling. It may of interest to you a project (currently seeking investors) to develop a kayak for paddlers with mobility problems that would make them independent. The Hybrid Foundation incorporates a design in the kayak to allow access to the water for wheelchair paddlers.
    Details here: http://www.hybridfoundation.org.au/

    • 4 esyned 18/07/2012 at 18:01

      Hi gnarlydog, thanks for your comment. I went to see your blog; one of your sentences I could subscribe to: I seek waters that offer a bit of excitement and unpredictability, where I have to use my body and bracing to keep myself upright. That’s the reason why I find the wheelchair project you mentioned interesting, but not for myself. Anyway it’s nice to see that efforts are made for paddlers with mobility problems. I’ll continue to read your blog. Greetings from Switzerland!

  3. 5 Johan C. 03/08/2011 at 15:32

    It is a creative and inspiring blog you have.

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