There are a lot of reasons to do difficult things. Some people like to win. Some people like to learn something new. And some people simply like to challenge themselves. Casper Steinfath is a world champion stand-up paddler. He’s won countless races and six world titles. In the world of SUP, Steinfath is a superstar. But after all was said and done, all the trophies and wins he’d racked up felt a little hollow.
“It’s hard for me to talk about. As a kid I loved challenges,” he told Red Bull’s Will Gray. “Becoming a world champion in SUP was one of those and to have done so is awesome, I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved. But just training to become stronger, that doesn’t do it for me. That urge to learn new things and climb new mountains is still inside me – and maybe that’s where this whole ‘Viking Crossing’ came into play.”
The Viking crossing he’s talking about is the Skagerrak Strait. It’s a finger of water the separates the North Sea from the Baltic, and it is an exceptionally violent piece of the world. It’s generally considered one of the most dangerous stretches of water there is, and Steinfath has a particular relationship with it. He grew up in Klitmoller, Denmark (also known as Cold Hawaii), so he’s been looking at the piece of water and hearing stories about sailors who tried to cross it since he was a boy. At some point, the idea to become the first person to cross it on a SUP entered his head.