Kumaran Mahalingam is the founder of Paddle for Future, a Chennai-based company that works towards helping the younger generation discover standup paddling. Upon receiving an invitation from SUP Norway’s founder, Titus Kodzoman, to lead three expeditions, he readily accepted it and went on to paddle his way through the Norwegian Fjords. By Kumar Shree
Kumaran Mahalingam showed his visionary side by bringing the sport of paddling, which is considered a hardcore sea sport for still waters, to India. Now, he is taking this idea to international frontiers. Till day, he has paddled for more than 5,500 km across water territories within India and abroad. Chennai’s Great Salt Lake, Maduganga swamps in Sri Lanka, the Langkawi Islands in Malaysia, and water bodies of Singapore and Austria are some of the outstanding destinations that he has ticked-off.
Talking about the magnificent Norwegian landscape, Mahalingam says, “It was one of the more spectacular landscapes I have seen. As a geologist, I was particularly interested because those fjords are still geologically active.”
Kumaran and his team of 11 students traced an inverted V pathway starting from the village of Gudvangen, travelling up to Nærøyfjord, and then coming back along Aurlandsfjord to Undredal. Further talking about the landscape, he adds, “The fjords are still being shaped by glaciers. Due to the glacial action for over a million years, you still have reverse water flowing in from the oceans, slowly cutting the landscape. We even saw rocks falling while we were paddling, that’s how active the landscape is!”
Talking about the hardships faced during the expedition, Kumaran recounts coming across strong crosswinds, heavy downpour, camping in the wild, and dealing with temperatures as low as one degree Celsius. “Once we had to take a call to skip camping in the wild for the comforts of electricity and hot showers in Undredal. We would have frozen otherwise. I couldn’t even hold the paddle,” he recounts.
Well, whenever you go out for an expedition in the wild as an attempt of getting closer to nature, a distance from the necessities and luxuries of life is evident. We sincerely hope what Kumaran and his team have achieved manages to inspire many more for taking up such expeditions and exploring the unexplored.