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Kokatat Hops on the “Shetland Bus”

Kokatat Paddlers Attempt 1st North Sea Kayak Crossing Between Shetland Islands and Norway

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During World War Two, when the Germans occupied Norway, Norwegian fishermen traversed the inhospitable North Sea between the Shetland Islands and the west coast of Norway carrying agents, saboteurs and arms into Norway and to aid refugees in their escape. These daring operations became known as the “Shetland Bus”.

Three Kokatat sponsored paddlers will add their mark to the historic route when they attempt the first kayak crossing of the 388-kilometre open ocean course this week. On July 16th, Patrick Winterton, Mick Berwick and Olly Hicks will launch from Lerwick, Shetland, in commemoration of the seafaring achievements of all those involved in the Shetland Bus operation and raise funds for the Make a Wish Foundation and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

“We don’t need to tell anyone that three nights in a kayak on the North Sea won’t be much fun,” said Winterton. “We hope that our misery will help us help others in need.”

The goal for the expedition is to raise over £15,000 for the RNLI and The Make a Wish Foundation. The team is seeking the help from paddlers around the world to support its mission by donating £3.88, one penny per mile, at

In contrast to the Norwegian fisherman who would only sail when the conditions were bad enough to ground the German Luftwaffe, the expedition will attempt the 388 km trip from Lerwick to Bergen over three days in July with a fair forecast. During the last 44 nautical miles of the expedition, one mile in memory of each man lost during the operation, Winterton, Berwick, and Hicks will race to the finish at the Shetland Bus memorial in Bergen.

Kokatat has equipped the paddlers with PFD’s and its legendary GORE-TEX® Dry Suits to keep them warm and protect them in the cold and hostile Northern Sea environment. The team will also be carrying Kokatat GORE-TEX® Storm Cags for additional comfort when they rest and for protection in an emergency situation.

The journey is expected to take at least four days and three nights, with the team expecting to land in Bergen, Norway on July 19th. Each team member will prepare a standard single sea kayak carrying enough supplies of food and water for seven days along with the compulsory satalite phones, satellite trackers, GPS, EPIRB, flares, and Kokatat dry suits. Throughout the crossing sat-phone contact will be made with base every 6 hours to pin point position.

The team expects to get between 2-4 hours rest in each 24-hour period. As far as possible they will drink every 20 minutes, eat every hour and take a twenty-minute catnap every four hours. The best way to stay warm at night is to paddle, but it is also the easiest way to get seasick. Depending on conditions, the team will try to sleep through the darkest 2-3 hours of the night provided it is calm enough to do so. Insulated cockpits, Blizzard Survival heat packs and Reed kayak tents will keep the paddlers warm while they sleep.

About Kokatat Watersports Wear: 

Celebrating 40 years of innovation, Kokatat is an independently operated, US manufacturer of technical apparel and accessories for water sports. Handcrafted in Arcata, California, Kokatat employees are focused on building the finest functional product for people who work and play on water. Our gear is designed for paddlers, by paddlers, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience on the water all year long and in all weather conditions. Into the water with Kokatat! Please visit and follow Kokatat on Facebook and Twitter “@kokatat”.