Meet the Raft Team “Denmark Ladies”

It is always an honour and a pleasure to introduce another female team that has just started with the sport of rafting. At the global level, the number of women’s clubs is coming up to the males. Most of the countries with rafting teams have men’s and women’s teams now and it is only a few countries these days that only have a men’s teams. This is a great achievement for our sport, showing a fine level of equality many other sports are not achieving.

So we present this new female team coming from Denmark and who we will be able to watch at the Euro Cup in Austria and the European Championships in Slovakia, both in the R4 category.

To get to know them we spoke with Manja K Hansen, and asked her to introduce us to her team-mates and tell us something about each one.

“Martina Oliart captain, Pia Thomsen, Malene Nielsen and me Manja K Hansen with coach Teresa Petersen, make Raft Team “Denmark Ladies.

Denmark2Martina enjoys hiking a lot – she always has her trail shoes with her wherever she travels.

Denmark4Pia is also an elite handball player. Her interest in white water rafting started on a trip down The Mad Mile in Montana, USA. After this trip she kept trying to convince her friends to go on a rafting trip with her – but now she has found Raft Team Denmark Ladies to share these wild experiences with.

Denmark3Malene is very active with rafting, SUP and handball. She had to stop playing basketball when she decided to join Raft Team Denmark Ladies – there’s only 24 hours in a day.

Denmark1Manja’s second home is the gym, where she enjoys Crossfit, weightlifting and spinning, but in the summer months she prefers to ride her bike outside, SUP’ing and kayaking.”

Manja, tell us how you started to raft together?

“We’ve been rafting together since last summer, so we’re pretty new in this ‘game’. Martina and I both joined the club in the summer of 2012 and stuck to it without any other women to paddle with. Then Rafting Club Copenhagen (currently changing its name to Copenhagen Watersports) introduced SUP and Malene joined – her first time on white water rafting was in September 2013 for the Danish Championships in Sweden. Then Pia also joined, and we all agreed to try do something more about this sport we all love. It’s pretty tough paddling on the flat water on a regularly basis. Although we do take advantage of Sweden being our neighbour.”

This year you are planning to go to Austria and Slovakia, have you been there before?

“None of us have been in either Austria or Slovakia before, so we’re very excited about both trips! We’ve heard very good things about both places, since some of the guys from RCC/ CW have been competing in both places. They say that Wildalpen is an excellent place to start, and they’re very confident about us…”

What are your expectations for this competition?

“Our expectations for the Euro Cup are to do the best we’ve learned through this alternative way of practising for a white water competition. Since it’s our first competition, we like to see it as a good practice for us – preparing us for the Euro Champs.

We’re practising a lot of sprints on the flat water, which works out really well. Now spring is approaching we’ll be able to train with the guys on the water once a week, so we’ll be enjoying having another raft on the water to compete with. And believe me… we will give them a challenge!” – Yeah, but do not torture them too much, give them an advantage at the start ;) 

How do you prepare for this season?

Denmark5“The winter in Copenhagen has been pretty tough on us, leaving us with ice instead of water. Some days we’ve managed to find a hole in the ice and paddle sprints back and forth. But when that wasn’t possible, we focused on being stronger and better than yesterday with weightlifting, running, inside rowing, etc. The ice is gone now, so we meet up for water training once or twice a week. Since we don’t have white water in Denmark, we read white water books, play white water rafting board games, draw and explain hydrology, etc. We’re also practising knotting, searching for sponsors and strengthening the small muscles in our shoulders. After Euro Cup we’ll be able to meet up more often to train – we’ll find our focus points after EC, so we’ll be ready for the European Champs!” – Excellent preparation and study. 

What is the name of the book from which you learn?

Currently I’m reading a book our coach recommended: Franco Ferrero: White Water Safety & Rescue.

I hope that this book does not have rules about partying during the competition. There are often parties at these events and many teams have strict rules that during the competition none of them are allowed to attend the parties, except for the one at the very end. What kind of stance will you take on this issue?

“Ha ha, I like this question :) We don’t have any rules about this, since we only thought there was a party on the last day after all the competition. But, I don’t think we need to have rules about not going to parties during the competitions. We know what’s most important – also our little party animal :)”

Who are the sponsors that are helping you in your work?

As of right now our sponsors are:

Links to follow you?

Thank you Manja for helping us to get to know the Denmark ladies .

These girls are taking their new sport seriously and thoroughly preparing for the upcoming season. I’ll have a chance to meet them this year in person and I look forward to that.

Euro rafting events will be prettier with one more women’s team at the competitions this year.

Welcome, Denmark ladies!

Article by Nada