Riikka Juutilainen


Hey, my name is Riikka Juutilainen. I am a 20-year-old Bachelor of Hospitality Management student from Joutseno and this summer I work at Lappeenranta's tourist information.

Kayaking for the first time in the Great Lake Saimaa

Kirjoittanut Riikka Juutilainen  Luotu 23.08.2016

Before the trip I was trying to figure out what to bring with me and place on the waterproof storage compartment on the back of the kayak and what to leave at home. As I only did a three hour trip I didn’t need that much gear but I reckon you could fit more than two backpacks in the storage compartment of the kayak. You can place your map and you water bottle on the reachable straps located in front of your seat in the kayak.

Easy start at the Sandcastle

Getting in the kayak was surprisingly easy and I was feeling really confident after I got settled in. The kayak was stable after few meters and it felt like I was sitting on an easy seat and that I could do anything I wanted and that the kayak wouldn’t flip upside down. My friend felt a bit wobbly with his kayak for a long while but by fixing his position he started to feel a lot more confident as well. The boats going past us made bigger waves which caused us extra heart beats as the waves swayed us a little harder but we still felt safe and stable. 


The technique to paddle was a bit hard to get and my wide kayak made the paddling a bit harder. I think we paddled a bit strangely at the start but at some point I figured out a paddling style which suited me even though I was going a bit slow at times. As long as I got forward and my arms didn’t get too sore from paddling it was fine.

First Stop Karhusaari

Firstly we headed off to an island called Karhusaari which is about 800 meters away from the shoreline and it had everything we needed– a restroom, swimming spot and lean-to with a fireplace with logs to burn looking over a stunning landscape.


It took us 20 minutes to paddle from the shore to Karhusaari as first timers. At the start it was difficult to know where to get off the kayak but after a moment of thinking I realized there was a perfect pier which I could use to get on land. When I was finally standing on the pier I wondered where I could tie my kayak on to and then realized that I can easily lift it on the pier. 


When we left Karhusaari getting back on the kayak on my own from the pier went smoothly and it was easy to navigate where to go next following the map. I knew where we were at all times even though we didn’t plan our route beforehand. The paddling started to feel easy and it felt as if I was going faster than before. 




All in all my kayaking experience was very exciting and I had a really good time. I would definitely recommend kayaking to everyone!  After my three hour kayaking trip I wasn’t even too sore to go to Iitiä’s stage to dance so if you think about something to do in the afternoon before your plans for the evening kayaking isn’t too heavy sport even if you are a first timer.

Riikka Juutilainen