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21. Feb 2018

From Munich To The Black Sea – Interview with Pascal Roesler

From Munich To The Black Sea – Interview with Pascal Roesler

Last summer Pascal Roesler, a businessman from Munich, paddled from Munich to the mouth of the Danube into the Black Sea. 2.467 km and 63 days on the water with his  Falcon Air, about 600.000 paddle strokes in total. He did that all for a good cause – to maintain our water, which we all need for our living. On February 8th Pascal has presented the movie about his trip for the first time in front of 400 people in Munich. Even the Bavarian Environment Minister Ulrike Scharf came to make a speech and watch it! German SUP blogger Anja Moerk ( met Pascal on the premiere-day for an interview about this special trip.

Pascal, you did not only do this journey for yourself, but for a good cause, right?
Yes, I did it for our water. I tried to collect as much money as possible for each kilometer I paddled. In the end a total of 30.000 Euros. Every paddle stroke has been worth the effort. And such a journey is also a journey to and for yourself.

Your first SUP journey was from Munich to Vienna – 500 km. The second one was from Munich to the Black Sea – 2467 km. What comes next?
I’m not a friend of bigger, higher, faster and further. The Danube is the second largest river in Europe, the biggest would be the Volga. But we’ll again do a project at the Danube and Isar. We won’t paddle this time, instead we will visit 40 spots of my recent trip by car to do some beach cleaning there. We’ll collect some plastic and try to get as many people as possible interested in the water.

Awesome! Now let’s talk about your movie – there wasn’t a film crew with you for the whole trip, right?
Exactly, so on 20 days a film crew was with me – the rest of the trip I was travelling alone. So we took the footage from these 20 days and tried to turn it into a format – at the end we have produced a one hour movie, which will be available online at Vimeo soon (expected March/April 2018).

Your great motivation was the lighthouse of Sulina, which stands at the end of the journey where the Danube flows into the Black Sea, right?
Exactly, I printed a big image of this lighthouse at the beginning of 2017 and hung it up in my office. I stood in front of it every day and thought: I need to get there.

How was this moment when you had paddled so far and could now finally see this lighthouse?
Honestly, this moment wasn’t that special, but the day before was really special. It was a 50 km stage that took me 10 hours. Afterwards I knew: now I have arrived. I was feeling super relaxed that night, had a few beers too much and it was good to know: tomorrow I have only 35 km left, I can do that easily!

The moment you reach your destination is also full of melancholy. ‘It’s over now. What’s next?’ So it wasn’t like you threw your board in the corner after the tour and said “I don’t want to see it ever again!”? It was really sad that it was over?
It was sad for me, yes. I flew back to Munich on a Friday – and on Saturday I was on the water again. I had no pain, I had no blisters. It was just the thought: What’s Next?

I’m sure a lot of things have happened to you on this trip that you didn’t expect?
Yes. In the end it’s like this: you can’t plan anything, but live day by day or even hour by hour. You paddle around the corner and suddenly there is this headwind and you think: this was not planned! You have to react, because you know: “hey, it is going to hurt like hell if you paddle into headwind”. I had a situation like this in Vienna. I took a day off. The next day I was fit again and wanted to paddle again. South wind, 3 – 4 beauford headwind – so what are you going to do? After two and a half kilometers I turned around and went windsurfing with Chris Sammer from the Fanatic team – a very cool session and good decision!

That’s just what it is with watersports: you have to take what you get! I’m sure you’ve had wonderful moments, too. Can you remember such a really touching moment?
Yeah, the nights were really special. When the sun went down in the evening – and you sit there, relaxing, the fishermen passing by with their boats. It does something special to you.
And then you have these moments, when you thought you can´t carry on – but then it works again out of the blue. These moments are awesome.

If someone would like to paddle a little along your path: is there a nice spot you can paddle as a non-professional?
Yeah, sure. There is a beautiful place at the river Isar. On my second day from Freising to Landshut 30 people paddled there with me, that was pretty cool. It’s a cool SUP spot – you just have to watch the water level. There are also great sections on the Danube in Bulgaria and Romania, where you paddle all alone. Sandbanks emerge there in the middle of the Danube out of nowhere, it is really fascinating.

In terms of landscape, you really had it all – from cities to nowhere. What were the more beautiful moments?
I always wanted to get out of the cities. For example, I just paddled through Bratislava without stopping. But paddling through Budapest was nice; especially the exit there was terrific. I paddled under a chain bridge and then went up to the riverside and suddenly stood in the middle of the center. I took my board and walked into a 4 star hotel. Barefoot, with dripping feet I stood there and told them: “Hi, I have booked a room, it’s already paid”. And the guy in the hotel was like “well… Okaaaay……”

Did you really have all your stuff with you, or did you have people, who followed you around and transported some of your stuff?
Nope, I had everything in my black bag, 60 liters. That’s quite enough, you don’t need much. I washed my shirt every day and I had two pair of shorts with me. One of them ended up in the Danube at some point, and it was gone. Then I only had one pair of shorts left.

Luckily, you still had one big thing with you: your board. You paddled a Fanatic Falcon Air 14’0″ by 29″. A great board, running fast but really stable. Would you choose this board again?
Basically, yes. It depends a bit on which river you want to paddle. On wavy water the 29” width helps a lot. But the Falcon Air is also available with 26.5”, which is of course even more streamlined – but you better be able to stand on it. I didn’t fall off my board on the Danube once. I only pumped it up once in Munich – and after 2467 kilometers I let the air out again. I had the pump with me, but I never needed it.

Wow, this is really impressive! And you used a full Carbon Paddle?
Exactly, I had one with a relatively small blade (width of 7.25″). In the long run, this spares your shoulders.

What was your longest time on your board on one day?
The longest stage was almost 70 km. But you’ll notice that the next day. You shouldn’t overdraw every day.

The main reason for your journey was your mission: water. There is an incredible amount of plastic in the water, also in the oceans. Sometimes it’s not easy to see, where you can start the change as an individual. Which three things can each of us start with?
So you can try to limit your consumption. Buy 10 percent less of everything – and you will automatically produce 10 percent less plastic waste.  Or try to sort the garbage and dispose of plastic properly. Last but not least: gather any plastic you find lying around and take it with you.

We’re excited to hear more of your projects in the future. I guess the 2467 km and the movie are just the beginning?
Such a journey is also a journey to your inner self. It’s not a matter of getting higher, faster, further, but of finding your center. For me it’s all about water. My zodiac sign is fish – so it probably was meant to be. It took me a while to find myself. But now I’ve arrived, and I’m going to continue until I go to my grave.

Finally, do you have a tip for all those who also want to find their center?
Go paddling!!!

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