The day of days: Kapsejlads 2013

Well. Today is THE day. The day we’ve all been waiting for. Kapsejladsen 2013 is upon us at Aarhus University! No matter what you call it: the naked run, the boat race, kapsejlads (or some various form in a foreign accent), today will be one of the highlights of spring at Aarhus University. Though the weather doesn’t really seem to be in our favor this year, the thousands will still be gathering to watch the epic boat race across the lakes in the University Park… or will they?

As this is my second Kapsejlads (my introduction to this blog will have to come about a bit later in another post), I’m going to give an insider’s tip to what really happens at the event, for better or for worse. If you’d like to watch the promo for this year’s Kapsejlads, AU has done a great job of hyping the event. A little visit to will let you see videos, a live twitter feed, and even a live update of Instagram pictures (when searching for the event, I even found a video entitled “My University is world class…because we have the Boat Race!” made by the University)! This is serious business here, folks! So after you’ve seen what the University has to say about Kapsejlads, I welcome to get the real skinny on the unofficial holiday event known as the Kapsejlads.

First things first. Kapsejlads morning involves waking up crazy early for a breakfast of some sort of food…and whatever alcohol of your choice. To be honest, it’s all downhill from there (or uphill? I guess it depends on your drinking style). For the most part, people leave the house looking a bit like this:

Lucille Ball after Kapsejlads pre-gaming

After breakfast (or even before as many people eat at the Uni Park), people slowly make their way to the lake, bringing blankets to sit on, maybe a bit of food, and, most importantly, beer. The rest of the day kind of starts to blur. People hang out, talk, watch the pre-shows around the lake that usually involve naked people, perhaps Star Wars, maybe Donald Duck or Aladdin, and well…drink quite a bit. By the time the event actually starts around 1:00pm, there are so many people around the lake, one could argue that the rest of Aarhus would be a ghost town.

Then the event begins. There’s a lot of concerned people sitting directly behind the event on the one side. Now, I’m assuming those are mostly the people involved in the actual sporting part of it or who are participating, but I think it’s photographers as well, the mayor of Aarhus perhaps, and the people who were dressed up for the pre-shows. Everyone else continues to drink and be merry, occasionally taking a glance towards the lake to see if there is something still going on. It’s all quite a funny sight. Women end up standing in a line that is so long for the toilet, it’d probably be faster for them to take a bus home and come back. Men make any- and everything their toilet. Pretty soon, the popup pissoirs are overflowing and people have no idea whether a race is going on or not… for the most party they’re just trying to make it through the crowds of people that are everywhere. Finding your friends at Kapsejlads is like a real life “Where’s Waldo” (not to mention cell phone reception ends up being terrible from all the drunk dials happening in the same area). The event eventually ends. People end up getting kicked out of the park around 5:00pm. That’s when the after parties begin which consist of more drinking and dancing. And that’s the event in a nutshell!

Now, this year’s event really has two factors that are either going to make it awesome or make it blow. The first factor is the weather. We’re supposed to have around a 3 hour window for sun today… NOT during the event. Balls. The second factor is the massive HARLEM SHAKE (holla!) that is supposed to happen (or was supposed to happen?) during the event. So we’ll see which factor wins over the other. When I think about the whole thing though, my absolute favorite part of the Kapsejlads is the question that happens in relation to the event. And this will happen GUARANTEED this year as well. It usually happens during certain times of the year and is asked by almost everyone. And it goes like this:

  • Directly after the Kapsejlads – Person 1: “Wait, who won?” Person 2: “Um… economics? I think?”
  • The day after the Kapsejlads – Person 1: “Who won yesterday?” Person 2: “Uhhh…I think it was medicine…”
  • Six months after Kapsejlads – Person 1: “Who won Kapsejlads this year?” Person 2: “Economics, I think. Wasn’t it?”
  • The day before Kapsejlads 2014 – Person 1: “Who won last year?” Person 2: “Wasn’t it Economics. Or medicine. Medicine I think.”

All sarcasm aside, the Kapsejlads is an awesome event. Whether or not you actually pay attention to the race, taking a whole day out to just sit and hang out with friends is an unforgettable moment in your time at AU. And well… when in Denmark, why not do as the Danes?! Skål!

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