Ringsegård Strand in Falkenberg

The wind came from the south today, which meant our usual kite spots wouldn’t work so well for us. Jegor, King, Marcus, Kris, Kelly and I went to the next city south of us, Falkenberg, to go kiting at Ringsegård beach. David, Andreas and Toffy chose to “experiment”, as David put it, with other kite spots where they could catch more waves. (It turned out they stayed in Läjet/Träslövsläge but just went farther out to sea). Kelly and I don’t want waves when we are learning; the flatter the better. 

Falkenberg is about half an hour drive away from Varberg. We didn’t see the town, only the beach. It was nice and long and wide and sandy. And empty. And windy (which surely explains the emptiness). Perfect, in other words. We could drive right on to the beach and park on it – that’s usually not allowed so I was a little surprised. It made life easier though. 

I practiced a lot on my own today. It was actually the first time that I’ve spent time alone with the kite, and I’m sure it was good for me. I practiced some starts, but it was hard. I learned why sideshore winds are more difficult than onshore winds; when you drift downwind you have a much harder time getting back “home” when the wind drags you along the shore as opposed to into land. And since I spent the majority of my time either going downwind or trying to get back, I had my work cut out for me. I also had to get the kite back up all on my own after crashing it, since I had no one there telling me what to do. I’m actually getting quite good at that particular part… I also had to body drag to pick up my board after losing it several times, whereas before I had help from someone being with me, holding the board for me. So even though I’m still not up riding, I felt like it was a pretty productive day. 

Fika break in between sessions!

Kelly is riding the board and even doing jumps! He’s still trying to be better at riding upwind, and correcting his stance. He used both his 17 m2 kite, and my 11,5 m2 kite, as the wind increased later in the day. He also spent some time filming Marcus and Jegor when they were doing tricks with their kites.

It started to rain when we were close to being done. We managed to pack the kites before it got really bad, but the rain worsened quickly, so we were basically throwing all of our wet things into the car and trying to get out of there as quickly as possible. This was at approximately 16:30 in the afternoon. 

The not so glamourus side of kite surfing:

King was not in the mood to cook today (and I guess neither was anyone else) so we decided to go into Varberg and eat dinner at a restaurant. We tried getting a table at a White Guide restaurant, but we would’ve had to book it earlier; they were full. We ended up at a place called Harry’s instead. We had meatballs and dessert and found ourselves participating in a pub quiz, which at least some of us mocked quite a bit when it was announced, but then couldn’t help but partake in once it started ;). 

Kelly with a dessert for two!

After dinner we went back to the house, and the other boys joined us there as well. David told me that they are now referring to the group as two teams: the posh twin tip people (because we shower in the house and use the same kind of kite board) and the hobo wave hunters (because they camp on the beach and have wave boards). I have a sneaky feeling I will always belong to the former. I like showers ;). We all watched the videos that Kelly took earlier today of Marcus’s and Jegor’s jumps and tricks. After that everyone was pretty tired and we all headed to bed. 

I spent a good portion of the evening stretching and doing exercises for my back. I think pumping kites, driving, and sleeping on the ground is starting to take its toll. I’m hurting a lot in my lower back and left hip. Hopefully the exercises and stretching will help. 


Hanging in Varberg

Tuesday was a slow and relaxing day. We went to Läjet and met up with the beach dwelling boys (David, Toffy and Andreas), but there wasn’t much wind when we arrived and it was on the decrease as well. So, we just sat around, had coffee, talked, and enjoyed the sun.

Enjoying the sun!

Toffy had heard that I wanted to buy a poncho, or a changing robe, in a towel like material like the one I borrowed from David. They seem very convenient to have on the beach when you get out of the water after kiting. So he proposed that we go and visit a guy named Jonas, who lives in Varberg and has a business called Surf-lab, which sells equipment and arranges kite courses. Toffy talked to Jonas and he had a poncho to sell. I think it was also a way for Toffy to a) get fika (coffee) and b) look at cool stuff that he wanted to buy himself. Anyhow, we went to Jonas’s house and had some coffee, and I bought a Mystic poncho with fishbone print for half the price :).


Kelly, Toffy and our host Jonas


After a while we got hungry. We ended up walking to downtown Varberg and had a late “lunch” at Paganini Coffee & Food. Kelly and I shared a halloumi burger and it was very good. On our way there, David talked to Jegor and heard they were preparing to grill ribs for dinner, so we decided to eat a light meal and then have dinner with the others back at the house. It works like this: Jegor and King make something for dinner, and you have to let them know if you’ll be there for dinner or not, so that they can plan how much food to make. Everybody pays a small amount to cover the cost of groceries, and at the end of our stay they’ll figure out how much we owe. I think it’s really awesome to get a nice, home-cooked meal every day. Also, they really know how to cook and every meal we’ve had has been delicious. As I mentioned before, we also pay to camp on the lawn and use the house, but that is going to the owner of the house and not to Jegor and King. They are paying to stay there themselves, but I really hope they get a discount considering that they are keeping the house safe, cleaning it, feeding the owner’s cats and mowing the lawn.

Speaking of cats: meet Stella, one of the two cats who live in the house (although they are mostly living outside of the house). Stella is very cute and friendly, but she does like to wake people up at night when she wants to go in or out and needs a human to open the door… (A cat door would be a good idea to have installed 😉 ).

Stella (eating a caterpillar… yum)

Another day in Läjet

Monday morning arrived with some more wind, and we went to Läjet again to go kitesurfing.

Apelviken to the north, and Läjet to the south. Södra Näs in between them is where we’re staying.

Kelly @ Läjet

David helped me out today. He walked out with me (I had the kite though) and instructed me on what to do to get up on the board. I tried and I tried, but every try ended in a crash with the kite going one way, the board going another way, and me under the water, swallowing some of it, getting it in my nose and ears. It was a bit brutal, but I kept going for quite a while before I decided I’d had enough.

Back on the beach, I saw that Martin had joined, somewhat unexpected.  Malin and him left last night to go home to Gothenburg/Stockholm. Malin works in Stockholm, but Martin works in Gothenburg and is able to pop down to Varberg after work, like today. I told him about my struggles and he reminded me about something he told me yesterday. People who know how to kiteboard do a quick maneuver to get up from the water and start riding the board. David explained to me how to do it right, and I was doing it right, but everything would go really fast and I would crash before I even knew what I did wrong. So Martin told me that although what all kiters will tell me to do is to move the kite fast (and they are not wrong, it is how you do it), I should do it slowly while I’m learning. Then I get to practice again and again without crashing the kite, and can feel how much power I need in order to get up on the board.

I would have used this advice to practice right away, but the weather turned ugly. Kelly was out kiting until he was almost the last one back. We quickly packed our equipment, but not soon enough. The rain poured down and pretty much everything got soaking wet, including our clothes, so I drove home in a dry bikini and a rash guard, and gave my towel to Kelly. Good thing it’s only a 5 minute drive, so it didn’t matter.

Back at the house, Chris and Marcus were cooking spaghetti and meat sauce for everybody, and it was delicious! King made a thai salad that was also very tasty. Again we were a big group for dinner; it’s really great to have that social life around the kiting. Everyone is so friendly and nice, and we all get along great. I’m very happy to have made friends with all these nice people :).

Andreas, Jegor, Chris & Toffy

Marcus (with Artur) and David

Kelly, me and Andreas

There was strong wind in Apelviken in the evening, so time for some evening surf! Not for me though, it was much too strong winds. Kelly borrowed my kite (stronger wind means you need a smaller kite) and was practicing for a long time. I don’t know where he gets his energy! Andreas felt a lack of energy (and a full belly) as he has been kiting all summer, so him and I went down to the beach to watch the others. We talked a bunch about kiting and I learned some new things. He also had some tips for Kelly when he came up to the beach. Chris joined us on the beach for a little bit, but she got cold and went back to the house. It was very windy and cold, but I had put on pants, shoes and a windproof jacket to stay warm. Eventually the sun set and it got too dark to kite. That’s probably the only reason people started coming back into shore.

Lots of kites in Apelviken

Andreas and Kelly rigging the 11,5 m kite

Kelly about to go kiting

It was very windy all night. Our tent was shaking and wanted to fly away (we had secured it properly though) so it was a bit hard to sleep. Tent camping is easy, but nights with little sleep are starting to wear me down a bit.

Sunday Funday

There is wind in Varberg! So naturally, everybody got ready to go kiting in the morning. We were out kiting until 22-ish last night, but that didn’t stop anyone from heading out again. I have been in contact with Arild from Surfskolan here in Varberg and he texted me last night, saying that he had a spot open on a “step 2” kite course at 10 o’clock this morning. As it turns out though, Martin (who’s camping with us in the yard) is also a kite instructor. I asked if maybe he could give me some instruction instead, and he said “of course!”. It would be much nicer to stay with our group of people and still get some professional help, rather than going away all day by myself to participate in a course somewhere else.

Kelly and I went with Martin and Malin to a grocery store to get some lunch food, and then to Läjet (also know as Träslövsläge) to join the others at the beach. David, Andreas and Toffy slept on that beach last night; it’s only a 5 minute drive from the house.

Andreas’s surf bus!

Martin gave me a private kite training session, starting with checking what I know and my control of the kite. He walked the kite out into the water and then switched with me. He gave me a lot of tips on everything from walking the kite out from shore with less effort, to putting it in a resting position, to letting the wind do as much work for me as possible. Then we quickly went through body dragging down wind to fetch a missing board, and body dragging with the board to move up wind. After that it was time to start practicing getting up in the board! It went quite well and I progressed a lot today thanks to Martin :). I have some work left before I’ll actually ride the board though. I haven’t done any water sports or board sports before, so I have a bit of an uphill battle before I figure it out.

After a day of kiting and hanging out on the grass by the beach, we all went back to the house.

Chillin’ after kiting with some beer, chips… and a parrot.

David and Artur the Parrot

David and Artur

King is from Thailand, and today she treated us to a three course dinner with the most amazing thai food! First we had Thai pork toast known as khanom pang na moo and it was delicious! The toast was followed by a soup and then a noodle dish with king prawns to top it off. Everything was incredibly tasty, and I wish I could have the recipes, but King said she doesn’t use recipes so that’s probably why it all tasted so good. She just knows what to do.

That evening, I had a job to do. A very boring job. As a beginner, you crash your kite in the water quite a few times. The lines then get covered with seaweed from the bottom, especially at Läjet where there is lots of seaweed in the shallow water. This seaweed must be cleaned off the lines, partly to keep your equipment nice and clean in general, but also because seaweed hanging off the lines weighs them down and has a negative impact on your ability to fly and steer the kite. So, I spent a large portion of the evening scraping seaweed off 80 meters of kitelines… Luckily, I got some help from both Kelly, David and Chris! Otherwise it would have taken me all night. It would have been better to remove it immediately down at the beach, but it was going to rain when we left and I packed up the kite in a hurry.

Change of scenery

What a day! To really understand today’s events, we have to back up a little to last night. We got some new neighbors setting up camp right next to us. They arrived really late last night, around midnight, and instead of being extra quiet and considerate when getting in so late, they were very loud and obnoxious. They didn’t go to sleep either, but stayed up late into the night, talking, laughing and shouting so much that I didn’t get any sleep. Kelly however, sleeps no matter what happens… I was quite annoyed with those people, and they weren’t much less obnoxious the following morning  either. We had a really nice camping situation before they showed up, peaceful and quiet with only bird song to listen to over breakfast. They influenced our decision to leave Öland and go to Varberg on the west coast instead. Now this was something we had discussed doing anyway, because David is in Varberg and we wanted to join him to go kiting together. But, the conditions at Haga Park were perfect for kiting, with the right amount of wind and clear blue skies. And if there is something you shouldn’t pass up when you want to kite surf, it’s a day with perfect kiting conditions. We made a bit of a rash decision to leave, and didn’t even check the forecast for Varberg until we were half way there. Imagine Kelly’s disappointment when he saw that there’s no wind in Varberg, at all. And according to that forecast, there wasn’t going to be windy there in the next couple of days either. He was upset the rest of the way, and we were even discussing turning back to Öland. We didn’t though…

Instead we drove to a location that David sent to us on Hangouts, on the beach of Läjet/Träslövsläge south of Varberg where he and his friend Andreas has been camping. On our way we just happened to run into them outside a house where a friend of theirs, Jegor, is staying. I parked the car at the house and that’s when we met Toffy (Christoffer), Andreas, Marcus (and his parrot (!) named Artur) and Jegor. David and them were just heading down to the beach to see if there was any chance of wind. We joined them. Jegor brought his biggest kite, but it seemed like mission impossible anyway. 

The beach was maybe 10 minutes walking distance away from the house, and it was beautiful! It’s called Apelviken and is located just south of the city of Varberg on the Swedish west coast. 

We hung out on the beach for a while and talked to a bunch of other kite surfers, for example Jonas Widén who sell kite equipment, and Sara who used to live in Pacific Beach in San Diego, CA. Everyone seemed very friendly.

After a while people started to get hungry. We went back to the house and there was a big barbecue being prepared by Jegor and his sambo King. We were invited to eat, and it turned out to be quite a lage group of people!

Here they are, from left to right:

King, Chris (Christina), Marcus, Kelly, Elin (Jegor’s daughter), Andreas, Jegor, David, Erik (Jegor’s son), Malin and Martin. Toffy is missing in this picture (as am I). Thirteen people all in all. We had such a nice time at the barbecue that I said to David: “It was worth driving four hours just to have dinner with you guys!”. 

But, the day wasn’t over yet… It started to get windy while we were eating! All of a sudden all the kite surfers at the table got really stressed and started to gobble down their food. They rushed off to get their kite gear and I scrambled to get mine and keep up. We went back to the beach, and now it was full of kites!

Kelly is rigging his kite– hurry! 😉

It was an incredibly beautiful evening with the sunset and the sea. Everyone had a great kiting session. I had some help from David, and I practiced body dragging with the kite. I didn’t stay in as long as the rest of them, so I waited on the beach for quite a while afterwards for someone to come in. David said that I should borrow his poncho to keep warm. It’s made of similar material as a quick dry towel, so it both warms you a little and you can dry yourself on it, and change clothes underneath it. I think I need to get one for myself!

Kelly was doing really well; he was up on the board and riding back and forth along the shore! They all stopped at about the same time, when it got too dark to see anymore. We packed up and went back to the house for a nice warm shower. 

Kelly and I are camping on the lawn outside the house tonight, as is Martin and Malin. That way we can use the facilities and have access to the house. David, Andreas and Toffy are free camping on the beach in Läjet, only a 5 minute drive away. Andreas has a surf bus with a couple of beds in it, and that’s where him and David are sleeping. Toffy is sleeping in his car. Jegor and King and the kids are the ones who are renting/house sitting for the owners of the house. Marcus and Kris are also sleeping inside the house. We are all paying to the owner of the house, but it’s cheaper to camp outside than to sleep inside. 

After a kind of crappy start, this day turned out to be pretty awesome. Having great food, making new friends, and enjoying the winds on a kite board – what more can one ask for? 🙂