Monday, 29 September 2014

Klitmoller and Sylt PWA!

Since Sweden, we arrived in Klitmoller for the week to watch the PWA men's competition and sail at infamous Klitmoller and Hanstholm! I received a very exciting delivery, my new custom 63l from Simmer! I am really grateful to shaper Ola Helenius for shaping me the 'compacti-fly' quad 63, it looks amazing!
Klitmoller was a really cool place, with landscape quite like Cornwall (long sandy beaches and grassy flat land), and nice Danish houses with a few cafe's and two surf shops. The beach is more rock reef at Klitmoller and sandier at Hanstholm, both picking up wind swell pretty easily due to the shallow North sea. Unfortunately we didn't have too much wind while we were in Denmark, and the competition for the men only just managed to squeeze in a single elimination on the last day, sailing until dark. I have a few sessions on 5.0 and 75l out here, onshore starboard and port tack and cross off at Klitmoller one time too. The only windy day was the day straight after the competition in which Stef and I sailed Klitmoller looking a bit like a small storm chase, cold, stormy, messy and onshore! There were some meaty logo high waves dumping too which actually made it more scary than a mast high down the line session as it was unpredictable and grey! I tried my new custom which felt awesome to sail along, smooth and controlled, but can't say I have had a real wave riding session to test it yet! In the afternoon I sailed bunkers which was more side shore and the spot I should have sailed all along! Very fun but the wind died almost immediately... Here are some pictures Justyna took:
I also have some pictures of van life, I love the flexibility our van gives us and how cosy it is when its dark and raining outside! Luckily we have managed to grab showers at Ben and Justyna's place so we weren't too smelly! Some of these are Hanstholm and some at Bunkers. The one with the large gun is when we visted the bunker museum at Hantsholm, it was really interesting and quite incredible the size of the gun there, it could fire 50km with a 38cm shell, about 2-3 minutes airtime!
Now we are in Sylt which looks like an incredibly organised event! There are thousands of people, loads of sponsor tents, parties for the crowd every night and with freestyle, slalom and wave disciplines, really interesting to watch too. A few wave heats and slalom have been run but there hasn't been too much wind. The wave heats were in light dead onshore wind, really challenging conditions! We are hoping for the low pressure dancing around us to settle so we can have wind later this week! These pictures are from John Carter from the PWA.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

What happened in Sweden...

We left on Saturday morning from Surrey to get the Harwich-Esberg (Denmark) ferry, which was a full 20 hours long! It was actually quite relaxing as after being ripped of for our dinner on the ferry in Danish Krona, we had a cabin to sleep and watch movies all the way. Arriving in Denmark was cool, we saw seals sunbathing on the sand bars and once in Denmark, decided quickly that we didn't have any money for tolls and didn't know the Danish for cash point. We found one soon enough and after working out that we need a clock in our dashboard to park anywhere in town (which we still haven't bought actually...?) we left on our 2 hour drive to Grenaa for the ferry to Sweden. On the way we found Legoland which was free to enter after 5.30pm so we had a great trip looking round the lego villages in torrential rain!
A dark and rainy journey followed to get to Grenna and we boarded the 5 hour ferry to Varberg, sleeping on the chairs all the way. We arrived in Varberg at 6am and went to Markus and Emma's place. It was a lovely town, I liked how all the houses were different Swedish style in wood, lots were open plan and the city was clean and had lots of cafes for Fika! (coffee and cake!) That day we had a look round Varberg, had Swedish pizza (with kebab meat and cabbage side), and managed to get a late evening sail in at A bay when the wind came in as gusty 4.7 weather.
The rest of the week wasn't windy unfortunately, but Markus and Emma showed us lots of Swedish traditions, (mostly food based!) like Kaviar with egg (I didn't like this), pickled herring with potatos and egg and creme fraiche, this was yummy! Swedish meatballs and lingonberry jam-yum! Better than Ikea! We also had a lot of Fika which is coffee and cake, or quite often a cinnamon Swedish bun, very tasty!!
Activity wise Stef and I experienced our first Swedish crossfit session as Markus went for a taster, it was good to get back into lifting again!
We also had free reign of the ice rink on proper ice hockey skates which were harder than the English flat bottomed blades. I had only ever skated in a rink where you skate in circles anticlockwise with a hundred other people, so skating right, spinning and going backwards was a novelty!
We also visited Varberg castle which was really interesting to imagine how they defended the city, and very picturesque!
I guess the highlight and strangest thing of the week was the Swedish Kraftskiva party, which is an annual crayfish and schnapps party! There was more crayfish than I have ever seen in my life and more than I have ever eaten too. We played a game outside throwing wooden posts to hit each others before hitting the central 'King', then went inside to eat lots of crayfish intermittent with songs sang in Swedish and English about crayfish and drinking and shouting lots of SKOL!! (Cheers!) A funny night.
Here are a few more picturesque shots of Varberg and surrounds:
I loved Sweden and would love to come back on a windier forecast! Thanks to Markus and Emma for having us!