All photos: Robert Almqvist, Sweden. Video: Femke Geestmann
A quick look on Windguru, two short messages and a location-check on Google earth. Sometimes decisions come easy. Most days I would have been checking and thinking and checking again, but this day just called for action.
The forecast was just not right for all spots in my little German-Danish windsurfer-horizon. The windy patch wasn’t far away, north of Copenhagen it was supposed to blow two days nonstop, enough to check the possibilities. Mikkel, my Danish contact of this region sent me a text, with a short but promising “could be epic“. A similar message popped up from Swedish world cup sailor Andreas Olandersson about his local options. I checked the birds view of the coastlines again and found a little picture of a surfer close to a tiny Swedish village named Skäret, that heated up my mood. I felt like I’d found a treasure and booked my ferry ticket for the next morning, straight away. On the picture it looked like the wind had the exact direction of the wind that was promised for the next two days.
The ferries and driving didn’t even take long. After five and a half hours I was standing at the beach in Sweden, right where Andy O told me to meet him. The forecast matched the weekend perfectly, so my girlfriend was happy to join for this short spontaneous trip. We took two ferries, one from the German island Fehmarn to Rödby in Denmark and then another short one from Helsingör to Helsingborg. From there we drove some small roads through picturesque villages and scenic landscapes. “Oh that would be good for my students with problems in Geography here...“ I heard the misses from the co-driver’s seat say. In fact a few of the Swedish words we read on the signs next to the road seemed to resemble phonetically spelt German.
At the first look the spot seemed to be not working when we arrived. Waves were small, wind was light and just one car on the parking. The guys from that car started rigging hectically, but I didn’t really share their excitement. We went looking for lunch in a small town called Torekov and found a cozy fishermen’s kitchen.
Two hours later we drove back to the spot and could hardly find anywhere to park. Obviously the windsurfers of the region know about the gold they have in front of their homes. I was welcomed very warm and friendly, but some asked me not to mention the name of the place, to keep the nature reserve as it is and not being invaded by German mobile homes. At this stage it should be said that this spot is not suitable for wave beginners. The wave breaks close to shore, with a slippery rocky entry. Two or three bigger rocks are waiting just below the surface right in the break – so you really have to watch out… Apart from this, this spot is shaped as perfect as it can possibly be.
The rocky shelve in the bottom is really smooth and has the potential for a perfect lefthander. If this constellation would be in a place with consistent swells, it would probably be a world-famous break. Unfortunately the Kattegat sea is small, so the swells are rare and with a short period. It needs the right wind strength and direction to build a swell here. This forecast was good, but also after our lunch break the waves didn’t look more than waist high. In the meantime Andy O and his brother arrived at the parking and confirmed, that the wave size will increase quickly with the stronger wind that was predicted. He started rigging his 4.2, as strong gusts came up with some dark clouds pushing through, creating a spectacular sky.
Maybe I underestimated the waves from the car park, as we were still a couple hundred meters away. When I finally intermixed with the Swedish wave scene, 15 minutes later, my first wave was well over head-high and broke with a good punchy lip. Robert Almqvist, a local photographer from Halmstadt, took his 300mm lens out to capture some golden moments of sunlight coming through the dark clouds for a few minutes.
I sailed until dark with around 25 other guys. Robert was stoked and wanted to meet me next morning at 6am to catch the early worm. After one beer with the locals it was time to sleep, as the wind was supposed to blow only until 1pm next day. I didn’t make it into the water upon Roberts arrival, but when I finally put the rail into my first turn around 7am next morning, I was pretty impressed by the waves the small Kattegat sea built up over night. Four sick hours with 4.0 and another hour with 4.7 made the early bird and the whole trip really worth it. Around lunchtime the wind dropped as fast as it came up the day before and the waves did the same. After my siesta the waves broke 50cm still, in the evening the Kattegat was flat as a pancake.
If there wouldn’t be those two cereal bowls on our kitchen table, that my girlfriend fell in love with, in a small pottery shop, I would even say it was a really cheap weekend trip. Looks like she didn’t get the calculation of the exchange rate right when I see that amount on the credit card. Did I mention that she’s a math teacher…? Hmm – looks like Sweden is not just more expensive in beers…