Dates: 27 – 31 July
Rideable days: 3 out of 5
Wind: 0 – 18 knots
Man the water is fresh!
It’s my thought when I’m being submerged in the brackish water on the Southern side of the isthmus that marks the most Western point of Scania, or Skåne as it’s called here.
Once again I’ve made it to Sweden for the annual Feelgood Camp. It’s been a two year hiatus and we’re hungry to ride together. Catch up. Maybe even vent.
It’s funny though. Last time was 2019, but as soon as I meet up with Bjorn and Jonas it feels like our last meet-up was last month. After all, we’ve been doing this for ten years now. We’ve known each other for 20. No wonder a lot of our discussions gravitated towards life paths, choices of great magnitude, life optimisation and the like.
Just three middle aged men trying to figure it out. With the occasional reminiscence of our uni days. Naturally.
I like flying. I enjoy challenging myself to pack as little as possible (and always err on the side of too much). I enjoy picking out a bottle of spirits for my host. I usually pick rum or whiskey. The rum selection is pretty shit at Gatwick these days. I pick a bottle of whiskey from Speyside unknown to me. Tamnavulin it’s called and I’m lucky. I will later find out that we like it.
Jonas has moved to Svedala. Can you think of any more Swedish name of a place? He picks me up at the station, which is actually just a platform. People get off the train and walk towards the end of the platform only to disappear into the night. I follow along and realise that there’s a track crossing at the end of the platform. Jonas is waiting on the other side.
We chat for a bit in the kitchen of his flat, but it’s late and eventually we both feel the need to hit the hay. We have plenty of time to catch up this week.
Wednesday – JP, light wind picking up with rain.
I wake up, assemble my split board and have breakfast with Jonas. We’re choosing between Lomma and JP today. Wind is looking good. Although Lomma is well established as one of the local hot spots we usually go with JP. It’s scenic, shallow and flat for miles and few kiters go there.
Bjorn is waiting for us at a supermarket along the way. When we close in on the meeting spot I think I see him. – No, it can’t be him, Jonas says. – Bjorn doesn’t have a beard. But Bjorn does have a beard. For the first time ever. Is it to complete the Ruben Lenten look? I mean, it’s uncanny. He even wears the LEN10 cap and t-shirt. I guess he’s hoping to sign autographs on the beach.
Kites are already cruising along the shore when we arrive at JP. Wind feels strong but as we walk across the meadow and get closer to the water we’re not so sure. I thought it was a 10m day. I see 12m and even 13.5m kites in the sky. Ah well, I got my 12m Krypto in the bag. Should be fine.
The water is nice and flat. A bit farther out there are tiny waves rolling in. It’s fun to mix it up between the flats and the waves, but the wind isn’t quite there. I’m still making the most of it with loops, hand drags and a railey when gusts allow for it.
After a break with lunch we head out again. The wind is gradually picking up to a quite nice level, but a rain has arrived. The rain is picking up to a not-so-nice level. But never mind, I’m having a good time in the water. I just feel a bit bad for Bjorn and Jonas who have come in and are now bystanders on the beach.
After a few hours I also give up. It feels like the wind is dropping again, the rain has ceased and everything I do ends in a crash. We pack up and head home. Bjorn goes to the supermarket to get dinner for us. I’m able to get in an order for my beloved Hoovers/dammsugare for dessert. We don’t have these in UK and it’s a favourite of mine. Enjoying a dammsugare and a whiskey after dinner on Jonas glassed balcony is a treat. An absolute treat.
Thursday – No wind to be seen
Wind direction has shifted from West to East. If we are to find wind anywhere today it will be around Nybrostrand. The beautiful and cold spot we visited in 2014. Or 2015? I can’t remember, and it doesn’t matter. I remember it as a secluded and scenic spot with very cold water.
I’m not wrong. When we arrive I’m taken aback by the beauty of this beach. This is my top pick of natural environments in the world. Sandy beaches with dunes and meadows, next to crooked pine trees. When others dream of tropical beaches with palm trees I dream of this. Actually, the Atlantic coast of North America got this too. Cape Hatteras, The Hamptons. It’s all good. I want to go there and eat seafood and kitesurf.
But back to Nybrostrand. There’s no wind here today. I don’t mind really. I’m happy to just be on a beautiful beach with friends. But Bjorn does give it a try. It doesn’t last long. We pick up his fallen kite on the beach as he drifts in to shore a few 100 meters downwind.
After a walk along the beach and a quick skinny dip in the cold water we grab an ice cream at the nearby camping and head home.
Friday. There could be wind, but it’ll arrive late.
We head to Falsterbo on our third day. The sun is shining and the sky is promising blue with barely no clouds. Apparently there should be wind showing up in the afternoon, but we head out early to capitalise on the good weather. We drive all the way out to Skanör marina.
This little hotspot is as good as Swedish summer gets. It has the sandy beach, the picturesque little beach huts, the boaties, the posh, the restaurants lined up next to each other. Here is something for everyone. Exceptional people watching.
Fried herring for lunch and a coffee from our regular coffee guy and his mobile coffee shop is what we do. Every year pretty much. This is how traditions are created, maintained and remembered. Memories need to be curated through traditions or periods dense with moments. This is memories in the making.
After lunch we make the short drive to Falsterbo beach. Less developed, but popular with beach goers nonetheless. The beach is pretty small here but just enough to launch kites if you step out a bit in the water. Kitesurfing has a designated strip of the beach, which makes sense during these busy days of the year.
We’re still early and the only kites out are some students sharing a kite to practise body dragging and two foilers who quickly appear from far out at sea, stay a bit close to shore and then disappear just as quick as they arrive. The ground you can cover on a foil is amazing but it doesn’t attract me enough to yet try it out. Maybe when I’m too old to care for adrenaline and my joints won’t take the impact from jumps any more.
It definitely feels like it’s picking up, and although it’s borderline at most we pump up our kites and wade out in the water. Jonas’s got a big board and Bjorn’s got a 14m Nitro, so they aren’t actually doing so bad. I on the other hand am stuck close to shore with my 12m Krypto. Every attempt to ride ends with losing ground and a walk of shame so I quickly give up and entertain myself with loops and handle passes without the board.
Eventually I land the kite. Bjorn is coming in too and offers me his kite. It’s actually doable now, albeit still borderline and the 14m Nitro is sluggish and doesn’t allow me to do much other than darkslides, hand drag kiteloops and the like.
I return the kite to Bjorn who heads out for another session and grabs Jonas 12m instead. I can feel the wind picking up even more. This actually feels promising. With the 12m and a bit more wind it’s a much more enjoyable experience. Now I can go for the regular set of tricks in my bag, and it’s fun to do them with the Nitro 3 which I normally don’t ride. Jonas has accidentally set it on the 45cm bar length but it’s actually not too bad.
I’m having a blast but it’s already evening and I have a feeling that the boys want to wrap up and head home. I throw in a few final jumps and come in to land with a big smile on my face. We order pizza on the way back and I get to see central Svedala when we pick them up. There really isn’t much to see other than the local youth hanging out in groups on their bicycles. I’m pleased to see that we’re in a somehow innocent part of the world where bicycles are still viable. I thought e-scooters were the only thing kids cared for nowadays. While we’re waiting for the pizzas I go into the corner shop and get myself some dessert. The evening is sorted.
The wind that arrived this evening is forecasted to stick around next day. We finish dinner and it’s not long before we’re in bed, prepared for an early start on Saturday.
Saturday. More feelgoodness.
We wake up as early as a feelgood holiday allows. Wind’s supposed to stick around all day but we’re meeting Myran in Malmo for dinner later. After a breakfast for champions consisting of coffee, two boiled eggs and a sandwich we pack the car and head back to Falsterbo.
I love the walk to the beach from the parking. It’s one of those that passes through a small stretch of pine trees, continues through a set of sand dunes to finally arrive at the beach. I’ve experienced it in Tuscany too and you already know how much I love this type of scenery.
Two large kites are already on the water. It feels a tad light for our 12m kites but there’s no harm in rigging up and give it a go. Part from that the sun is out and it’s a beautiful morning. The bucket and spade brigade hasn’t showed up yet and we got the beach pretty much to ourselves.
We set off, one after the other. The Nitro is definitely a better light wind kite than my Krypto but there’s just enough wind to have some fun with no stress of losing ground. I hike all the way upwind to a completely empty spot part from an older couple tanning on the small strip of sandy beach. They become my audience as I take the opportunity to practise some unhooked jumps in the shallow and relatively flat water.
There is a certain charm to light wind sessions and as I’m not a particularly extreme rider I have a great deal of appreciation for them. Light wind allows me to loop, unhook, land blind and do other more technical tricks that are too scary to try in stronger wind.
I think it’s around 2pm when I make my way back to our launch spot. Jonas has already landed and the wind is gradually settling. Good time to call it quits. That was a really good session. I do like the Krypto a lot, but it’s my largest kite and it’s not a light wind kite so I’m not sure if I should replace it with something lighter and more powerful to get me going in the 12 knots range. With the Krypto I probably need 14 knots to have fun. The constant quiver challenge.
A Malmo classic
In the evening we take the train in to Malmo and meet Myran for an Indian dinner on Möllan. As we always do. It’s god to catch up. Now a father of two, Myran spends his time working from home while raising two young children. Surely not an easy task. We walk the short distance to Far i hatten. The bouncer asks what Bjorn has got in his plastic bag. A wetsuit was probably not the answer she expected. Bjorn forgot it on the beach earlier but Myran who lives nearby was kind enough to bring it with him into town.
The clientele has definitely changed a bit since last time we were here, admittedly years ago. This classic left-wing bohemian joint used to be a great exhibition case for eccentric hipster fashion. Tonight it looks rather bland. Normcore at best. A couple of beers in and we’re done. The urge to drink isn’t quite there. Beer is not a party drink but I don’t think anyone think shots would’ve been a better option either.
We grab the train back to Svedala and end up sitting in a dark living room chatting honestly about relationships instead. This is therapist level shit without the hefty price tag.
Sunday. No wind. Doesn’t matter.
It’s travel day. Return home day. There’s no wind but I think we’re all satisfied with what we got this year. It’s been rejuvenating. We spend the day at the outdoor pool with Jonas’s kids. I try to inspire them to become future acrobats by testing out my old capoeira skills on the grass. It seems to be working.
We go back home and pack our stuff on the grass outside the house. I notice a small crack in my so far outstandingly well performing Re Solve split kiteboard. I hope it won’t develop into something serious but the odds are not on my side. Fingers crossed and I guess I will find out on my next kite trip.
Back at the platform that makes up Svedala train station. I take farewell of the boys. This goes into the books as one of the best Feelgood Camps I’ve had.