Fresh Loves

Given that the weather can be pretty unpredictable in Kari Schibevaag’s extremely remote (but extremely beautiful) corner of Norway, it’ll be no surprise to most that the versatile sport of wingfoiling has quickly worked its way into Kari’s multi-water-sport toolkit. The one person who is pretty surprised is Kari herself though…

Words: Kari Schibevaag
Photos: Schibevaag Adventure 

I still remember when I started kiting, and how eager I was to learn the sport, to become better and ride more powerfully. I wanted to spend as much time as possible in the water and could not get enough of it. I remember how hard it was to wait for the good windy days and how happy I was when I came out of the water from a good session. You had so much power, and the only thing I wanted was another windy day so I could get in the ocean.

I finally have this feeling again… The urge to just enter the water at any time. But it came with another water sport – wingfoiling. The first time I saw it I thought it looked stupid, but when I tried it, I got instantly hooked on it. Now it’s just like being back in the days when I learned how to kite. I wake up early when the wind is blowing, and I come out of the water feeling totally “game over”. It is such a great feeling, this feeling of happiness and motivation running through my body again. The energy I get from this is truly special. It is hard to explain it, but if you have experienced it, you know exactly what I am talking about. 

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The best thing about winging for me is that you can do this so many more days than you can kite, and especially where I live in Norway. It is easy to just jump in the water from the rocks, and I can use the wind in the fjords or lakes and the gusty offshores to have fun. There are simply a lot more spots that work for winging than kitesurfing. Since I started wingsurfing, I’ve gotten so many extra good windy days in the water… Even the hardcore gusty days that would never have worked with a kite are good for winging. You can use the gust to get up and ride, and when the wind drops, you can just sit back and relax and wait for the next gust to keep you going. It is also a good time to just sit and watch the nice mountains from the ocean and think about what you want to do while waiting for the next gust to give your wing the power it needs. 

I live in my car and when I am driving, I always look for wind in the fjords. It is good to have a campervan when you do water sports in Norway because it makes it a lot easier to jump in the water. It is hardly ever over 20 degrees with nice weather to change outside in. Living in a campervan and exploring Norway has been fantastic for my active lifestyle with water sports and other outdoor activities. After a session I can change indoors in the van and make myself some hot coffee or tea. The perfect warm up before yet another session. 

Wingfoiling is still such a new sport that a lot of my inspiration for new tricks and to see the progression in the sport comes from watching what other athletes do on Instagram and Facebook. You can watch moves in the evening and then go out and test them the day after. This makes it easy both to progress and to follow the progression on the sport. It has also made the times throughout the pandemic more fun, just following this new sport to see what is going on. We might have to stay in the same spots, but we can still have contact and motivate each other through digital communication, and that way pushing the sport and getting better.

I never thought I would say this, but I am now suddenly in love with the strong, gusty winds. I would never have even been able to imagine that before, but yes, the gust is suddenly my new best friend thanks to wingsurfing. 

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