The Arctic Explosion

Words by: Kari Schibevaag
Photos by: Tom Jonaseen, Kari Schibevaag and Richard Varga

Another epic despatch from Kari Schibevaag’s personal winter wonderland. Although Kari’s noticed a few changes and wonders if it might not be ‘all hers’ for much longer – perhaps it’s on your places-I-gotta-kite list too…?

The mountains are tall and steep, the beaches are covered with white sand and surrounded by crystal-clear water, there is no one else around and the likelihood is that you’ll be kiting all alone in these crazy-beautiful spots… But it is less likely than it used to be.

As my kite flies through the crisp northerly wind and I have the view all to myself I remember that this is how it used to be. But things have changed this season.

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The Arctic seems to have become so popular? Is it the mind-blowing images people see on Instagram and Facebook that have suddenly put the Arctic on everybody’s bucket-list? Before, everybody went to Caribbean and other exotic and warm places with palm-trees. But now the Artic seems to have become equally cool (if you’ll excuse the pun). “Kite at that beach, hang from that rock, camp on that mountain and swim in the Arctic Ocean.” And why wouldn’t you? For me, the Arctic is the most beautiful place to be. It has everything I love. All kinds of weather, crazy conditions, beautiful nature to play in and I can do everything I want in the water…

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When I came to Lofoten for the first time, it wasn’t a recognised mission for people to travel up north to kite. I remember some guys from Oslo asking me, “What are you doing up there? Why do you want to be up in the cold?” They sort-of laughed at me. Now they are taking they´re holidays up north and it´s my time to smile and give them thumbs up!

I know why I am so in love with this place: the mountains, the beaches and all the weather we got. Every day is a surprise. You never know what you’ll get and, even if the forecast says something, things often turn up differently… So you just have to be ready to pull the right board out of your van and get on the water.

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Lofoten is an archipelago of islands and there are so many places to kite in all directions. The best one is Flakstad, but I have been exploring loads of places and you can find good spots all over. This is what makes it so nice. You feel the wind and jump in.

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It is cool to see the changes we have got up here. People ask me when to go, but this is really just a question about what you want. We have four seasons and they are all super nice. They all have something special about them.

Summer has the midnight sun and beautiful colours all night long. Sometimes there are days over 20 degrees, but normally it is around 13 degrees in the summer. You can camp and kite 24/7 when the wind is blowing. The northern winds are the best if you want to kite on the outside of the islands, and that is where the beaches are…

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Autumn has normal nice days and there are less people around. It has beautiful colours and the northern lights is again dancing over the sky again. You still have long days, but it gets darker in the evenings – you can hike and find berries and the water temperature is a bit warmer.

Winter has the nice light in the middle of the day. It is like a sunset for hours on end. In the night, the northern lights amaze you with their magical show in the sky. To do SUP, kiting and surfing in these conditions is a crazy experience… Then the snow is coming and you can snow-kite in the mountains or on the ocean. Normally winter comes with good wind, and it is a special feeling to stay in the water when there is snow surrounding you.

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Spring lets you ski and kite in the mountains. The days are longer and some northern lights can also be seen in the sky. The colours are a bit brown after the winter, but it is a beautiful quiet time in Lofoten. It gets warmer and it is quiet.

This article originally appeared in TheKiteMag #22. To subscribe, go here.

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