Jenter på Eventyr is a community of awesome girls and women all over the world. Everyone comes with their own adventure and we love coming along when they explore known and unknown places. One of the most awesome outdoor women we know, is Sofie Kyed. Surfer, freeride skier, triathlete and true explorer. She moved to the outdoor mecca Klitmøller also known as Cold Hawaii, for its outdoor community and she has started a surf camp in Senegal.
What is the deal with Klitmøller and why is so many moving to the west coast of Denmark?
I think, the easiest thing you can do, if you want to move out of the big city, is to move to Klitmøller, because there is already a small part of Vesterbro that has created the framework for you. Before I took the step to move from Copenhagen to Klitmøller, I was nervous about whether I would be lonely. I had some acquaintances there, but it was not my close friends. But then a friend said, ‘I promise you, you will never be lonely in Klitmøller’. And now, after two years in the city, I can definitely agree on this. I moved directly into a huge network of especially cool women, all of whom have taken an active choice for how they will live their lives. The fact that we have all made that choice means, that from the outset we have the same mindset. We can still be very different, but basically we have the same wishes for the overall structure of how we live our lives, and we have the same bearing values.
Of course, it makes everything easier for us, that we can connect over surfing, but I do not actually think, it’s surf that’s the deciding factor for our community. It is the desire for a different lifestyle, close to nature and the community. In my friend group in Copenhagen, there was a tendency for busy work to be a bit ‘cool’. But then we did not have time to make things together. Now I’m sitting in an co-work office in Klitmøller, the other day, one of the others said he had been sitting in the office until 5.00 PM the other day. And then everybody asked him, “What has happened?” And “Nooo, how bad for you.” Even though we are ambitious with our careers, it’s not the only thing that has value. We all prioritize the adventure in everyday life. Whatever it is surf, mushroom hunting in the national park or a cup of coffee at the neighbors.
Surfing, simple lifestyle and so different from the skiing community
Compared to other outdoor fields, there is actually a pretty big female community around surf here in Klitmøller. When I moved here, I had the most surfed on holidays, often by myself alone. But after a really short period of time, I have had a huge network of girls, who have now become some of my best friends, who I go on adventures with. And in fact, several of my girlfriends from Copenhagen have also started surfing and has regularly come to visit. I think surfing for many becomes synonymous with a more simple lifestyle. A free space from a busy life, because it really is on nature’s grounds and without much equipment needed. So, in fact, I think I’ve got a much bigger network of adventurous girlfriends after I’ve surfed. Both new and old.
A few weeks ago I sat on my board by the sea at the north of Hanstholm harbor with two other girls from Klitmøller. We were sitting right next to one of the country’s largest industrial ports – and a fishmeal factory that sent a pretty strong fishing smell towards us. It was raw, and not, in particular, the instaworthy picture, but I think it was such a beautiful scene. The waves usually came in a set of three, so there was a wave for each one of us, and each time we sent one of us out for a wave, we were cheering on. We cheered when we were doing well and laughed when we failed. It was not about which of us was best or surfed on the smallest board. It was about the fact that we were together on an adventure in nature. Often when we go surf, we pack the car, bring the coffee with us, and then we drive around and check out the different spots – talking about life along the way. And on those quiet days we also just sit on our boards and chat between the waves.
I have a background in the skiing community, where the competitive element was much more in focus. Of course, that was what I was interested in too at that time, but one of the things I am most pleased with in the surfing community is, that it is not about competition and ‘who can do what’. For me and those I’m surfing with, it’s a lot more about the community and the adventure – and about being in nature. Surf is really a sport where nature dictates the rules, and so the art of learning is to do the best in the various circumstances. Especially in Denmark where the quality of the waves can be alternating. At first, I had enough focus on improving my skills. But in Denmark we do not have conditions like in California or Hawaii, sometimes it’s a mess. And if you have an expectation that you must improve during each session, you can easily be disappointed. So for me, the focus is to have some good experiences with my girlfriends in nature. And then a dip in the ocean never disappoints.
Surfing in Senegal
Senegal is much different from Denmark. It is an African country, the majority of which are Muslims. There are some completely different cultural patterns than we have in Denmark, so there are very few girls surfing. There’s a development going on, so more of the younger girls are now learning to surf, but there are still very few. It is a huge contrast to our lives, where our girls have grown up with a strong belief, that we can do exactly the same as our brothers. Of course, I would like to encourage young Senegalese girls to surf and break gender roles. But it’s complex because I do not think, that as a white woman, I can come down and be a role model for the young Senegalese girls. Sometimes I fear, that as white women we can make the gap even bigger, because we get into our bikinis and ‘do as it suits us’ without thinking of gender roles, and therefore making the difference even more clear. I still have not quite figured out how to help women in Senegal. I think you should be careful of coming down like a ‘white savior’. But I hope, that more Senegalese women can have more adventures in their lives in the future and I think, that happens when they get their own communities without interference from white women.
Through my own camps down there, I hope, that I can spread the message, that Senegal is a wonderful country to travel in, and then helping tourism to make an economic progress for small local businesses. And then it may be that one day there can be a surf club for and by Senegalese women. In any case, I am pleased that I can show a group of Danes a little paradise on earth and at the same time make a small difference for local partners and small businesses down there.
Bølgecamp – more than a surf camp
Everyone is welcome at Bølgecamp, but my own thought when I started the camp was, that I did not just want to go on a surf vacation. I want to go on an adventure. I want to expand my horizons and meet other cultures. Therefore, of course, Bølgecamp also addresses those who would like more than a regular surf vacation. I completely fell in love with Senegal, the first time I was there. And I’m still looking forward every time I go there again. I would like to give that experience to other. We have just decided to host two annual tours because I get so good feedback from both Danish participants, Senegalese partners, and Danish Jesper Mouritzen, who runs a camp there.
For someone who lives right in the adventure, what is the next adventure?
I have a dream, that I can maybe expand Bølgecamp to more destinations in West Africa, so I would like to travel around West Africa and see some of the more unknown surfing destinations. There are quite big distances in Africa, but I really would love to buy a car down there and drive around the coast. But it may take a few months and a little planning before it will happen. And I’m far from done with enjoying the adventure in Klitmøller and Senegal, so I will continue doing that.
Do you want to surf in Senegal? The next Bølgecamp are: Spring – March 29 to April 6, 2019. Fall: November 8 to November 16, 2019. You can read more and sign up at: www.boelgecamp.dk
Living in a small house in the ‘fyrskoven‘ in Klitmøller
Use to be a triathlete and freeride skier
Surfer, hikers, and adventurer