Come rain, come shine, but one thing is certain in Denmark: there is almost always wind. People in cities mostly face the wind when on their bikes. And if you worry about that, well, that’s your problem. Because what many landlubbers don’t consider is the fact that the wind also is a source of endless fun for those who like their activities to be set by the sea.
One such person is Marie Gotthardsen. Hailing from Odense, Denmark’s third largest city on the island of Fyn, Marie is never more than an hour away from the perfect wind conditions. No matter where the wind comes from, she and her pack of like-minded wave-seekers always know the perfect spot to make the most of the wind and the waves – whether it be south, east, west, or the north where we meet today."The great thing about Fyn is that we have a lot of shallow spots with lots of wind, but almost no waves,” Marie explains.
Only two and a half years into the hobby that has taken over her life, she has already accumulated an impressive catalogue of knowledge about weather, water, wind, equipment and style. Just last weekend, she landed a new trick, she explains. A double back roll, it’s called.
She’s proud, obviously.
We met Marie on the northern tip of Fyn in the very middle of Denmark. The road up here takes you through tiny villages and a picturesque countryside until the paved road ends before “Fyns hoved”, a rather big nature reserve, arises in the distance. Over there is a few small cabins, over there is a minuscule harbour, and right there in the middle of it all is Marie Gotthardsen, smiling. At home by the sea."My interest in kitesurfing started when i met my boyfriend who is a skilled local surfer. He introduced me to kitesurfing, and even more so to the idea of traveling with your sport. And that opened an entirely new world for me.”
Since then, 25 year old Marie has traveled to exotic spots like Bali, the Dominican Republic, and Latin America with her board, her kite, and her boyfriend. But Fyn is the place she calls home and where she thrives in a community of wind-obsessed kite-surfers.
She knows all the small bays and fjords along the coastline around the island, and stays updated on Slack or Messenger about where the best wind conditions are today. Why travel to the other side of the globe when you can surf in your own backyard?
“We are a tight-knit community of surfers on Fyn, and we basically surf every day. Almost everything we do is based around surfing. We help each other and support each other, cheer when we land a new trick and stuff like that” she explains.
“There’s something special about sharing a thermo cup of coffee while getting warm in the car after a long day on the water. You connect on a different level. It’s only natural that our mutual love for our sport takes over our lives,” Marie explains from the trunk of a car, overlooking the bay.
Marie works as a project manager at a digital agency in Odense where they, of course, know everything about her passion for kitesurfing.
“My work allows me to flex it up a lot, so most days i work from 9am-3pm and then head out to the coast. During the summer it’s easy because of the long days, but in the winter, weekdays can be tough when the sun sets early in the afternoon. But then we just have to get going during the weekend” she smiles.
Since mountain biking and skiing with her dad when she was a kid, Marie has always found pleasure in physical activity and adrenaline. Before kitesurfing, she was an elite gymnast but eventually got enough of the over-competitive mindset. Her newfound love for kitesurfing, the beach, and the sea is not so much about competing as it is about the community and sharing experiences.
"My boyfriend and I spent the summer on the West Coast of Jutland where the waves are bigger. When the wind sometimes wore off, we would take small trips to Skagen and other small cities. We ended our trip on the island of Samsø, just chilling,” she ends. “There are so many adventures awaiting in this country. You just need to know where and how to look for them.”
Living a life with substance, friends and joy, it looks like Marie has it all figured out. Easy going by nature and happy just to be close to the sea, it doesn’t take much for her to make the most of her days. Every day. She just need the sea, the wind, and her kite to lift her up. What a life.