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Wakesurfing Wonderland in Flå, Hallingdal

Far from the coastline and the traditional surfers, wakesurfing has emerged as a thrilling activity in the world of water sports. In Norway, the first official wakesurfing group is located in village of Gulsvik, by lake Krøderen. -It’s perfect for wakesurfing, prime mover Gisle Erichsen says.

No Need for Ocean Waves

Wakesurfing is gaining popularity quickly. This waterborne adventure is a fairly new sport, and it differs from traditional surfing in the ocean quite a bit. The riders surf the wake of a boat without being towed. That is, the surfer is holding on to a rope at the start of the trip. As the boat accelerates, creating a big wake, the person on the wakesurfboard releases the rope and surfs freely on the boat’s wake.

Gisle Erichsen in his boat
Gisle in his boat, ready for water fun!

Gisle Erichsen has single-handedly introduced wakesurfing to lake Krøderen. Now, the first Norwegian wakesurfing club is starting in Flå in Hallingdal.

-I've been involved in watersports since I could walk, basically. It started with waterskiing, then came wakeboarding, and several other types of watersports, says Gisle.

-Lake Krøderen is absolutely perfect for wakesurfing. There's little boat traffic here and calm waters. It's simply ideal conditions for wakesurfing, he adds with enthusiasm.

Unlike traditional surfing, where riders rely on ocean waves for momentum, wakesurfers have the advantage of a consistent and customizable wake generated by the boat. This allows for longer rides and the opportunity to perform a variety of maneuvers, from basic turns to more advanced tricks such as spins and aerials.

-One needs a special boat, Gisle explains.

-In order to surf on a wave that you create yourself, it demands a lot from the wave. If you want a big enough wave to surf without a rope - well, you can't use just any boat. So I bought a wakesurfing boat, says Gisle.

Lake Krøderen – Wet Tumbleground for the First Wakesurfing Group

Lake Krøderen is part of the Hallingdal watercourse. The freshwater lake stretches approximately 40 kilometers in length, so there is plenty of space to enjoy water sports, fishing, kayaking or just swim and play around. The lake is bordered by mostly steep slopes, which are partially densely populated and cultivated on both sides.

Wakesurfing boat on lake Krøderen, Norway
The area around Krøderen is easy on the eyes.

At the northern end of the lake lies the village of Gulsvik.

-There's a great harbor facility there where we have boat space, and it will serve as the starting point for organized training during spring and summer, explains Gisle.

The local sports club welcomed wakesurfing with open arms when Gisle introduced the idea.

-The locals have been super positive; it's been overwhelmingly fun! From day one, when I reached out, there was just a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm. And many of the villagers want to try! Youth, seniors, children, housewives, and many more – it's been fantastic, Gisle smiles.

The new wakesurfing club in Flå has been incorporated into the sports club and is called HallingSurf.

-All of this is pioneering work. We aim to have training sessions every Thursday to start with; two sessions with eight participants each time. And the goal is hairy - it's to host the first Norwegian wakesurfing championship on Krøderen! We're already well underway with the preparations and have received funding to train judges in the sport, says Gisle.

-It's great fun! Competition is one aspect of it, but it's mostly about play and enjoyment.

Who can Wakesurf?

Gisle Erichsen wakesurfing
Fun in the sun!

One of the most appealing aspects of wakesurfing is its accessibility to riders of all skill levels. Beginners can start by riding a small wake. Then when they progress the wake can be adjusted to become bigger. That will make the wake more powerful and allow to explore more advanced tricks like spins and ollies.

-There's really no age limit, but we've set as a requirement that participants should be proficient swimmers. We think kids are usually capable of this from around ten years old and up, says Gisle.

The wakesurfing experience requires a certain type of equipment. A wakesurf board resembles a shorter and wider version of a traditional surfboard, designed to provide stability and maneuverability in the wake. These boards come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate different riding styles and skill levels.

It Started with an Old Train Station

Gisle resides in Lørenskog near Oslo, but has had a strong connection to Hallingdal for several decades. It all began when a disused train station was put up for sale.

-My brother and I decided to purchase the old Ørgenvika station by the lake. We bought it to be close to the ski slopes in the area. But then we discovered lake Krøderen, you know. And that's when water sports became a bigger part of it all, the father of two teenage boys says.

Gisle Erichsen with his wakesurfing board in the now overlooking lake Krøderen.
It started with an old train station.

A lover of an active lifestyle, Gisle's skis were soon joined by equipment suited for aquatic adventures.

-We started with just buying a small boat for leisurely cruises and a bit of water sports, he recalls.

As time went on, Gisle found himself spending more and more time in Hallingdal and out on lake Krøderen, forging strong bonds with the area.

-I've grown very fond of the area of Hallingdal and the people here. I got married here and baptized one of my sons here. It's not far from the big city, and the natural beauty is simply breathtaking. Plus, I get to enjoy both skiing and, most importantly, water sports, Gisle laughs.

And from now, even more time will be spent in Flå and Hallingdal.

-I’m excited by the chance to start up this wakesurfing club, he says.

-Wakesurfing is great for both seasoned water sports enthusiasts and newcomers looking for the next adrenaline rush. And you know what? No one has yet stepped off the wakesurfing boat without a smile. There's just so much positive energy on board, Gisle says with a big smile.


All photos by Gisle Erichsen


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