Youngster flies high in Scandinavia
A kiter who learned the ropes on Foxton’s beaches is making a big impression on the Scandinavian snow, over 17,000 kilometres away.
Eve-Ellen Skewes, 11, won the junior snowboard race at Norsk Mesterskap, the Norwegian snow kite nationals, earlier this year.
The Poroutawhao School student beat competitors aged 19 and under in the junior division.
The event was similar to kite surfing, but on the snow.
Eve-Ellen only acquired her first snowboard two months before her win, having skied before the family shifted to Norway in November.
She began kiting two years ago, following in the footsteps of her father, Foxton man Gavin Skewes.
Through Glen Butcher, owner of Foxton beach-based kite sports company WindWarrior, she progressed to kiting on a mountain board down the beach. Soon, Gavin let her on the water, a lake that had formed in the sand dunes.
Her first run in the sea was two weeks before her family left for Norway.
‘‘She’s certainly done it twice as fast as the average person. She just has it,’’ Butcher said.
Eve-Ellen is comfortable athletically. A keen cyclist, triathlete, hockey player and a member of the Foxton Beach Surf Life Saving Club, she has also learned to ride a unicycle for a role as a clown in her school play.
Butcher said along with her balance and hand-eye coordination her other pursuits had provided, her determination left her in good stead.
‘‘She’s hardcore. She’s got no fear. She’ll go out in the freezing cold when no one else is out there. I think she’ll go a long way.’’
Conditions in Norway vary dramatically between seasons - it can get as cold as -20 degrees Celsius during winter, when it is light for about six hours a day, and Eve-Ellen has been kiting in -10C temperatures.
At the moment, temperatures are heating up, and Eve-Ellen is back on the water.
‘‘The snow is starting to melt, and it is amazing how fast the days get longer,’’ she said. ‘‘In summer it is only dark for two hours because of the midnight sun.’’
The family split their time between New Zealand and Norway. There, they live in Mesnali, a small village about 170km north of the capital, Oslo.
Eve-Ellen Skewes following her Norwegian snow kite nationals win.