Young­ster flies high in Scan­di­navia

The Horowhenua Mail - - SPORT - ADAM POULOPOULOS

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.

SUP­PLIED

Eve-Ellen Skewes fol­low­ing her Nor­we­gian snow kite na­tion­als win.

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