First of all, Sweden is awesome! If you ever get the chance to go there, don't hesitate. The Smultron, the candy, fine quality foods, Fisherman's Friend shots, endless summer sunlight and enough pretty blonde girls to go around to staff McDonald's, will not leave you disappointed. Plus, I always meet boatloads of stoked riders pumped on maximizing their summer season, so coaching is a breeze and the riders are so fun to work with.
This was my third trip to Sweden to promote wakeboarding and to teach riders with Froggy Vattensport. Froggy is one of the top shops in northern Europe, a Centurion boat dealer and does a great job moving A LOT of product.
Froggy recruits more than 100 riders for me to meet and ride with during my stay in Sweden. It is so fun! I run day classes through Froggy out on the perfect lake teaching basic fundamentals, boat operation and the first flips and spins.
Wakeboarding in Sweden is growing really fast and the people there are very talented. We have a blast cheering each other on and witnessing the progression. It's amazing how much people learn in just one day.
Some really awesome things happened this year! Rickard, who started Froggy, arranged for mass media and photo shoots to promote what we were doing with wakeboarding in Sweden. We got a feature spot on Swedish National TV sports news and its website, feature spots in three major newspapers and an interview in Transition, the top Scandinavian extreme sports magazine. By the end of the trip, we couldn't go anywhere without being recognized and approached by people. Wakeboarding and my sponsors got a big push in Sweden and Scandinavia from our efforts, and we'll be sure to fill up our classes again next year. I'm so excited to go back!
Highlights from the trip:
- Smultron - My new favorite food. It’s like a miniature strawberry.
- Being stung by nettle leaves - I thought I'd been shocked by electricity. Watch your step.
- Eating garlic each day to avoid the ticks, which are out to GET you in the countryside.
- Fisherman's Friend shots - Ever heard of the cough drops? Who decided to mix this with liquor? Bad idea!
- Getting used to the depth and temperatures in metric units. When the depth finder says 1.2, don't freak out. You are still ok. You don't need a wetsuit if the water and air are a combined 50 degrees.
- The first night there I had the best steak of my life.
- At what I was told was not a nice restaurant, I had the best burger of my life.
- Not worrying about the school at home because the AF Wake Staff are awesome.
- The wake was great and I tried my first ever heelside 1080’s.
- Swedish hosts are the most kind, hospitable people ever. I felt so loved and appreciated the whole time.
- The slugs in Sweden are black, not grey.
- The sun rose at 3:30 AM and set at 11:30 PM while I was there. The light for pictures was amazing!
- Gas costs between $35 and $50 per set.
- Number of new tricks learned by students during the trip: 700+
- Number of people who saw/learned about wakeboarding through our efforts: 2 million +
- I ate at least two kilos of candy, but I did brush my teeth.