As we countdown to the World Championships we continue to focus on some of the athletes that are heading to Perth next month. Since the first World Championships in 2013, there has been significant growth in the participation of the Nordic countries. One person who has been a major driver of this is Emma Levemyr from Sweden.
Emma has competed in all World Championships except for Hong Kong. She cant wait to compete in the upcoming Shaw and Partners WA Race Week and the World Championships in Perth.
A mountain biking injury started Levemyr’s journey into surfski. “I tore my ACL mountain biking. During my rehab, I tried surfski through a friend. I was hooked at once! I bought a friends surfski and met the Norwegian reseller for Fenn who started taking me on downwinds and teaching me about big wave paddling right from the beginning.”
Reflecting on her involvement, Levemyr emphasised the mix of adventure, ocean, adrenalin and community is what makes ocean racing special to her. “The community in Sweden is awesome – and on the West Coast where I live, we have a group that meet up every week to train intervals, and downwinds whenever the conditions are right. Having people alongside you pushing you, is really special. I am really passionate about the youth paddlers we have in Sweden, and spend a lot of time organising development camps and downwind weekends for them.”
When asked about her favourite paddling location, Levemyr says “I love big waves and rough conditions, so my favourite place to paddle is my home turf – outside of Gothenburg in Sweden. It’s beautiful, and very technical with big ocean swells, wind waves and reflection waves from the rugged coastline. There’s a huge selection of conditions and it’s always changing – we paddle all through the winter, even in minus degrees! The only thing we miss is sand beaches and shore breaks so it’s always fun and challenging when travelling for competitions to get to try that.”
Like most paddlers heading to Perth, Emma loves travelling to events and meeting like minded paddlers. “In Europe we travel a lot to neighbouring countries, and it has been great to get to know Gordan Harbrecht from Germany, we have had some of the strong German girls come train with us in Sweden. I’ve made lifelong friends in Norway and Denmark through surfski and spend the summers travelling to visit them”.
With the World Championships now an open event, Emma gives the following advice to anyone that may be a bit nervous to come to Perth and compete. She says “It’s the same advice I give most paddlers – learn to love re-entry! The more comfortable you are with that, the more you will dare to be challenged and grow as a paddler.”
Emma says it is special to be part of seeing the sport grow from the beginning in Sweden. Given the work Emma continues to do developing the youth this growth is going to continue for a long time to come.
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