Frode shows that age is no excuse

Ragnarok participant, Frode Hernes, is 59 years old and still snowboarding four times a week.
Frode Hernes
Frode Hernes på Ragnarok © Frode Hernes
av Matias Fosso Kristiansen

Some people of age are more active than others. Kiteboarder, Frode Hernes from Norway, turns 60 years this December. That makes him the oldest participant at this year’s Red Bull Ragnarok, but he is far from the slowest of the bunch.

Kiting at Ragnarok can be physically tough. How do you manage to stay in shape?

– Basically, anyone can kite for four hours, if they’ve got the right technique. But, if you’re kiting on full power for four hours, it obviously gets heavy for your legs. There are some YouTube videos of a Danish kiter, who was 85 years old when he died a few years ago, and he was kiting to the very end. I do not find kiting that tough. But, being this active, snowboarding on an average of four times a week, obviously puts strain on your body, but it also keeps it strong.

This hobby must take up a lot of time. Has it become more of a lifestyle for you?

– For me, it’s the way it had to be done. The kids grew up, and moved away from home. This gives you room to explore, and I have always enjoyed being outdoors. So, then you have to spend the time you’ve got: Be physically and socially active.

Frode Hernes i Puerto Rico
Frode Hernes i Puerto Rico © Anita Westman

This year will be your fourth at Ragnarok. What keeps you coming back?

– It’s the funniest event of the year! That's why I'm going. It's always energetic when Red Bull is behind the event, and a lot of hype. It's great! It’s also nice to meet good friends from around the country. It’s a gathering point for us kiters. Plus, I go to Haugastøl often, outside of Ragnarok as well, because it's an incredibly nice place to kite.

What do you enjoy the most, snowkiting or waterkiting?

– Waterkiting is the most fun. At least the kiting itself is better on water, but of course, the nature experience is better on snow. But, waterkiting provides an excuse to go to places like Brazil or the Caribbean, and life is simply better in boardshorts. A buddy of mine claims that life is better in Gore-Tex, but no, I do not agree. Also, freestyle kiting – to do jumps, tricks, and stuff like that – is safer and easier on water. One accomplishes more.

– Last fall, I attended «Red Bull Battle of the Sund», where we waterkite from Sweden to Denmark, and back. And the year before, I participated in «Red Bull Coast to Coast», which goes from Germany to Denmark and back again.

Are there any other kitespots as good as Haugastøl in Norway?

– In Norway, Haugastøl is one of two spots. The second one is Haukeliseter. The mountains are steeper and pointier in other parts of the land. Hardangervidda stands out because it is so flat with rounded mountain tops, which makes the wind a lot better. Therefore, I find Haugastøl as the best spot available. It’s a wonderful place for mountain kiting.

How do you find the kiting community in Norway?

– It’s very good. Kiters are the friendliest people in the world, because kiting is really social. You need help to get the kite in the air and down again. Therefore, you easily connect with people. Unfortunately, the weather can be unpredictable and it often gets windless. Then we end up just sitting there chattering. I find the kite community very open and inclusive. Almost all my friends are snowboarders or kiters.

– I’m really excited for this year’s event. Both the event as a whole, and the competition itself. You’re allowed to push yourself really hard, almost to the point of burnout. After kiting for four hours, you’re exhausted. It will be great!

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