MEET JENS HENRIKSEN

2020-02-27

We met up with Danish wave junkie Jens Henriksen in Cape Town. Jens basically lives every windsurfers dream, sharing his time between Mauritius where he has a house, Europe and other winter getaways. Here's a couple of questions we asked him.

Simmer: How did you get into windsurfing to start with?

Jens:  I started windsurfing when I was 40, you can call that a late start. I must admit I never thought it was going to be that hard but that is the challenge of learning new sports and I love a good challenge. After a serious car accident where I lost more than a year of my life having to learn to walk again. Before that, I had been freestyle skiing a lot and after the accident, I had to stop skiing. So it was time to find something else which would give me the same kind of sensation. Some close friends of mine mentioned surfing, something that I knew absolutely about. At the time I was living in the South of France which is not the ideal place for waves and especially for learning. Then a friend introduced me to windsurfing. I went with him to look at some guys windsurfing in Coudoulière, and that looked amazing so now somehow I had to learn! So that summer I booked a trip to Brazil and I managed to learn the basics and got completely hooked. The year after I did the same but during the autumn, I bought my first equipment used and practiced at home and then back to Jeri in Brazil. I felt completely hooked even though I still haven’t even been in a wave yet.

Simmer: How did you progress into the waves?

Jens:  I spent all my vacations going somewhere to improve my windsurfing. After spending some time in Jeri learning the basics, I went to Maui to get into the waves. I also went to Morocco as it’s not far away from where I lived in Antibes. I also went to Cape Verde, the waves there were way above my level so I got hammered and had to learn the hard way with a lot of swimming and lots of broken material. I've also spent some time in Egypt to improve my gybing and tacking. I bought myself the Tricktionary and studied to learn everything I could about wave sailing. I never took any lessons and I didn’t know about Windsurfing TV or Ben Proffitt. I didn’t know that windsurfing camps existed, so I kind of looked at other windsurfers and asked people what I was doing wrong. 

Simmer: You now share your time between Mauritius and the south of France, why did you make the move to Mauritius ?

Jens: A friend of mine told me about Mauritius and I decided to go there and got immediately hooked on this amazing island. You have several different incredible wave spots. Once again I had to learn the hard way, for some reason I always go where the waves are big and powerful. A tough experience but I survived even thou I must admit a few times I considered changing sports to golf. You feel so alive when you have been nailed by a big wave. I decided to change my life, it was time to get a divorce. I could see that a lot of windsurfers are divorced and it's not difficult to why when windsurfers want to spend all their time waiting on the beach in good and bad weather. So after my divorce, I sold my company and pulled the plug and retired at 47... Now I had all the time in the world to become a better windsurfer and most of all become better in the waves. So five years ago I moved to Mauritius permanently and I am proud to call in my home spot One eye.


Simmer: What do you think makes windsurfing so addictive compared to other sports?

Jens: The greatest thing is with this sport is that the more you do it, learn new things and progress, the more you even want to do it. Every day on the water is different from the other, so it's impossible to get tired of it. Every day I will try to go to the beach where I live and get an hour in the waves if the conditions are allowing it. Last year I kept a diary of my hours from the 1st of September to the 30th of November and I spent 221 hours in the waves. Pretty crazy! I'm so glad I started windsurfing, nothing beats the rush it gives

Simmer: You spend a lot of time sailing One Eye on Mauritius, why do you like this spot so much? 

Jens: It is a thrilling wave, very different from any other waves that I have sailed. It's super fast and breaks perfectly. I've scored some of my biggest waves there. When its double mast at One Eye I can promise you an adrenaline rush like nothing else.

Simmer: Which are your other favorite wave spots?

Jens: Since Western Australia and South Africa are close to where I live I go there quite a bit. South Africa is a great place to improve your skills because the waves less punishing compared to Mauritius. You can go more radical without getting into too much trouble as its mostly sand reefs. This year I have finally been getting some solid aerials as well as getting closer to the 360. It's still very difficult, I make like 1 out of 100. 

I also really love Western Australia, I was just there and what a beautiful place it is. A great place for surfing and windsurfing. I went to Gnaraloo by myself and I had an awesome time, I wouldn’t stay there for a month because there it is a bit too quiet for my liking, but the waves are incredible. When the season starts I'll go to Chile, its been five years since I was there so its time for a visit. 

Simmer: Have you met any famous windsurfers on your travels?

Jens: Once I met Jason Polakow and he invited to his house. He is a super nice guy! It was a fantastic experience meeting such a legend. I also met the king of windsurfing himself on Maui, Robbie Naish. Such a humble guy.

Simmer: What gear do you sail with?

Jens: I've been sailing on Simmer for a couple of years now. I’m so stoked about my equipment, it gives me everything I need for waveriding. I use the Blacktip's and I like the power that they provide as well as the power release in the top turn. All the gear is also really durable which is good when you sail on reef breaks. And something which is really special about the company is that you can reach out if you have any questions and they are always there provide good answers. For my boards I use Flikka custom boards, which I am very pleased about. They work great.

Simmer: Thanks Jens, Aloha!


Stay tuned with Jens at: https://www.instagram.com/jensantibes/

 





















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