Spot Guide: Stølsviga / Havsøy brygge
For those living on the west side of Arendal, Stølsviga is one of the best and most easily accessible spots for coastal wingfoiling in SW and WSW conditions, allowing for flatwater cruising as well as some waves/downwinging and nice views of the Torungen lighthouses.
Launching from Havsøy brygge offers a number of advantages. Read on to find out more about these two spots!
Parking, rigging and launching (Stølsviga)
There is a large car park and a nice grassy area for rigging. Keep to the left as you walk up a small hill and then launch from the southern-most sandy beach (marked with an S on map below). In SW conditions, the wind is dead onshore so you have to swim with your board for at least 150-200 meters out before launching. Make sure to stay well clear to the rock tip (marked with an X on the image below) because there are some submerged rocks that I have hit with my foil.
Parking, rigging and launching (Havsøy brygge)
An alternative for the more experienced wingfoiler is to launch from Havsøy brygge, which is at the end of the tarmac road. Rigging is done on the side of the road. From the hill just before the brygge you have fine views of the open sea and can check out the conditions. Unlike Stølsviga, you avoid an onshore swim out in SW conditions when launching, and instead allow yourself to drift a bit downwind before getting up on foil between Havsøy and Merdø.
Launch from the steps or the rocks just beside. Launching from this spot requires commitment because you will have to wingfoil upwind around Havsøy to get back to the brygge!
SW / WSW (from Stølsviga to Ærøya)
When the conditions are good, the more sheltered waters between Stølsviga and Ærøya offer great flatwater cruising and blasting, and I have reached some of my top speeds here! However, the winds are often weak and unreliable here, which can be frustrating. SW is the best direction here, WSW also works but expect it to be gusty.
Better winds are found outside Ærøya (see description below), but if you launched from Stølsviga you will need to get through a significant wind shadow behind Ærøya. Stick close to Havsøy on the way out and use your pumping skills!
SW (outside Ærøya and Havsøy)
The stronger and more consistent winds are found on the outside of Havsøy and Ærøya. On a windy SW day, they make for a great area to play in the waves and for downwinding-winging. With winds of 10-12 m/s and up the swell lines start to form, and even if the period is very short, it can make for fun riding between Ærøya and Havsøy.
The stretch between Havsøy and Merdø is also great; in my experience the wind is slightly less strong here and the swell is cleaner but slightly smaller.
On a sunny day SW day there is nothing better than to flag out the wing and ride the swell here, cruising up again with the wing, and repeating a few times! You can even enjoy the view down Galtesund to the centre of Arendal . Highly recommended!
(WSW conditions are offshore here so not recommended).