Humans of beach handball: Kristoffer Henriksen
Norwegian Kristoffer Henriksen has for the past 10 years been part of the beach handball world, which now means so much to him. With 32 years behind him, Henriksen looks back on the beach handball career, which is on the verge of ending.
The beginning of the end
We rewind time to Kristoffer Henriksen's childhood. Already at a young age, he found an interest in handball, which would later prove to be his way of life.
“My handball career started 27 years ago. It started because my mother was an active player, and she was a role model for me,” the Norwegian says.
However, the interest in beach handball only appeared a decade ago, when Henriksen was around 22 years old.
Since then, a lot has happened. He has developed into a star player for the Norwegian national beach handball team, recognised by many for his achievements. He himself has three highlights that he particularly remembers.
“What I am most proud of throughout my beach handball career are three things. In 2019, I became MVP at the EHF Beach Handball EURO, where we also won silver. Another thing is when I was voted player of the month by the EHF. And last but not least, when I became top scorer at the 2023 European Games.”
The memories with the team are also one of the most memorable things about life as a beach handball player.
“The best thing about beach handball is all the amazing places we travel to play. And not to forget all the fantastic players and those involved that we meet,” he says.
With a lot of good experiences in his luggage, however, Henriksen is aware his beach handball career is on its last verse.
“Today, I am probably at the end of my best beach handball form. I stand by the fact that I myself feel that I don’t have too many seasons left where I can deliver at top level in relation to my own health and physique.”
However, there is no doubt about the dreams for him and the Norwegian beach handball future.
“I dream that Norway will be a stable team at the top of the world in the future. I hope that we can have good recruitment from the younger teams,” Henriksen says.
And perhaps it is recruitment that Henriksen will focus on even more when he one day retires? In any case, according to his own statement, it is not impossible to imagine that he will one day work as a coach.
A life with and without handball
Although beach handball means a lot to Kristoffer Henriksen, there are also other important aspects to take into account.
On a daily basis, he plays handball professionally for Norwegian team Halden Tophåndball, which he joined in the offseason.
But when there is no handball on the programme, there something else is particularly important to the Norwegian. Let’s just use the word ‘hedonist.’
“My biggest interests outside of handball are being out in the woods and fields with my family. I like boat trips in the summer. Good food and drinks also mean a lot to me,” Henriksen says.
How does normal everyday life look like?
“It usually includes breakfast with the children. Then I happily send them off to school. After the morning routine, I usually do strength training before doing any work. Later in the day, there is typically handball training in the club. Ideally, everyday ends with a good dinner with the family,” says Henriksen, who appreciates his everyday routine.
When everyday life – characterised by regular handball and occasionally beach handball – one day has to be filled with other things, Henriksen is convinced of how he will think back about his time on the sandy courts.
“I will look back on beach handball as a period that has given me an enormous amount of joy,” he says. “The sport is something that has made a huge impression on me, and even defined me as a person.”
all photos © 2019-23 kolektiff images