Words: Jack Copeland
Photos: Jack Copeland
The ‘curse of the kook’ is something with which I can very well empathise. As an urban surfer, my wave riding skill is very much lacking and so, when I look at surfing rookies (known as ‘kooks’), I can’t help but feel sorry them during the learning phase.
Fortunately, it does have an end and, although surfing is the one of the best feelings in the world, seeing veterans hack and carve their way through waves, while you’re still learning, can be a bit embarrassing.
However, I am a firm believer that a love of surfing can outweigh this embarrassment, spurring on kooks to search far and wide for waves and pick up experience along the way.
It would then make some sense to carry out the search for waves somewhere with breaks like Britain. Dropping into the barrels of Teahupo’o, or charging the giants of Pe’ahi, when you only have a few surfing sessions under your belt would not only be humiliating, but outright dangerous.
So, in order to save some pride, as well as a few broken bones, I’ve asked some more seasoned surfers where there are breaks which are interesting to surf, yet are also similar to those of Britain.
Around three years ago, I posed this question to Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) representative, Jane Rigby, to which she replied: “Denmark has a similar surfing experience to the North. There is a really great surf school in Klitmøller.”
This didn’t completely surprise me, as Denmark and the North East of England are on either side of the North Sea, but, nonetheless, it intrigued me. The fjord etched nation, on the tip of the Jutland Peninsula, is perfectly exposed to waves, the tides being funnelled through the Skagerrak Strait, but it’s the latitude and climate which might throw some people off.
Klitmøller is known as the ‘Cold Hawaii’, and so that’s what the local surf camp is aptly named, with cold weather surfing being the forte of wave-chasers in this chilly region. The ‘Cold Hawaii Surf Camp‘ is run by Mor Meluka and Vahineura Itcher who both strive to promote the surfing lifestyle and all its perks, from fitness and well-being to a love of nature and exploration.
Mor Meluka is the 2017 Danish Longboard Champion, and was also the Danish OPEN Surf Champion three years in a row (between 2015 and 2017). Whereas Vahineura Itcher is likewise a three-time champion for the Danish Girls Surfing (2014, 2015, and 2017), was the 2014 Danish Longboard Champion, and is an International Vinyasa Yoga Instructor.
So, not only is it possible to stay stoked in misty Denmark, but you’re also in good hands at the ‘Cold Hawaii Surf Camp’.
As well as this, New Zealand was also recommended to me by the SAS representative for Scarborough, Chloe Markham, who had a great little story to share.
When I professed my quandary, she revealed: “I suppose New Zealand was pretty similar. I lived in Wellington for a year and I had an epic boss. He was an old guy and an old-school longboarder. He would often take me to new places around the coast.
“One time, he told me that this one place looked good tomorrow, did I fancy a dawnie? I said, ‘Hell yeah’. So, he comes to my house at four in the morning, and we drive two hours to this secret spot.
“It was a peeling four-to-five-foot reef break, super clean with just two people out. We were in the middle of nowhere, easily my biggest surf, and on a nine-foot-plus board too.
“Somehow, I didn’t have any fear. I think perhaps that it was because we were at a reef break, and so it was easy to get back out. I rode the best waves of my life. All to the sunrise. Epic.”
So, there you go. If you’re new to surfing, but still want to search for waves on foreign shores, my recommendations to you are Denmark and New Zealand, the ‘Cold Hawaii’ and the ‘Land of the Long White Cloud’.