Well, the end of my tour is here and i really want to thank Unitedsurfcamps for the opportunity to let me visit all these locations and letting me do the two things I like the most; surfing and traveling. In the future I will probably look back at this as the best summer job I ever had.
This was, as it was named, a tour of northern Europe, and all I can say is that there is heaps of surfing going on there. It might not be considered for many as a surfing destination and it certainly doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, but I know now that I got awesome waves waiting just a short flight away and that feels great.
Riding Waves in Norway!
….and taking off in Ireland.
Many in the surfing world today are trying to find their own special and off the track surf spot to escape crowds and the hassle found in many of the more famous locations. They go trekking through jungles, go on boats for months or fly to offshore locations, miles and miles from civilization just to get epic rides alone. But for the unsponsored, beginner or the average Joe, this is not conceivable.
If you’re like me, not any good (not even close of getting a sponsorship) or perhaps a beginner, but you still enjoy the ocean and the surf and want to have that special surf that many surfers strive to get, there are adventures waiting for you in the northern part of Europe.
Steep cliffs facing the ocean in the UK
… another Cliff is used as a lookout in Ireland.
Ireland, the UK and Norway are all countries with; in comparison a small but growing surf scene, good infrastructure, not any particular language barriers and receiving good swells for the most part of the year, which makes them prime locations for the easy to go to but exotic surf adventure.
I hope I have inspired some of you with my travels and that I have raised some eyebrows when coming to surfing in the northern part of Europe. I will try to re-visit as soon as I can and I hope I will see you there.
Get out there and experience!
I arrived last night back home, too tired to even lift a finger. The day had started at 05:30, to get up, pack and be ready in time for the car that was taking me to the ferry bound for Bergen, and I think I went through my front door at 22:30, so it was a long day of traveling, and I just passed out in bed as I got home.
But now I’m awake so let me write a bit more about my visit to Norway.
First of all, if you want special, you’ve really got it when it comes to this surf camp. The remote location, the stunning valley, the un-existing crowds, on top of that, the camp is run really well with dedicated instructors and nice facilities. It’s a real journey to get there, but believe me, it’s all worth it.
It does rain quite a bit, but just bring a rain coat and you’re fine.
I do really like the camp and will definitely recommend it as a new addition to our camp portfolio at unitedsurfcamps. Hopefully we will get this amazing camp, up at our website in a few weeks, so you also can go and explore the location.
Let me tell you a bit about the accommodation here. The surf camp has two houses;
This is the one I’m living in called “Utsikten”. Utsikten has a downstairs with two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room and a TV room. Upstairs are the bedrooms with a few different setups such as, shared room with bunk beds and double or single rooms. This house is newly renovated and in some parts not yet fully completed, outside there will be a deck and a sauna for those chilled spring or autumn days, but all in all it is really neat.
The other house is the main camp; this is where all equipment for surfing is stored except the boards that are stored at the waterfront. In total the two houses can have about 40 guests at the same time.
In front of the main camp there is a small half pipe and a little field of grass for other activities so you can keep busy during days with no waves.
In the back yard there is a outdoor bathtub and a chill out area.
Played a little bit of Wii after dinner today in the living room.
Both houses lie a few hundred meters from the beach, but the camp has heaps of skate boards you can borrow, to get you down there in a tick.
Going home tomorrow, will miss this place!
It didn’t rain as much as yesterday so I finally got some more shots of today. The waves were not as good as yesterday, but still very surf able, so everyone had great fun.
More from Norway and Stadt tomorrow!!!
The day started with an early morning surf, almost 4-5 feet, off shore winds. So it was epic, had the best waves of my whole trip. But, there’s always a but, it was down pour in such amount that it was ridiculous; you could almost not see the waves coming in. There is no need showing any pictures, because it’s all a blur really. I surfed for almost 4 hours straight in these conditions so I was really knackered afterwards. But it was so much fun!!
It stopped raining for about 15 minutes so I managed to get some shots of the valley though.
If you want to go somewhere really special and really remote for being in Europe, this is your place. Nearest town is about 2 hours’ drive away on serpentine roads and that’s not much more than a few houses and some stores to buy groceries and other supplies. The small valley where the surf camp is located has a small village with about 10 houses, two of which belong to the surf camp. So it’s pretty much guaranteed that you wont see any crowds here. If there is about 10 people surfing the beach there would be considered to be a lot.
The swell is supposed to pick up tomorrow, and there will be more rain. Have to pick up my make shift water proofed casing made of plastic bags again, I guess, if I’ll have any pictures to show you guys.
Arrived at Bergen Airport, and took an airport bus right to the city center were the fastboat dissembarked to take me to Selje the pick-up location for the Surf camp. The boat took about 6 hours, which is a long time, but considering the numerous stops on the way and the geography of the Norwegian coast with all the fjords and islands the seemingly slow fast boat is a quite convenient option of getting there. There is a way to go by land, but believe me, it’s a lot slower.
One of the most popular activities for tourist visiting Norway is actually going on the boats through the fjords to see the stunning scenery where the mountains meet the sea, so it’s really just part of the adventure and not at all, just a way of getting there.
And yeah, there just had to be a viking longboat!!
A little tip if you’re traveling in Norway, as it’s a bit pricy, you will get a lot cheaper around acquiring a student identification card. If not a student (or unable to acquire such a card) make sure to buy tickets online when possible and plan in advance so all tickets are bought including returns etc. This will make it a bit cheaper, but some form of student id is your best option.
The camp manager, Calle picked me up on arrival at the ferry terminal and we drove to the camp for a good night sleep, we thought, but it turned out that there were some Waves coming just before it was completly dark, so we just had to go in. No photos of this though, but believe me it was good.
To dark to take any photos of the scenery, but I found this one…. online(sorry for stealing, but I had to show you)
More tomorrow, god night and out!!
Back home for two days before Norway and Stadt, and what a perfect opportunity to talk a bit about my experiences in Ireland and the UK.
As a person who has almost exclusive surfed in warm water on the southern hemisphere I was surprised how big surfing was in both countries.
To be fair to both locations I didn’t exactly come in the right time for bigger waves, as you have seen previously on my blog. Both Bundoran in Ireland and Newquay in the UK experience a lot bigger swell during the other seasons but as a beginner you have to try hard to find better waves for learning in the summer than the ones you will find in Ireland and the UK. They have real easy take offs and I can almost promise you that you will take a real green wave if you give it a day or two.
Some similarities: Both Surf camp Ireland and Surf camp UK are in countries mad for their pub culture, and I just love it. Experiencing flat conditions? … No worries, go down to the pub, it will definitely cheer you up. They also have a set up where the accommodation is a B’n’B instead of a bungalow or such. So you almost have the feeling that you are living in a hotel even if it’s a surf camp.
Some differences: Newquay is a real tourist hotspot and a hectic place both PM and AM. If you want to combine surfing with a week of solid partying, Surf camp UK is your place. Bundoran on the other hand is real tranquility, yes they have a few pubs, a night club or two, but it’s still a place where you easily can go to get some peace and quiet just focusing on surfing and enjoying the magical scenery.
From now on when I think of surfing I will without question include Ireland and the UK. I hope I can go back soon.
Here’s a teaser from an upcoming surf movie called WET DREAMS shot in Ireland. Starring one of Surf camp Irelands surf instructors Gavin. Enjoy!
I didn’t put anything up on the blog yesterday because I had problems with the internet connection so I’ll make up for it today.
It was actually my last day in Bundoran and at Surf camp Ireland yesterday and it had a bit of monsoon feeling to it, raining quite heavily all day. That didn’t stop anyone from not going about their normal business though, surf lessons, kayaking, trekking you name it. I guess it take a bit of Irish guts to be completely indifferent to the weather no matter what.
I actually stood on the beach for a while taking photos in the somewhat vertical down pour using a plastic bag as a makeshift water proof casing for my camera. Felt pretty hard core, but man I got soaked.
It was karaoke night at the Chasing Bull pub and no one wanted to sing, so I felt obliged to at least do one appearance to save some face for the DJ. My singing was apparently so amazing that the police had to stop me after the first verse…. true story=P
It’s really sad to leave Bundoran, I really had an awesome time there and I want to thank Killian, Ivan and the rest of the crew at Surf camp Ireland for their Irish wits, pranks and good sense of humor.
The tour is not over yet, I still have one more stop to go and this time is a bit of a treat for you all since I’m going to check out a potential new camp in Norway and see if this is a future Surf camp Norway at Unitedsurfcamps.
But first I’ll have a small stop over back home for laundry and other damage assessment.
Stay tuned, and don’t forget the photo challenge, until the 15th of august.