When talking about watersports in Germany, the last thing people think about is surfing. A few islands are stretching along the northern coastline, but only windsurfing and kitesurfing are known and popular. Since I was 11 years old, I spent my whole adolesence on one of these islands in the north sea – Langeoog. I was never into any kind of watersport. Going sailing a couple of times during the year was more than enough water experience for me. I moved away when I was 16 and it all changed in 2011, when I started studying economics and lived on the mainland approximately 200 miles away. I could only go home once a month on the weekend. It was the time Ben Howard became my favourite artist and luckily GoPro published stunning commercials covering a bunch of surf clips. Surfing caught my interest and hence I bought magazines in which I read that a few surfers are chasing windy waves in the Baltic Sea, localized in the north-east of the country. The urge to experience the same things I saw in those clips and images grew so big that it lead to several trips visiting my parents in order to combine running at the beach and spotting waves for fun. I quickly figured out that it was possible: On a high tide, what I considered ‘surfable’, waves were existing. But I was still struggling to believe that I am right until one day I was heading out for a run and saw one surfer jumping into the water. For whatever reasons I could not stop myself from talking to him. Even though I never saw him again, he was the starting point for my own surfing project.
No one believed me, when I stated my intention – neither my friends nor my parents. Every one of them told me not to start because it would be a waste of money due to the fact that there were no waves on Langeoog. But I wouldn’t listen, I was too passionate about my goal. I regard Google as my helper and friend in need, therefore I tried to figure out what kind of material I needed and how I could learn to surf via YouTube. Indeed I ordered a 6.0 shortboard, which is about 183 cm long, and a 5/3 wetsuit, which means that the chest/back area has a thickness of 5 mm and the legs/arms 3 mm. After being excited for weeks, I had my first surf session in really good conditions. I was in very good physical shape and well prepared – at least I thought so. To say I was mistaken would be an understatement. I got smashed all the time and didn’t manage to stand up once. Fortunately I became aware that my board is shaped for very experienced surfers. Therefore I ordered a beginner board – 7.2 Mini-Malibu, about 220 cm long. After months of patience and weekend trips, you could finally see that what I was doing could be identified as something called surfing. Up until now, I am still the only surfer on the island and mostly alone in the water.
Everybody said it was impossible
until someone came along who didn’t know that
and just did it
Of course Langeoog will never be a surf destination worth traveling to, costs for the ferry and the board transfer are too high. But for me it is the perfect set up: A two minute walk from my home to the beach is enough to spot the waves. And even for this spot the wave forecast is nowadays seriously accurate.
Keeping improving and spending all my money on new equipment for winter sessions, this was the only available chance for me to surf back in 2012 and 2013. In the end of my degree I was so impressed, that I was ready for a big step and decided to chase waves beyond my private spot on Langeoog by making a trip to a destination far away.