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Denmark’s cold Hawaii

Cold Hawaii — The Heart of Surfing in Northern Denmark

It’s hard to find a more popular surf spot in all of Northern Europe than Denmark’s Cold Hawaii. It is located in the northern part of the Danish state and was a small fishing village a long time ago.

The population of Klitmoller is a little more than 800 inhabitants. It can hardly boast of developed infrastructure and entertainment. There are only one European Spar supermarket and several restaurants, working till 8 pm.

The main attraction of the city are numerous coastal surf schools, as well as more than 30 registered places for surfing on the nearest coast.

The name of the area “Cold Hawaii” appeared due to weather conditions similar to the Pacific Ocean. The constant wind with unceasing strong gusts and the waves of the North Sea make it possible to surf year-round.

Here you can meet not only classic surfers but kitesurfers, windsurfers, paddle surfers.

Despite the almost unchanging cold temperature (about +10 air and +5 seawater), surfers from all over Europe are not tired of packing their bags to northern Denmark. Here they patiently wait for the wave for several unforgettable seconds of free gliding on the water. The nature of Klitmoller is also striking in its beauty. Despite the cold, there are magnificent sunsets and beautiful sunrises. Another small tradition of all surfers is eating ice cream on the seashore, wrapped in the warmest clothes. 

Denmark is a country that has no surf, so the so-called “Hawaii” is rather an anomaly than the norm. Despite the winter coolness, the number of people here continues to increase. Some swim in large wetsuits, others evaluate the height of the wave.

The city with red pitched roofs and windows of a non-standard shape look rather modest. It is quiet and calm here because surfing is not a traditional activity for locals. This entertainment was probably brought by tourists to a fishing village.

Almost every family has stories of their relatives’ death during an ocean storm. This is what inspires fear and distrust to surfing” said local resident Casper Steinfat, champion in athletics.

“For hundreds of years people believed that ocean is not for play, it is a workplace,” said surfer Steinfat. He undoubtedly loves his hobby, which is noticeable by his tanned skin and hair trimmed like a hat. You can find his face on the street posters of this town. The coastline is like a playground where everything is familiar. As you know, some locals, such as Casper, moved here to catch a wave and enjoy the touch of the wind while surfing.

So, Anders Hoylund, a Dane who spent 17 years in France, before deciding to permanently move to his summer home in Klitmoller:

“It was an easy decision. The only sound we hear at night is the melody of the wave,” Anders said.

Also, the guy runs the restaurant Le Garage, which they opened with his wife last year. You can try here grilled chicken an ideal dish for hungry surfers. The taste of juicy chicken from the oven attracts hundreds of tourists-surfers.

The influx of surfers to this former fishing community began in the late 90s and early 2000s. At the very beginning, it faced some difficulties cause locals had a negative attitude towards the popularization of their hometown.

Windsurfers had a bad reputation and locals treated them without respect.

“We were considered a group that contributed too little and took up too much space,” Ramus Johnsen, a surfer who moved to Klitmoller in 2006, shared his memories.

Then he, together with a group of volunteers, proposed to draw up a plan for the positive integration of surfing in the community. His goal was to transform windsurfing into the positive side of the town, and not into a curse, as the locals believed.

Johnsen and a team of volunteers created the Danish Wave Sports PWA World Cup (Professional Windsurfers Association) for starters. The Cup became annual and held regularly from 2010 to 2016.

In 2017, they organized the international ISA (International Surfing Association) table paddle championship. They attracted and inspired young people to visit this unknown town. According to Steinfat, thanks to their efforts, a new kind of hobby was created, while the fishing world was gradually fading into history.

Surfer locals formed groups in surfing spots around the world. These are such famous groups as Black Shorts, Brassieres, and Longos. They got fame because they let only locals there.

“Guests, kayakers, windsurfers… they all come together,” Steinfat said, lowering his hand to the ocean, which gathered all types of surfers.

Many surfing communities often suffer from conflicts and misunderstandings, but this does not threaten Cold Hawaii, an excellent system has been created here, and the community is very inclusive.

You can find the so-called “warning” that is written on posters near the club entrance:

“If you complain, it is disrespectful, if accept, it will be worse.” The next line is more encouraging “If you communicate, respect and share, it will be much better.”

Just trust Denmark and enjoy crazy things! 

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