Why Surfing is ‘Better’ in Sweden
I have just woken up on my sixth morning from a good night sleep in my rental car, parked 30 metres from the waves at Anchor Point in Morocco. It’s 8am, the sun has not risen, but the early morning light is enough to peer through my foggy windscreen and see about 10 people already surfing rippable one metre waves. It’s freezing this winter morning in southern Morocco, with chilly offshore winds blowing off the Atlas mountains. I’m tempted to stay in my warm sleeping bag instead of putting on the dreaded wet wetsuit, but I know another 10 minutes of waiting will mean another 10 people in the line-up. Especially when the window of opportunity at this wave is almost limited to a few hours before and after low tide. I’m out there!
It’s 11am now as I sit drinking a much needed coffee (probably needed a beer), after a pretty frustrating session at one of the world’s premier right hand point breaks. I’m left pondering the question whether the surf is really much better at this world class line-up, then the icy waves I had recently been surfing in Sweden? The old cliché rings true here, that “the answer is not that simple”. Firstly you have define what better surf is. If better surf was based of wave quality alone, then the answer to the above question would be simple! The perfect 1m runners at Anchor Point. However we live in a time where surfing is becoming a globalised sport and its sense of adventure is being lost to 5 star surf resorts on top of the waves in developing countries. In addition, every half decent surfer knows which spot to surf, at the precise hour, due to online swell forecasting. The result being overcrowding, agression and frustration, something I have never witnessed in Sweden, pushing the case for why surfing can be better there.
You’re probably thinking that the waves are inconsistent and bloody freezing in Sweden, a statement that can be justified. But as an Australian coming from consistent, warm water waves, I can assure you that it’s highly manageable, especially with the continuing development of wetsuits and the renaissance of classic boards that are fun to ride in almost any condition. In fact, something that I believe is much stronger in the growing Swedish surf culture, is the all around stoke and enjoyment of everyone in the water, who are not just out there “to get wet”. Also you really experience a sense of adventure and discovery in Sweden, exploring nooks and crannies off the beaten track, hoping they are protected from those strong winds that are producing the waves. This can take you through untouched, almost mystical areas, that seemed uninterrupted by mankind. It is in this sense why I think surfing can be better in Sweden and why wave quality should never be the only judge in determining what surf is best.
Words by Sam Shearar