A trip across the Baltic Sea
I didn’t know there is a Riviera this close! Just a 38-minute flight from home and we were there. When we arrived to the airport in Gdansk, the efficiency continued with the baggage handling and formalities at the car rental service. I’ve rarely experienced more convenient traveling. Despite the short trip from Sweden I could it was obvious that we are no longer in Scandinavia but on the main European continent: the roads were wider, traffic more intense and the temperature slightly higher compared to what we had left behind. The strange part was that we had our surfboards with us. It felt exotic and it was a little hard to believe that we were actually in Poland to surf.
It was a sunny summer day on a beach where the waves were rolling in. You could easily believe it was Portugal or the Basque Country, but the clock was 10 AM and it had only been a few hours since we woke up in our own beds at home.
A surfer from Warsaw who we had been in contact with prior to the trip had informed us that a certain beach where the wave was supposed to be good later in the afternoon. To make the time go, we drove a bit by the coast and we found a beach where we decided to get a first taste of Polish waves. The beach was full of vacationing families and other surfers. Many came to talk with us and they were surprised that we had chosen Poland as destination for our surf trip. The atmosphere was relaxed and unpretentious. People were on the beach to relax, surf and enjoy the short summer.
After few mushy waves and a well deserved burger, we sat the direction towards the beach where we had been advised to go and we were very excited to score some quality waves. When we got there we jumped straight in the water where we meet our contact from and his friend who had came up from Warsaw. The beach was fabulous and the waves well worth the trip to Poland. We surf for 2 hours until it got dark.
After a short nights sleep we met up with our second contact who took us to the beaches east of Gdansk. Hoping to surf some rest waves from yesterdays winds, we stopped in a forest area from where we could walk down to a beach. As it appeared we just missed the last waves. Bummer, but we were still happy with the good waves we surfed the day before. After scoring waves on our first day in Poland anything else would be a bonus.
We felt privileged to have discovered so much new in just 24 hours and there was still more to come. We were on a big white beach at the end of a forest. The sea almost flat, but our contact, who happened to be Polish surf champion, told us about how good the surf at this beach can be. She told about a contest that was held here in February with perfect waves but temperatures just above the freezing point. We got reminded that we are not that far from home, they get cold winters here as well.
The next day we are invited to an beach event that takes place on the Hel peninsula north of the Gdansk Bay. It’s an event for everyone to try different waters activities. It’s held at a camping with the flat water of the bay on one side and the beaching facing the Baltic sea on the other side.
The beach was full of people and kids in wetsuits. We decided to go Stand-up paddling. The waves were small also this day but big enough to teach children to surf. The kids were lyric as they stood up riding the small waves. As most of the Polish population live inland I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them saw the sea for the first time. There were great vibes on the beach and people were friendly, they gave us food and we felt very welcome.
I have always known that the Poland’s coast is close, but it has been far away in my thoughts. I had never imaged it as alive and welcoming as we came to experience. On top of that; good waves! You don’t need to travel far to be surprised. Sometimes just a 38-minute flight across the Baltic Sea.
By Didine Bedraoui