The saga of the Swedish surfer
The Swedish surfer Freddie Meadows has made a name for himself surfing waves in the Baltic Sea, where most people wouldn’t consider surfing at all. Time after time, he is sharing photos and edits where he is surfing waves of a such a quality that it’s astonishing even to his fellow Swedish surfers. He is a perfect example of how patience, hard work and stubbornness can pay off.
Photo on top by Agnes Maltesdotter (@undanflykter)
Please tell a little about your background and how you first were introduced to surfing?
I saw surfing for the first time at a very young age, but it was around 13 when I really felt it; on a family trip to the Algarve to visit our childhood friends Melvin and Marlon Lipke. They inspired me hugely… I remember that I thought about surfing pretty much nonstop from that point on. Though my opportunities to surf were rare living between Åhus and London. I borrowed neighbours’ windsurf boards when there were little waves at our local beach in Åhus. The waves were perfect for me at the time and I remember feeling so connected but also scared being out there alone haha.
You have done some competing in the past, when and why did you decide to focus your energy towards finding waves and surf in Sweden and how has it affected your life since?
I love competing, always have always will. I also love and have always been completely fascinated by the Baltic and our coastlines at home. It came to a point where I just couldn’t ignore that fascination anymore, as it kept on growing and growing and growing. It still is.
To be honest it was quite a big decision and I had people whose opinions I valued greatly thinking it wasn’t maybe the greatest idea. But it turned out to be one of the better paths that I’ve chosen; though everything comes with a sacrifice.
Scoring good waves in Sweden must require some hard work reading charts and traveling?
It’s an incredibly beautiful life and I have so much to be grateful for. Though yes it can be pretty challenging, and at times I do question it all, without going into too much detail. But then comes the glory; those few magical hours where it all comes together… and all doubt fades and I know that I’m exactly where I should be. It’s quite surreal – you get a glimpse of how it could be if Sweden had proper swells and conditions on the regular. At the same time one is so aware of how temporary it all is.
What would you estimate the ratio of when you have actually scored compared to those times got skunked arriving to unsurfable conditions?
I can definitely tell you that surfboardable slabs don’t grow on trees, nor those epic pointbreaks… But it’s usually surfable, also usually not what you hoped for, so the idea is to have an open mind and enjoy these wild places regardless of the outcome of that day or mission.
The sacrifice is so often leaving the safer card where you know the waves are fun, for the unknown. Of course – epic sessions are so rare here, so if I see really promising charts for certain spots then I’ll be there. But I’ll regularly park up, car or boat, at certain areas for a month at a time to really learn the intricacies; often missing swells elsewhere. You can’t have it all!
I can confirm that scoring good waves in Sweden is very special, and I think anyone who tried would agree. What makes surfing in Sweden special for you?
So many things… But simply said – It’s home.
How is the surf scene in Sweden?
I love it; so many different characters , stories, shapes, spots and such dedication just to ride waves. It really inspires me. The technology in terms of suits and weather apps has come so far which has allowed for our scene to flourish.
Freddie at a well know spot south of Stockholm. Photo: Linus Nylund (@dreamsoftheoceans)
What is your best tip how to stay warm when surfing in really cold conditions?
Try to have a good and dry wetsuit if possible as equipment is key. I also find working with my breath really helps. Buys me an extra hour or so.
How’s your ears doing after so much time in the Baltic Sea?
Well, every time I’ve visited an ear doctor they’ve burst out laughing; wondered how I can hear anything at all. But all good, wearing the plugs so at least I don’t sleep with half the ocean in my head anymore! Thank you for your help.
Follow Freddie on Instagram: @freddiemeadows