I am currently chilling and surfing in Norway, yes you read correctly, Norway. I am in a little remote place called Hoddevik, which is located a solid 10-hour drive west of Oslo, on the peninsula of Stadlandet. I will only be here for a short period and when I jumped on the plane, I was blissfully unaware what ‘cold water surfing’ actually meant. Here I am about to dive head first into it, literally!
Before I left my home in the UK, everyone repeatedly asked me these same questions over and over again. Now that I know some of the true realities of this beautiful country, I can answer them as honestly as I can, so, here it goes…first question:
Isn’t it really cold in Norway?
I took this as a rhetorical question as I'm fairly sure most people have seen a world map before. So yes; it is cold here for almost 9 months of the year because it’s basically in the Arctic Circle!
The Stadlandet peninsula is the most Western point of Norway, where the North Sea meets the Norwegian Sea. The locals told me it's at the forefront of places to get the harshest weather and I believe them. Typically you will dash to the snow-covered beach and jump into icy water whilst a blizzard blinds you with upwards snow. But good luck walking down, as gusts of wind of up to 60mph can take you by surprise and you might end up kite surfing around the fjords.
Okay, this is a worst-case scenario, but since February I have witnessed all types of weather here. The irony is, I am now sat in the sun as I write this. When I do go surfing, my 6ml wetsuit, booties and gloves keep me toasty warm for the two-hour sessions. Anything longer than that in the 6-degree water and I start losing feeling in my toes, hands and face!
I’m happy to hear there are much longer and warmer days ahead, when the sun doesn’t even go down. You can surf thinking its 2pm but it’s actually 1am! Cool, right?
Is there actually any surf there?
Now to the important bit, the surf. Hoddevik is a North, West facing beach break and the surfing hub for the west coast of Norway.
The beach itself has a fun left-hander running off the south end and a right-hander on the north end, however, any swell bigger than 8ft and you will be paddling into a closeout. Your paddle strength will be put the test as you paddle around hunting for the inconsistent peaks.
The best Magicseaweed forecast for this place is around 4ft – 8ft NW/W swell at 12sc-16sc, with light winds (which is hard to find as the gusts can circulate relentlessly around the bay). I have been waiting for the perfect combo of swell direction, period and wind since being here. The fact that Hoddevik is slap bang on the divide of both the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea means a lot of different swells meet and depending on size can get pretty messy. Basically, I’m still waiting.
Another popular spot is the next bay along called Ervik, about 30 minutes drive North of Hoddevik. On the way you will find Ervik Surf Shop, if you’re low on wax or need some gloves, you might want to stop by, as it’s the only shop for miles. You’ll then drive through a quaint neighbourhood until you reach the beach. This wave is a consistent righthander that has more punch to it and can handle the bigger swell. It works best on low to mid tide. Here you’ll find the local guys and girls having fun on twin fins or shortboards but watch out, the rocks look up at you from underneath, just waiting to claim your board!
So yes, there are waves. On the good days, there are waves at either end of Hoddevik beach that are clean, sizeable and great for a cruisy longboard session. Ervik, being more consistent, lets my fellow short boarders have more fun!
Does anyone actually live there?
Of course, it’s the 21st century! There aren’t many places left on this planet uninhabited by humans.
But, there are only fifteen locals living permanently in Hoddevik and a few more in Ervik…so love thy neighbour or take up hiking!
Conclusion -ok, it all sounds a bit negative and don’t get me wrong, it’s not the perfect surfing destination. However, the surrounding fjords, clean, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters make for the perfect place to relax and recalibrate. Surfing in Norway is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. It’s challenging physically and mentally, would I recommend it? Definitely, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.